(Closed) Room blocks at a hotel. Any down sides?

posted 4 years ago in Logistics
  • poll: What percentage of your OOT guests used the hotel block you reserved?

    We barely made the cut-off! (Under 25%)

    25%

    50%

    75%

    76%+

  • Post # 2
    Member
    731 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    View original reply
    stephyhansen :  Our biggest downside was that hotels.Com and kayak and other sites had a way cheaper rate. We only made recommendations because of that and we directed people to book early. A lot of our guests had points or rewards clubs that they wanted to use. Basically, some guests were Hilton only or Marriott only despite me trying to get a block due to their rewards clubs. Some of our college friends love airbnb and others wanted the absolute cheapest even if it was sketchy, so all of our guests ended up in different places, but it all what they preferred. 

    Post # 3
    Member
    998 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2015

    As long as you’re not on the hook for unreserved rooms, there’s not really any downside.

    The percentage of people who stay at the hotel depends on the kind of hotel you choose and how many other hotels are available in the area.

    We got a room block at a normal hotel, and maybe half of our guests stayed there. It was walking distance from the ceremony site and even from the airport, and we were having a breakfast there the next morning, and there weren’t a huge number of other hotels around.

    On the other hand, we also booked a small room block at the expensive hotel where we were having the reception, and basically no one chose to stay there.

    And we also recommended but didn’t block any rooms at a cheaper motel nearby; a few people chose that option.

    Then there were the less-predictable outcomes: My mother was impatient and wanted to book rooms even before we had made the room block, so she ended up staying at the hotel across the street instead, along with my siblings and two aunts (we tried to get a room block at the hotel that she had selected, but they didn’t have availability or just weren’t interested for whatever reason). And one of our guests turned out to have a big family home in the area, so maybe 10 guests stayed there.

    Basically, a lot depends on circumstances! But my main takeaway is that no one really wants to stay at the expensive hotel, even if they’re initially excited about the idea.

    Post # 4
    Member
    1582 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    No downside if you’re not charged for unreserved rooms. Some of ours used the block, but a lot went Airbnb or found cheaper hotels on their own. I had three different hotels at varying prices to try to accommodate for this, but people will do what they will. Honestly, the biggest downside was just getting the stupid block set up; I think I spent an entire month going back and forth with all of them till everything was arranged. But I think it’s a consideration for your guests worth making.

    Post # 5
    Member
    2619 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    We did one for our small wedding (60 people total, and about half are out of town).  Most people used it because then they didn’t have to research hotels.  We picked the most affordable “good” option we could find.  I think 12 rooms got booked out of our 15-20 room block?  One couple found a cheaper hotel, one couple is camping, and some of the people we planned on aren’t making it.

    I think having the block is really nice for guests.  They don’t have to do much research, and they can stay with other guests.  If it’s too expensive, then they can find their own hotel.  We are in a tourist area and were worried about room availibilty so that was a big plus to having a block for us too (though it was a huge pain to find a block that didn’t have a 2 night min. and was a resonable price.  ugh.)

    Post # 6
    Member
    5018 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2017

    I recently looked into doing a hotel block for my small destination wedding but have decided against it.  The room rate they offered us was still more expensive than if our guests were to book online today.  Since we only have 16 couples invited I feel confident they will be able to book at our hotel or one nearby.

    Post # 7
    Member
    906 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    We blocked two hotels and got 75% at the smaller block ans 60% of the larger block (nicer hotel). We had more people decide not to stay overnight than we expected, and only one person went to a different hotel. He had an incredible corporate discount! 

    When we reserved our blocks, our hotels were much less than the rack rate, which helped matters immensely. Now hotels in center city are $300/night for our weekend! 

    Post # 8
    Member
    55 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    My wedding is out of town for all of my fiancé’s family, and many of my family members, and friends as well.  Its even out of town for us as we are both in school about 500 miles away from my hometown.  Many of my older family members are staying at the hotel that we blocked because they like it, they can be together, and my hometown is a big city with a lot of traffic.  

    Some of his family are staying in the hotel next door because it is cheaper and they have rewards their, but many of the hotels in the area are alreaady booked up so I’m sure that more people will finish out the block we booked.  We only had to fill 15 of the rooms we booked to not pay for the 25 we reserved.  

    Post # 9
    Member
    223 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    My husband and I had a domestic destination wedding with 60 guests. We booked 20 rooms for a room block at a discounted rate and ended up with 21 rooms booked there! Only a few guests chose to stay elsewhere (and those were the people who booked last minute lol). The hotel also promised that if we filled our entire room block, then our hotel room would be free for the whole weekend, so that was an awesome perk. If you do a room block, definitely make sure to ask if they will offer you something similar.

