(Closed) Reserving Hotel Rooms

posted 6 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
Member
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Every hotel is different.

1. We chose only 1 to offer Out of Town guests.

2. We started with 10 at the hotel’s recommendation (we could pay to reserve additional rooms but we stuck with 10). We ended up needing an additional 5 but they called me when we filled the last room to see if we wanted to open up more – which I did. Most hotels I spoke with required a CC to hold the rooms and a contract that said if I don’t fill the rooms I would be responsible for paying for them – we chose not to go with  one of those hotels, as such we couldn’t be guaranteed that after the date and 10 rooms were booked that there would be more available, but we didn’t have a problem.

3. We received a small discount but that was determined by the hotel.

4. No

5. No – We made something else. They gave us a code and we included that in the cards.

Post # 5
Member
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

1. We didn’t have enough Out of Town guests that needed hotel rooms (a lot had family in the general area to stay with) so I didn’t block off any rooms. On our wedsite, I provided about three options in varying price ranges and amenities for people to choose from, ranging from luxury for those who want to make this a vacation to budget for those just flying in for the night/weekend. Based upon initial conversations we had with our Out of Town guests, we kind of got the idea what people were interested in booking. I had a friend with a Destination Wedding in HI and her guest list was so small that she just let us book our own lodging and didn’t provide any official information on lodging suggestions.

2. n/a

3. n/a

4. Rarely do I ever find a better deal online somewhere (except for the Name Your Own Price thing at Priceline – but then you have no idea what you get, e.g. which specific hotel, until after you commit). For hotel rooms, I use Expedia/Kayak/etc. to get a general idea of rates and options, then I google the properties I’m interested in and check out specific packages and general rates for the properties themselves on their sites. I usually find exactly the same rate and for the lowest price guaranteed properties (e.g. some Vegas hotels), the rates are usually slightly lower. I would rather just book directly through the hotel’s site and deal only with them rather than going through a 3rd party and dealing with that 3rd party if something goes wrong, assuming the rates are the same either way.

5. n/a

Post # 6
Member
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@BetterSherm:  Yeah – I was a little suprised by it too, but then I realized it made sense. The area I got married in has tons of hotels but they fill up quickly so I think that’s why most required the Credit Card and will charge you for unused rooms. Why save a room with no guarantee when they can sell it, ya know?

Post # 7
Member
1866 posts
Buzzing bee

@BetterSherm:  

1) Did you choose a few different hotels and include their info within the invite?

We picked 2 different hotels and right now they are on the wdding website.  We haven’t sent out invitations yet – I imagine we will have a card for guest accommodations though.

2) How many rooms did you block? Did you base it on the assumption that all Out of Town guests would attend? What happens if the guests don’t use the rooms – are you (the bride/groom) charged anything?

I think we booked 20 at each hotel?  There’s no way all the rooms will be booked though.  Guests have to book by a certain date and then the hotel releases the rooms – we don’t get charged for anything.  Make sure you read your contract with the hotel.

3) Did you negotiate the deal or did the hotel, one they knew the purpose, offered a standard price per room?

We negotiated a deal.  

4) Did you ever find better deals for rooms online than at the hotel itself? We found through hotels.com a much better deal with a hotel than with the actual hotel itself when we called. How would we block the rooms at the online price?

I didn’t even look for a better price.  If you found one, then I would use that as a basis for negotiation with the hotel.

5) And finally, did the hotel give you cards to onclude with your invites or did you make something up yourself?

We could get cards but I feel like that’s too much information to include in an invitation – we will either just put it on a separate guest accommodation card, or leave it on our website.

Post # 8
Member
1271 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I did two room blocks.  One at the hotel we are getting married at (expensive) and one at the motel across the street (less expensive).  I privately e-mailed the room block information to our friends/family in order of priority.  The Out of Town friends that didn’t rank a blocked room were given the names of the hotel and they booked rooms at the hotel themselves at rack rates. 

(I negotiated 40% discounts and was not liable for the rooms…but they were only blocked for guests until 30 days prior to the wedding)

Post # 9
Member
114 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

1. We only picked one hotel for our out of town guests. NYC is pretty pricy for hotels and there are a lot of neighborhoods to stay in so we didn’t get a variety of hotels. We picked one in Manhattan, and if guests want to stay elsewhere, they are more than welcome to find alternatives. We will not be including hotel information with our invitations, but we have a page on our wedding website for accomodations.

2.  We are doing a courtesy block with the hotel – no downpayment was necessary to do the block. They are basically holding a rate until a certain date for guests. I believe we said we needed 10 rooms at least, but according to our contract, there is no minimum or maximum number of rooms we need to lock in.

3.  I did not negotiate a price with the hotel I went with, as they gave me the lowest rates of all the Hiltons I contacted.

