Post # 1
Hi Ladies! This is my first post, but I have been browsing these boards for a few months. I have gotten a lot of great advice just by reading what others have written.
I have a problem with securing quest accomodations for my August 8, 2008 wedding. The wedding is in Baltimore and after I booked everything, I found out that there are a few large events happening in the city the same weekend as the wedding. This made the hotels all raise their rates and most had 2 night minimums. I finally found a nice hotel that had reasonable rates but they have this contract that requires me to pay for unbooked rooms unless I call them 90 days before the wedding and let the rooms go.
I don’t know how to communicate to our guests that they need to reserve their hotel rooms before May 8. We sent out save the date cards and we put our website on them (which has this information) but I am not sure people have really visited the website.
Should I send out the invitations with this info really early? I would have to send them out like 4 months before the wedding which seems ridiculous to me. Ahhh!!!!
Post # 3
We have a similar hotel issue. I have sent two emails to our guests – the email stated that it was a very busy weekend in "Baltimore" and that if people think they will be able to join us for our wedding, please book their rooms ASAP. I included a link to our website on this email. This was a very politely worded email that I had many people proof. If our guests cancel their room (within 48 hours) there is no penalty to them – and they will likely be swooped up quickly by convention people.
The first email went out as soon as I had the room block – 60 people quickly booked their rooms (30 rooms). However, that email ended up in many people’s junk mail boxes because I BCCed everyone, put me as the sender and receiver, and had over 100 emails (I would send them to every guest, not every couple – because you never know who in the relationship is more on top of getting things like this done). Apparently most mail programs automatically think something is junk if it goes to over 100 receivers.
Sometime next week I will send out the 2nd email. I have devided the guest list into groups (my parent’s friends, FI’s family, etc.) so that way I don’t have to BCC the email addresses, and it will be 20 or less people per email. The email is basically the same, telling them rooms are going fast, please reserve now, etc. I am also including a link to the website, and mentioning that I now have on the website information for travel discounts (I called an airline and got a 10% off code, and I am working on a 10% discount with a car rental company). So maybe that will further drive them to the website.
Finally, both emails specifically listed the phone number for the hotel to make it easy, and it stated that other area hotels were booked (because of convention) so they didn’t think this was all about the room block. On the website it lists the dates the room block is available. Oh, one more thing, if we know a guest is going to come, but they haven’t booked a room (I have the hotel fax me a print out constantly), I have whoever is closest to them be the nagger. My friends and family, and my FIs family, have been wonderful at "gently reminding" the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. to book their room.
Hope this was helpful. PM me if you want the actual email text.
Post # 4
My suggestion would be to send the hotel information to those that will be invited that require it and be BLUNT, maybe with a short note included to let them know exactly what the deal is, i.e. what you explained above about the other events and the price of the hotel rates.
Besides that you didn’t state how many rooms you trying to reserve. Most hotels (I understand your case here) will reserve a block of 10 rooms without obligation. It’s when you want to reserve more than 10 that it is standard practice for them to get you to sign a contract.
Post # 5
We have the same issue. I live in a fairly small area (~150,000 in three adjacent towns) and because of the proximity of wineries and water-based recreation, and also because there are not a lot of nice hotels, it is typical for all the good rooms to be gone on summer weekends well over a month ahead of time. After I sent our Save-The-Date Cards I also sent an email to my Out of Town guests, explaining that situation, and giving them a list of recommended hotels with contact numbers and a little information about each. I have received a bunch of phone calls – as my travelling guests live in San Francisco and Denver and places like that, they just can’t believe you can’t get a hotel room on a few weeks notice. I think I finally have everyone convinced. If not, at least I warned them, and I won’t have to feel bad when they have to stay an hour away.
Post # 6
It souonds like you’ve done everything you can. I like Suzanno’s suggestion of emailing the out-of-towners as a courtesy to let them know you’ve reserved some rooms, and if they want to take advantage of the rate, they should book by X date.
After that, you’ve done your part. You can’t worry about those who don’t book ahead of time, and Baltimore is big enough where people will find a room somewhere. They just won’t be all in one place.
Just make sure your key people like bridal party and close family are set. Don’t send your invitations 4 months early just to accmmodate the out-of-towners, and don’t get stuck paying for rooms because of the procrastinators. Good luck!