    Post # 10
    Member
    5465 posts
    Bee Keeper

    View original reply
    stephyhansen :  So I had one heck of a time getting people to commit, so we aren’t doing a room block after all. But we’re having a small wedding (70 people). So we have 5 rooms total booked up. But not enough for a discount.

    Post # 11
    Member
    701 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    For my wedding, we have about 150 people attending. I had the hotel block of 20 rooms (some of which were suites that could accomodate 2-3 couples. The hotel agreed to add additional rooms if mine filled up. When it came to the reservation deadline, we only had about 16 rooms booked (no clue how many actual guests that totals to) including mine and one for our DJ

    Post # 12
    Member
    1009 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: The Retreat at Bradley\'s Pond

    I work for non profit associations that handle annual conferences and hotel meeting planning so I had a better insight than the average bear. 

    The main thing is to read, reread and triple check your contract… whether you’re charged for rooms or not and up until which point! The language may make sense, but always assume it’s to benefit the hotel and ask additional questions. If you make ammendments to the contract have them in writing or via e-mails. I had my addendments confirmed via e-mail because that hotel doesn’t change their original contracts (including free bridal suite based on X rooms).

    Learn the different between room nights and total rooms. You may book 10 rooms at 2 nights which is a total of 20 room nights. Some hotels don’t care how you hit those 20 room nights, but some will require it being 10 and 10 per night. Doesn’t sound like a problem until you have guests only traveling for 1 night. 

    Don’t assume everyone wants a romantic weekend. We had several friends/family members that shacked up together despite our low prices ($109 a night down from $149). Have a friendly open dialoque with who may be doing this and set your room block numbers accordingly. My hotel started low and allowed me to up my numbers as I needed it. 

    Our hotel was probably to closest to the venue but it was also closest to the interstate so convenience is MASSIVE for out of towners. 

    They may ask you to sign a non-compete agreement in that you agree to not book additional rooms at another local hotel… that’s up to you and what you think your guests would prefer. We didn’t sign another room block with any other hotels but did list on our website alternatives for guests. Fair work around. 

    Some guests are going to go where they’re points are like PP mentioned. It happens!

    I was totally against a room block until I did research in my town about holiday weekend and saw that a HUGE spring time event was taking place and realized many hotels in town were selling out. I didn’t want to screw my guests so I got rooms booked. Do research on your area and see if blocks are necessary. Also, hotels are not supposed to sell rooms at a rate lower than your block so keep an eye on that. 

    You can also ask for a room block update with names and nights of guests- this is helpful in the final weeks when you need to call guests and remind them about booking or offer to do it for them. (Ditzy uncles included!)

    *Also for a fee you can do room drop of gifts if you want which is always nice after traveling… or sometimes for less or free you can have room bags available at the front desk when they check in. We opted for a guest sheet for when they arrived indicating local restaurants/stores, and directions (written out not just the address) of the events for the weekends and times. Everyone appreciated that touch if they weren’t familiar with the area!

    Post # 13
    Member
    69 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    We didn’t get a block, but negotiated a 10% discount code that guests could book with. For the most part, only a few guests used it. The AAA rate was less than the discount and then some mass booking sites had better deals. We also had a few guests decide to stay at other hotels.

    If you aren’t locked into it, I see no downside, but the take up may be less than you expect. It probably also depends on the hotel – if it’s a massive hotel/chain, people may be able to get better discounts on their own. If it’s a boutique place, they may not be on all of the booking sites, etc.

    Post # 14
    Member
    504 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2017

    We have a room block.  My city is a prime Spring Break destination so hotels are really high for most hotels.  Plus our venue is close to the beach so most hotels there were out of the question, $300+/night.  We wanted to be able to give our families a break on the price of hotels since we chose to get married during that time of year.  Anyways, we were able to snag a great room block rate at a hotel 12 miles from our venue and in downtown near lots of restaurants, bars, stores, etc.  The rate is actually $100 cheaper than the regular rate for that hotel. 

    Unfortunately we are on the line to fill 40 nights.  I wanted to keep it low since I don’t want to have to pay for unreserved rooms.  We’re having 130-150 people and 75% of those will be traveling hundreds of miles to get here.  Future Mother-In-Law is convinced that their side will stay wherever we tell them to stay lol.  So now I’m less worried about filling the block than having enough rooms block.  They said that they will add 5 more courtesy rooms if we ask but I don’t want to ask too much.

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