Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!

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Nema Posts : 40 Registered: 8/22/07
Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 2:56 AM

Embarassed  Okay, so I need anyone's help who has done this: My FH and his family live 120 miles away. We are planning a late-night reception with alcohal (of course), so I know many of his family may want hotel rooms, although I have know way of knowing how many? So, apparently, I need to book a "block of rooms".

How do I do this, there is approximately 20-30 out of town couples that MAY want a room. Also, is there a cost up front for me? What if no one uses these rooms? (there are three hotels in the town, I am picking the nicest but it has very reasonalbe room rates.

Please, give me any experiences or knowledge you have.

Thank you,

Future Mrs. Robert Brown


Nema

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JuneBride1607 Posts : 26 Registered: 6/21/06
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 9:14 AM Go to message in response to: Nema

First, call the hotel and tell them that you need to block rooms for your wedding (usually the sales department handles blocking off rooms).  They can either do it over the phone or suggest that you come in to view rooms and discuss/sign the contract.  They will ask you what types of rooms you want to include in your block - 2 double beds, queen beds, king beds.  To decide this you should consider the guests that you think will need rooms and see if they have children, if it's a couple, if families may share rooms, etc and just use your best guess!  When we blocked we did 10 doubles, 10 queens, and 5 kings just for an example.  Also, There should be NO up-front cost to you.  If there is I would suggest looking into other hotels (A Hyatt that we looked into wanted us to pay 50% for each room that was not booked in our block - that's potentially a TON of money when you add it up that you usually dont have when planning a wedding!)  The hotel will put the block of rooms "oh hold" for you until a specified date, usually about 1 month prior to the wedding.  On that date if there are rooms that have not been booked by your guests, the hotel will release them from the block so that the general public can book them.

We blocked rooms at 3 hotels for our wedding, all with different rates so that our guests could choose their price.  Each of the 3 hotels we went with had a limit on how many rooms could be placed into the block - either 25 or 30 rooms.  We had a ton of out of towners so I overestimated and did 25 rooms at each hotel (we ended up using only about 40 rooms total).  The rooms that were not used were put back into general use with no cost to us.  When we were close to our release dates the hotels even called me to let me know how many rooms had been booked and who had booked them.  Oh, and one more thing, if you want to have welcome bags/baskets at the hotel for your guests be sure to find out if there is a fee to have the hotel distribute them at check-in.  The Hyatt that wanted to charge us for the rooms we didnt use also wanted to charge a $5 fee per bag just to pick it up and hand it over the counter!!!!  Hope this helps you out a bit :)


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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 9:16 AM Go to message in response to: Nema

Nema,

Ive done this a few times actually. For my own wedding, another fmaily event, and now I just did it for my first wedding client (Im a planner.) Its actually pretty easy. If there is a Marriott nearby, I recommend them, they were GREAT although a bit pricey,but awesome customer service, rooms, food, etc. Anyway, there are lots of nice hotels and its easy to get a room block.

Basically, call the hotel you are interested in and ask to speak with a Manager or someone in charge or Room Blocks for Weddings. How it normally works is this: The hotel will set aside a cerain number of rooms, or a "block" of rooms, for you and your Guests on the wedding night, the night before, whatever you specify. You just tell them app. how many out of town guests you feel might need a room, and they will normally put aside at least 15-20 rooms. You do not have to pay anything at all. They normally ask you for a CC number just to hold the room block, but they will not ever charrge you. What they do is they simply hold these rooms aside until a "cut off date"..usually about 2 weeks before the wedding date. So the rooms will be there for your guests to make reservations at a discounted rate as part of your Wedding list.. until this cut off date. Aftr that date has passed, any rooms your Guests didnt book will be released back to the public. You dont pay anything. If they ask you to pay or guarantee anything, go through a different hotel, because most hotels will not ask this. They will just release the rooms if they are not reserved. They will usually give you litlte insert with all the info on it...phone number ,directions,map,etc..and you put those in your Save the Dates or invitations for your OOT guests ,and THEY call themselves and book their own rooms. They pay for the hotel when they get there. Some hotels will offer the Bride and Groom a free room or an Upgraded Suite when they have a roomblock.

Its pretty easy, just call your hotels and decide which one works best. Oh, and also.. some hotels , if they aare very nearby your venue, will offer a FREE shuttle to and from the wedding. I was able to get that for my client at the Best Western Executive Suites, so this way that solves the drinking issue too!


See my Advice Column and Blogs at www.brideorama.com :)

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Laur Posts : 311 Registered: 2/18/07
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 10:58 AM Go to message in response to: Nema

Our reception is at a hotel so I don’t know if that made this difference or not.  What they were able to do for us was start with just 15 rooms (even though we were sure we’d have at least 20-25, which we do) and then they add to the block as it gets booked up.  When there were 10 rooms booked they added 5, when 15 rooms were booked they added another 5, etc.  That was nice because we weren’t taking up too many of their rooms and if more booked than we anticipated there would definitely be a room at the block rate for them.  Of course, if you’re in a big touristy area or are dealing with small hotels, that might not work because they book up with the general public quicker. 

 

Definitely book different types of rooms!  This is where we got stuck, we mentioned to the site coordinator that most people would probably want double beds (families) not thinking that it would be all they put in our block.  So guests have called and have been told there are no king bed rooms, no smoking rooms, no non-smoking rooms.  Ugh it’s been a mess so make sure you get some variety in there when you set it up. 

