You’re officially getting into full wedding planning mode, ready to send out those Save the Dates when you suddenly realize… you need to recommend a place for your guests to stay. How the heck do you reserve a hotel room block!? Fear not, we’re here to guide you through the seemingly intimidating topic of reserving room blocks. Use this checklist as a guide to make sure that you’re not caught in the trap of over-committing to a contracted room block and potentially paying for unreserved rooms you may not need.
1. Find Hotels at Different Price Points
Regardless of your head count, you’ll want to contact a minimum of two, maybe three hotels at varying price ranges to accommodate all guests’ budgets. To give guests a variety of options depending on their needs, find a few hotel options that are in walking or Uber-ing distance from your wedding venue. If your wedding is already at a hotel, that hotel will be the obvious first choice for a room block and your catering and events manager will help to connect you with the right contact (usually a sales manager) to secure a room block. You’ll know your guests better than anyone to know how high-end or more affordable the hotels need to be.
2. Know the Difference Between Courtesy and Contracted Room Blocks
At this point, it’s important to learn if hotels have a courtesy room block or if they have a contracted room block. Make sure to ask before signing anything!
- Courtesy room blocks mean that they are available to your guests at a discounted rate, but you are not responsible for paying for any unsold rooms. These types of room blocks typically happen at the lower to mid-range priced hotels (Inns, Best Westerns etc.)
- Contracted room blocks typically require you to sign a contract and provide your credit card information for any unsold rooms. The sales manager will tell you about the attrition rate, and if they don’t, make sure to ASK! The attrition rate is the minimum percentage of rooms you must fill in order to avoid financial penalty. The sales manager and your wedding planners can help you decide how many rooms you can realistically fill and if you want to start low and risk opening up more rooms in the future.
3. Pick Up the Phone
After you identify the hotels you want to use (Google search by distance, look up reviews online) you’ll want to start calling! First, ask to speak to the sales manager. You’ll then give them all the pertinent details of your wedding (name, date, expected number of guests booking at this specific hotel, types of beds – do you have a lot of couples or a lot of families? etc.) After this, you’ll have this list of questions ready to go:
- Is this a courtesy or contracted room block?
- What is the cut-off date for guests to reserve rooms at the discounted price?
- If guests arrive earlier or later than the room block dates, will they still receive the discounted rate pending availability?
- If the room block gets filled, may guests still receive the discounted rates pending availability?
- Confirm he/she will be sending a contract with all of these details.
After you sign either an agreement or a contract, ask the sales manager if they have a link they can send you for your guests to access their hotel reservation. Some hotels only require your guests to mention you + your fiancee’s last name. You’ll want to add these links to your website and include your website on your Save the Date and as an insert on your wedding invitation. You may also include room block information in your invitation suite if you’re adding a card about accommodations, but know it’s not proper etiquette to include room block information on the actual wedding invite.
xx, Chelsea + Tatiana