(Closed) I dont really understand blocking rooms, advice please

posted 6 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
4352 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@traveller:  It depends on the hotel, but yes you reserve a block of rooms for your guests at a hotel(s) that you think they would like. Some people book a couple at different price points to let their guests decide how much they want to spend. Usually, guests call to book their room and mention your wedding to get the reduced rate. Some hotels offer the block at a discount, others don’t (depends on location, for ex in NYC your guests will probably pay full price, but elsewhere they will probably get a discount). The discount is sometimes up for negotiation, so you can request a free room for the bride + groom or you can give that up in exchange for a bigger discount for your guests (which you will want to do if you get blocks at more than one hotel because you can really only sleep in one). Most hotels will reserve the rooms until a month before the wedding, at which point they are released and the rooms can be booked by anyone. Some hotels will also charge you a fee for unbooked rooms (I personally wouldn’t reserve a block there just in case). As for the number of rooms, keep in mind that the larger your block, the larger the discount will be (theoretically) and some hotels will not allow small blocks (like under 10 rooms) because the effort isn’t worth it for them.

Post # 4
2335 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Call the hotel and ask about room blocks for your wedding.  They will give you a quote for the price per room (that your guests will pay)- this is typically less than their typical room rate so its saves your guests some money.  You tell the hotel many rooms to reserve on certain days, then tell your guests to ask for the BRIDE-GROOM room block when they book their rooms.  Most hotels will hold your room block until 30 days before the wedding date, afterwhich the rooms are opened back back to general prices (so tell your guests to book their rooms before that date).

I have 2 room blocks at seperate hotels.  One of them gives me a free stay in the master suite if I get X many guests to book rooms at their hotel.

Post # 6
4194 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

It’s worth calling a number of hotels- we found a huge difference in what they offered. The hotel we went with offered a fantastic suite for me &FI ($389 room for $139- rooms at this hotel are normally over $200), discounted rate for guests, upgrade for parents if we meet the number we reserved, no penalty if we don’t meet it, champagne/strawberries for me & Fiance, cheese tray for parents. I was also able to negotiate discounted parking for guests, and free parking for me, Fiance, and parents.

I polled a couple of friends beforehand- all preferred paying $20 and staying closer to the venue in a nicer hotel. This one also has a nice bar, so we already know where the after party will be!

Post # 8
6124 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I called up a few hotels when I had a Destination Wedding planned.  I found that Motel 6 and Super 8 gave a discounted room rate.  They asked how many rooms to block and I blocked 10 and each hotel.  There are no cost to me and they just mention the So and So wedding to get the discount.

Other hotels wanted me to pay up front one night’s fee for each blocked room.  No thank you!

Other hotels gave 20% off any room, without blocking/setting aside.

Generall if there are any blocked rooms not reserved by X date (sometimes 30 days prior to the wedding), they are released back to the public for reservations.

Post # 9
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Each hotel will have different rules and you have to do a bit of research to find out what’s customary at your destination, and what you may be able to do to either negotiate a better rate for your guests or a more favorable contract for yourself.

Here in DC, we had narrowed it down to two choices.  The first hotel would do a “courtesy” block— no contract required, but only for the first 10 rooms at a guaranteed rate. The guaranteed rate was about a 20% discount off of the rack rate. They gave a second option of an actual signed contract with a set number of rooms for each night, and we pay a penalty fee if we don’t meet a percentage of that quota.

The second hotel would do a courtesy block, no contract, for however many rooms we wanted, and offered a similar rate.

In the end, we chose the contracted option at the first hotel because we needed way more than 10 rooms to be guaranteed, especially during our local convention season; we didn’t want to have guests scattered all across the city.  That hotel “won” because the rooms were a bit nicer, even if the second hotel was in a better neighborhood; and because their hotel gives all guests free breakfast and free happy hour.

If you are planning any catering at the destination, consider using that as leverage towards your room rate, as many hotels will give a bigger discount when you add catering to your booking.

Some other things to consider:

-Does the hotel allow each guest to pay on their own, or do they require one lump payment? What options do they give for paying? I’ve been a guest a couple of times where we had to call in to make our bookings, and I didn’t like that; the hotel I picked set up a special booking website for our guests.

-What kind of feedback do they give? Can you see how many rooms are booked and who’s booked into them?

-What kind of “extras” are they willing to throw in?  I was able to get free breakfast included in my group quote at a hotel that we did not select; some will give free parking or free wi-fi, but they will not offer these things right up front. You have to ask, and be prepared to be told No unless your group is very large or the hotel is underbooked

-If it is a chain hotel, can you as the organizer get points on the group, or only for rooms that you actually pay for, or only for the room you actually sleep in?  This can be quite a lucrative perk; for my bachelorette shindig, by collecting money from everyone and paying in one lump payment on my account, I’ll get about 40,000 Hilton points plus whatever special promotion bonuses are going on at that time— that’s almost a full night in a high-end Hilton, or 3-4 nights in lower-end Hiltons during local off-season.

When I negotiated my contract, I added up all my out-of-towners that I felt would be 75% likely to show up or more; the standard quota is 85% of room nights (like 5 rooms on Saturday and 2 on Friday = 7 room nights) but I negotiated down to 75% and while I feel OK that we’ll get to that number, I’m prepared to make a few phantom bookings if I need to— cheaper to pay for 2-3 nights of hotel that no one sleeps in, than to pay the penalty.

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