Post # 1
(I’m not sure if this is the right board. Sorry!)
So we finally booked our venue and have a really real wedding date (still feels weird!), but instead of feeling accomplished, I’m now freaking out about blocking off rooms for our out of town guests.
We are getting married on Cape Cod in August, and the bulk of our guests (his whole family and almost all of our friends) will be coming in from out of town. I’ve never stayed at a hotel down the Cape (I grew up in the area), but I’m guessing that they book up really quickly with both tourism and other weddings. As a result, we want to block off rooms so that we make sure that our guests actually have a place to stay.
My question is: how many rooms do we block off? We haven’t even sent out invitations yet, so we have no idea how many people are coming. I’ve done a glace through the list and made some guesses as to probables (his uncles) vs. unlikelies (my cousin in France that I’ve never met). But do we block off rooms for all of the likelies? Or just a percentage of them? I don’t want to get stuck paying for a lot of hotel rooms that we might not use…
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2010 - Victorian Gardens of Two Sisters
I could be wrong, but when you ‘block off’ rooms, you’re not actually paying for them. You’re just letting the hotel know that you’ll have a large group of people likely to stay in the hotel, and they’ll give your guests a discounted rate. I think.
I think you can go ahead and feel accomplished for booking your venue! Our wedding’s in May and we’ve yet to get ahold of a hotel, though that’s something that’ll be done in the next month or so.
I’d start calling hotels and block off enough rooms for the likelies. I don’t think that there will be any penalties, but make sure.
Post # 4
I’d call up the hotels and ask to block off a number of rooms slightly lower than your expected Out of Town rate. So if you’re expecting 50 OOTers then block off enough rooms for 35 I think. But then we don’t really block off rooms here, we just try and get a deal so you quote the wedding name and get a discounted rate.
I’d check to see if you have to pay for keeping the rooms blocked off though. That might create a hole in your wedding budget you don’t want!
Post # 5
Do you have a coordinator or someone at your venue that’s dealt with a lot of weddings and could answer your questions about this? They might have a better idea of what “local tourism” to your exact area would be like during your wedding weekend.
I feel like you will probably want to book now, right away as to get a good enough deal and actually have enough space, but talk to your hotels. Ask if you could add more rooms to your block later, if you send out your Save-The-Date Cards (if I were you and needed to know, I’d probably send those out a little early too! Summer is busy on Cape Cod!) and find you may have more people coming.
Post # 6
We went through our guest list and estimated the number of rooms we would need. Then, just negotiate with the hotel – we were able to get a certain number blocked off with no penalty. Some will tell you that there will be an attrition fee (basically you have to pick up a certain % or pay the difference). Try and negotiate that out and just book the number of rooms that you can get without having to have any attrition rate. Look into booking at multiple hotels as well (different price points) and you should definately be able to get enough rooms without having to pay any penalties. Good luck!
Post # 7
Ususally a room block is good until a certain date and you can release the rooms so you are not charged for any unused. Talk to the Sales Manager at the hotel to see how they work it and how much in advance you would have to release the unused rooms. I know it’s difficult in touristy places. I tried to block rooms and they told me the internet rate is cheaper. I posted a few hotels on our website and told guests that if they think they are coming to be sure to book way in advance. We sent out our Save-The-Date Cards 8 months ahead of time.
Post # 8
We’re in sort of a smilar situation as well. We’re getting married in Bar Harbor next summer, which is definitely tourist season there, so hotels book up really early. We are going to block some rooms, although we expect that a lot of people will also look into other hotels, bed & breakfasts, or rental houses. We are planning on sending out our Save-The-Date Cards really early (hopefully by the end of this month) with strong wording suggesting that guests book their accomodations early if they’re planning on coming to the wedding. We will also be providing a link to our wedding website where we will list info about room blocks along with info about other hotels (and rental agencies) that we recommend. (We think that some of our guests will want to rent houses and make a weeklong vacation out of our wedding. I’m guessing that you might have the same sort of situation on the Cape, since a week on the Cape in the summer makes an excellent vacation!)
Post # 9
My Fiance’s family is from England & we just assume that many of our friends will want to stay the night locally as to take advantage of the bar. So……we’re having a small wedding of 80 guests and blocked off 20 rooms. In our contract it states we are not responsible for payment of rooms. It also gives guests a great deal on cost up to a certain date, after that date, they’ll have to pay full price. You can really negotiate the contract with hotels. If we have guests book 10+ rooms we get a free night at the hotel so bargain bargain bargain!
PS – word of advice, before blocking the rooms, if you can, drive the route from the hotel to the venue. I’m unfamiliar with the town we are getting married in and originally picked the Doubletree because it was the shortest route to the venue. After I drove the route, not on your life!!!! There were 30+ lights and I hit every single one of them. Turned out the nicer, less expensive and more direct hotel was farther but a quick on/off highway & makes life so much simplier.
Post # 10
About 8 months ago we blocked off a bunch of rooms for our wedding at a hotel. It’s fantastic because it guarantees that the rooms are there for your guests and they’re generally all together. SO NICE.
We estimated how many likelies and then added about 3 rooms per night. The block can always be extended.
Make sure when you make your block you negotiate down to a good ‘group price’ and you also negotiate a special price for you and your fiance (they will do this, the more rooms you’ll be using the better deal you’ll get -sometimes, if there are enough rooms taken, you can even get a free room).
Most hotels, like ours, don’t require that you pay for anything up front. We had a deal going that we would have the rooms on hold for us until Oct. 7 (one month before our wedding). As of Oct. 7 any rooms that weren’t taken up can be released to other hotel guests. However, any of our guests that book after that date won’t likely qualify for the special group rate (which is cool because we’ve made sure anyone that wants a room or two call in advance).
With our big block (25 rooms total which we went over) we also got a free shuttle to and from our wedding for all of our guests. 25 rooms actually equals 25 nights meaning…if you have 9 rooms rented on Friday and 11 on Saturday and five on Sunday you’ve made your block).
I don’t know if you were looking for this info. but it would’ve helped me SO MUCH if I had known it when I got into booking.
Ooh! Also ask about extras like whether or not they have continental breakfast, a restaurant on site, or if parking costs anything. We found out that some of the ‘resonably priced’ hotels that we originally looked at only allowed 1 car per room and it cost $60 -not a good deal right?
Be shrewd with your negotiating. The economy sucks and they want your business. Make sure that you and your hunnybunny end up with a super nice (free) upgrade for the night of your wedding. It’s somethiing hotels offer but not something you’ll get unless you ask.
Post # 11
For us, we blocked of the minimum amount of rooms, and then as more were needed they added them to our group.