Post # 1
This week I’m trying to set up a room block at a hotel and it’s harder than I expected. The majority of our guests will be flying and spending the night. We prefer to have everyone at one hotel rather than split up among several so that it’s easier for us to coordinate shuttle service to the wedding. We’ve found a hotel that seems reasonable, however:
1. We would need to do a contract in order to reserve the number of rooms we anticipate to need. This contract requires payment if a percentage of our contracted number of nights is not met. We are not really comfortable with this, however, it appears to be standard in our location.
2. We can decrease the number of nights in the contract 2-3 months before the wedding without penalty if we feel we will not be able to hit what’s in the contract. However, if our guests end up needing more rooms, the rate is not guaranteed beyond the number of nights in the contract.
3. Alternatively, we can abandon the contract all together and do a courtesy block of a smaller number of rooms (approx 25% of what we think we will need). This has no financial risk for us. We can add additional rooms to the block as they book. However, the rate is not guaranteed and will may vary/increase over time.
4. I was doing some research on Priceline and saw better rates than what we’re being offered in the room block (granted I’m not looking at our actual wedding date).
I guess my question is, is the benefit of a room block worth it for the convenience of our guests? The rate would be locked in, but we would also take a financial risk. If we book a certain number of nights, we can earn a wedding night suite for ourselves, which is a nice perk. Otherwise, I’m wondering if the courtesy block might be the better option. That way, we have no risk and we have no idea how much rates will vary, if at all. And, if better prices are available on Priceline, how many people would really utilize the room block rates anyway?
This is making my head spin. I would appreciate any words of wisdom or guidance you ladies may have!
Post # 3
If money is no object, then book the block of rooms and let the chips fall.
But if cost is a factor, then I would do the courtesy block at no financial risk and let your guests figure it out. Those who are really serious about coming will be the first to book, and everyone else will figure things out on their own. And you can plan on getting a honeymoon suite for the evening, one that is in your price range.
Post # 4
Book your contract for about 80% of what you need. Hotel prices don’t change that much that far in advance and you should know once your STD’s go out if you need to tack on a few more rooms. That will make your minimum closer to about 60% of what you’re projecting on paper and it will be easier to meet your minimum without penalty. Also keep in mind that Priceline rates for different dates don’t reflect at all if you are getting a good deal. You may be comparing to a lower demand weekend, hence Priceline will be cheaper, plus those room blocks are not prepaid and they are cancel able, as opposed to Priceline bookings which you pay up front and can’t cancel. The more flexible reservations always cost more. Lastly, you can always ask the hotel to throw in some perks for your guests to give them a better value. Parking and wifi don’t cost the hotel anything. They might say no or they might be willing to give a few freebies.
Post # 5
Thanks for the feedback ladies!
Post # 6
I did a room block at a place that didn’t require a contract. It turned out their normal price is significantly cheaper ($20/night) bc it’s off season. Total rip-off!
Post # 7
I can totally sympathize! I am experiencing a similar issue in a location that doesn’t have many decent hotels. We blocked the maximum number of rooms that we would need for the time being (10 months prior to the wedding) at a nice inn that does not have a large number of rooms available to begin with. Although the room block information will be communicated on the wedding website and in the invitations because we’ve also gotten so many requests from family members to give them the hotel information ASAP (especially since we will be running a shuttle/trolley to and from the venue), our parents are both passing around the hotel information to their friends. This way we can see based on who is booking now, whether or not we should add more rooms sooner.
I agree that you should do a courtesy block of the maximum number of rooms you can block without financial penalty and then check to see how quickly those blocks are filling up to determine your next course of action.
Post # 8
We ultimately decided against a room block. None of the hotels in the area had great discounts (the venue is near Disneyworld). We decided that our guests are all adults and can choose & book on their own.
Post # 9
Thanks so much. I think I will look into the courtesy block- no risk. Everything “wedding” is so much more than I thought it would be. I’d hate to be stuck with another bill.