4.  Not for the hotel I chose, but with others I was able to negotiate a lower price with that tactic. I contacted the sales department and asked for that price, it helped bring down prices with a few places, but I don’t recall anyone willing to match prices.

5. Nope. They’ve actually been pretty non responsive. It’s kind of annoying.

Post # 10
Member
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Really it is up to you and the hotel how you want to handle it, and I’ve seen it done all sorts of ways.

 

1) Did you choose a few different hotels and include their info within the invite? On one hand, it’s really nice to be able to offer a couple of different price ranges so that people can pick the one that is best for their budget. But this dilutes your buying power and makes it harder to negotiate the best price for the guests (i.e. 40 rooms in one hotel gets you a better price than 20 rooms each in 2 hotels). Also it may be worth the convenience to have everyone all in one place, like if you are providing transportation to the venue.

2) How many rooms did you block? Did you base it on the assumption that all Out of Town guests would attend? What happens if the guests don’t use the rooms – are you (the bride/groom) charged anything?    You will have to know your guests before making decisions on how many rooms to block. We are only inviting close friends and family and while we still are racking up quite a number, our RSVP-Yes rate is almost 100%, so we planned on every out-of-towner staying in the hotel and trimmed back just a hair for schedule conflicts.

As to if the guests don’t use the rooms, that depnds on the contract (if any) you sign with the hotel.  Some will give you a “courtesy block” which means the rooms are protected for your guests but you have no contractual obligation to fill them. Usually this is only given for a small number of rooms (under 10 rooms).  On the opposite end is an actual contract with guarantees and if you are short at the cutoff date, you pay a penalty.  Some of the hotels will negotiate how many you can be short, and some won’t.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

3) Did you negotiate the deal or did the hotel, once they knew the purpose, offered a standard price per room?  Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Hilton and Marriott at least have an online bidding system so you can see the starting price without actually talking to someone.

4) Did you ever find better deals for rooms online than at the hotel itself? We found through hotels.com a much better deal with a hotel than with the actual hotel itself when we called. How would we block the rooms at the online price? Only with a prepaid rate, where the guest loses their money if they have to cancel and needs to pay upon booking, so you’re not comparing apples to apples there. You are probably better off not locking the guests into actual payment so far in advance, and you will rarely match a prepaid rate with a non-prepaid rate no matter where you see it posted.  Also, guests on hotels.com rates and other third party rates are often the first ones to be “walked” or moved to another hotel if the booked hotel is oversold and doesn’t have enough rooms— all hotels do this, just like the airlines, and I would be mortified if that happened to one of my guests.

5) And finally, did the hotel give you cards to onclude with your invites or did you make something up yourself?  No, I wrote it up on our wedding website and emailed out the link. Some hotels will do this, some won’t. Doesn’t hurt to ask.

 

PS don’t be afraid to ask for “extras” which the hotel may or may not be willing to give. You can ask for free breakfast for guests if it’s not a chain that already gives that, or free wi-fi or parking, or extra points for yourself.  They may say no to all of those  but rank those in order of what gets the best value for the guests and see if you can get anything. Sometimes the hotel can’t come down on the rate but will give you a catering discount or free parking or some other goodies to make you more likely to book with them.

Post # 12
Member
4193 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

1) Did you choose a few different hotels and include their info within the invite?

Just one- the closest to the hotel, with the best transportation options. I polled guests before hand, who said they’d rather pay a little more for a nicer, more convenient hotel (this one has the best bar for the after party.) We had an additional card included in the invites with info about venue, hotel, and our wedding website.

2) How many rooms did you block? Did you base it on the assumption that all Out of Town guests would attend? What happens if the guests don’t use the rooms – are you (the bride/groom) charged anything?

20 rooms. We figured the majority of Out of Town would use it, and also locals who would want to drink (but did not block for ALL). We ruled out hotels that would charge us for rooms not picked up. If we meet the block number, our parents get a room upgrade, if not- no other “loss.”

3) Did you negotiate the deal or did the hotel, once they knew the purpose, offered a standard price per room?

They offered a fantastic price, and I was able to get extras- discount on valet parking for guests.

4) Did you ever find better deals for rooms online than at the hotel itself? We found through hotels.com a much better deal with a hotel than with the actual hotel itself when we called. How would we block the rooms at the online price?

No-the hotel itself offered the best price, plus upgrades we couldn’t get via hotels.com. Our room is a two-level suite upgrade, our parents’ upgrade, plus goodies for our room & our parents’ room (we get champagne, they get fruit plates, etc.) Plus the parking discount.

5) And finally, did the hotel give you cards to onclude with your invites or did you make something up yourself?

No-added to web site & info card

 

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