When you’re planning your wedding, you have a lot on your plate to think about. There are decorations to decide on and guests to invite, plus the needs those guests might end up having. One thing every guest will need is a place to stay, which is why you need to learn about booking hotel blocks for wedding guests.
This isn’t usually a topic that makes its way into bridal shows and talks with your bridal party. It sounds more like something a travel agent would handle, but it’s actually up to the bride. Many brides prefer to book hotel blocks because it saves their guests time and gets them better deals.
Not sure what you should think about when it comes time to reserve your hotel blocks? Read on for all the important things you need to remember when you start calling local hotels. You’ll be able to make an informed decision concerning where your guests stay so everyone has a great experience at your wedding.
1. Blocks Have a Size
You’ve probably gone through the process of reserving a hotel room before, but blocks are a little different. You’ll still have to contact the hotel, but you may need to call them instead of doing it online. Blocks typically have a 10-room minimum for each night guests are staying. The only way they’ll negotiate room prices with you for less than 10 rooms would be if you have your wedding or reception in the same hotel. Call potential hotels to talk this over and see if they’ll work with your budget.
2. Reserve Ahead of Time
Much like with any reservations, it’s best to book hotel blocks for your wedding as far ahead of time as possible. That means you’ll have to be prepared to start booking rooms before your guests RSVP. On average, you’ll get the best deals by booking three to eight months ahead of time. That gives the hotel some wiggle room in case your wedding is near a major event or holiday.
3. Call About Blocks
The importance of calling a hotel and not just looking at its website can’t be stressed enough. A hotel may not advertise online that they do room blocks, but that doesn’t mean they won’t figure out a way to find room for your guests if you call. Calling gives you access to reach someone in real time. That could get you ahead of other brides also looking for hotel blocks.
4. Everyone’s Budget Matters
Not every bride can pay for every guest’s hotel room, and you may find yourself in a similar financial situation. You don’t need to pay the total for the rooms up front when you book them, so don’t stress about that. Instead, keep in mind that everyone’s budget matters. The first hotel you contact may be close to the airport or your venue, but is it budget friendly for everyone? Call multiple hotels to compare prices so you find that perfect balance between accessible and affordable.
5. Courtesy Room Blocks Aren’t Standard
While most hotels will want to work with you on being flexible about the rates and number of rooms you need, the business still needs to make money. Some hotels don’t offer a courtesy room block, where you can reserve the room without paying for it. If a few of your guests don’t show up, it loses a set number of nights that rooms could have been making money. Find out if the hotel offers courtesy room blocks so you don’t have to pay unexpected charges.
6. Ask About Rate Hikes
Hotels will offer rooms at certain rates, but that doesn’t mean the price is locked when you agree to it. People are more likely to travel during certain times of the year, like during the summer or holiday seasons. If you’re getting married during one of those times, your room rates could get hiked before your guests ever stay there. Talk with potential hotels about their rate hikes and if your room block deal will be permanent once you sign the paperwork.
7. Negotiate Check-In Times
The more blocks for wedding guests you book, the more likely a hotel will be to work with you on your guests’ needs. Guests that are flying in for your wedding probably won’t land at the same time. Some may get to the hotel long before the official check-in time. Ask for guests to be able to check in earlier than the standard time, so those who are flying in early don’t have to worry about timing their arrival.
8. Inform and Remind Your Guests
Once you get going with the planning process, some things can get lost in translation. Your guests know to look for an invitation in the mail and wait for instruction from there. They may not read the part that explains hotel blocking or forget about it entirely. That leads to big mix-ups that could cost you and your guests more money than necessary if everyone books their own rooms.
Communicate to your guests that you’re planning on reserving a hotel block for them. Explain their options for locations and pricing, and then remind them. Send out emails on monthly intervals so no one forgets where they can stay or call if they have questions. Even if you feel like you’re overcommunicating, there are going to be guests who are grateful for your reminders.
Making sure everyone’s on the same page about your hotel blocks is important. Figure out the best locations, negotiate the right price and get that price set in stone. Remind your guests about their options up until they check in for their stay. You’ll be glad you found hotel blocks for wedding guests when everyone books their rooms smoothly and can enjoy the ceremony.