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blndsnbrdr Posts : 131 Registered: 9/3/07
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 11:26 AM Go to message in response to: Nema

Hey Nema -

I work at the front desk of a hotel and have worked at 2 other hotels that do also blocks. In most cases what happens is you talk to the mgr at the hotel and tell them what you are looking for - they have done this before so if you have questions feel free to ask them. The hotel will make a 'block' of rooms at a cheaper rate under the brides/grooms names and then your guests can call in and make reservations.  For the 3 hotels I have worked at your block will have a cut off date (usually 2 to 3 weeks before the event) - after this date your guests will no longer be able to book rooms at the special rate.  This may seem annoying but its for your own benefit.  If the rooms are released from the block when you are not held responsible for paying for any of the rooms.

At the hotels I have worked at we haven't asked for a CC from the person booking the block, but some hotels might.  And to book a block we have only required 10 rooms or more.

Also, ask if you can get a deal on your own room if your guests book so many rooms - and keep in mind that the room rate for your block of room will probably depend on how many rooms you have in the block, the rate will be cheaper if you block 30 rooms rather than just 10. In most cases you can add more rooms to the block if more people need hotel rooms than expected.

Just make sure to mention the cut off date in your invitations so your guests aren't calling after that date to try and get the discounted rate and are told its no longer available - its kind of annoying to be the hotel employee who has to deal with an upset wedding guest because the bride & groom didn't mention that detail in their invites because there is nothing we can do about it.


 

 

"We fit together pefectly, like two puzzle pieces...puzzle pieces you have to pour water on and pound together" -Chris (FH)

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futuremrsperry Posts : 1,904 Registered: 4/23/06
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 12:20 PM Go to message in response to: Nema

We were not charged anything.  Ask your hotel about it.  We were able to reserve a block of 20 rooms.  We put that information in the invitations.  It worked pretty well.

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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 9:30 PM Go to message in response to: Nema

The above posters all are correct--no upfront charge, a cut-off date after which rooms are released. The only caution I would give is that if you're in a popular tourist area or one with limited rooms available and some big event or a holilday going on, then hotels may refuse to block rooms because they know they can sell them all at the full price. therwise, it's to their advantage to cater to you, because they know they'll sell out the rooms.

myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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Guest
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 10:33 PM Go to message in response to: myra

Wow! I didn't even know that you could block rooms! This is GREAT to know! 

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to word that on the invite? There's so much information to impart, but I'm afraid of my invitation being two pages long! 

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jessd0320 Posts : 1,491 Registered: 7/4/06
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 21, 2007 11:34 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Put accomodation info on a separate insert. Include hotel name, address, reservation phone number, room rate and the cutoff date. Maps are good too if you have the room. Or at least directions.

Your actual invitation only needs ceremony info. Reception info can go there too, or on a separate card. I did it this way because we didn't have enough room to have it all on the main invite.


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Nema Posts : 40 Registered: 8/22/07
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 22, 2007 2:05 PM Go to message in response to: Nema

Thank you so much everyone!! I love this website, I have gotten so much information.

Personally- I am sending out the hotel info with my seave the date cards sent out eight months before and then will include an enclosure with driving directions in the invite.


Nema

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Guest
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Sep 23, 2007 9:38 AM Go to message in response to: Guest

My invitations were easy to add an extra insert. They were white paper with black print and a black ribbon. So I printed the extra insert last minute at home on card stock paper. Granted the invites had a different script and were in shiny, embossed ink, but it still looked nice. I simply said:

                            For Our Guests

                         For your convienence

                   We have blocked rooms for

                        December 16, 2006

               At Geneva Lodge and Conference Center.

                    The rooms are available to you

                 at the discounted rate of $79/ night.

                   The rooms must be booked by

                         November 16,2006

                   To recieve the discounted rate.

                   To book your room, please call

                              XXX.XXX.XXXX

               Directions and additional information

                   Can be found at our website.

                       www.BlahBlahBlah.com

 

It seemed to work really well. Just make sure to include when they need to reserve by. I had a few people call late and they got REALLY Lucky when the hotel still gave them the discount. Another thing to also consider, we didn't block any rooms for the night before, so I don't know for sure if his grandparents and aunts and uncles that came in the day before (or even a few days before) recieved the discounted rate for each night, or just the night of the wedding, so be sure to ask your hotel.

Oh, and I know $79 is not the greatest of deals, but this is literally the only hotel in the area, and it is the hotel we had our reception at. It is brand new (2 years old), REALLY nice, and the regular room rate is something like $160/ night. So half off wasn't too bad. All 20 of the rooms we blocked were used, and then some (still at the discounted rate, they were good to us).

                                       

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DennisLong Posts : 1 Registered: 11/16/13
Re: Booking a "Block" of rooms at a hotel... HELP!!
Posted: Nov 16, 2013 10:37 AM Go to message in response to: Nema

Getting a block of hotel rooms is simple
You have two choices when you need a block of rooms. You can call each hotel and ask the sales manager for group rates or you can go online and get group rates at a website like link: http://grouptravel.org/group-rates-for-hotels/

Remember that hotels offer perks if you block more than 30 or so rooms. Perks like a free bridal suite or free wifi for guests. etc. These can be negotiated.

As for cost, you should not pay anything to block rooms. Some hotels ask for a guaranteed number of rooms and ask for a deposit and hold you responsible for unused rooms. But don't book with those. Ask for a courtesy room block. The website I mentioned earlier is a good resource for it.

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