What You Need to Know Before Reserving Wedding Hotel Room Blocks
Planning on having out-of-town guests at your wedding? Then you’ll need to secure hotel room blocks for your guests. Room blocks help guests reside in one central area. This makes it easy not only for guests but also the bride and groom. Hotel blocks also often offer group rate discounts – savings that your guests will appreciate.
Something to consider when you’re thinking about hotel room blocks is using a travel agent. Travel agents can save you money and stress as you research, negotiate, secure, and save on hotel rooms and suites for your wedding. Best of all, travel agents have existing relationships with hotel and lodging providers, so they may get you additional discounts and upgrades.
HOW TO BLOCK ROOMS
Before signing any agreement, look carefully at the contract terms. Be sure you understand what date they will release the rooms (the date your guests will need to book by), along with understanding if rooms can be added to the rate, if necessary. For out-of-town guests that may be driving in, see if parking is included in the room rate or if it is negotiable. Remember, if any of this potential negotiation or contract work seems intimidating, a travel agent is a helpful advisor and will tend to save you more their fee.
Be sure that your room block includes a variety of rooms for your guests to choose from. The Ritz Carlton Chicago, for instance, has many room sizes, layouts, and views to ensure all your guests enjoy their stay. If you’re looking to stay in the same hotel as your guests, you may want to request that you’re on a separate floor for a bit of added privacy.
TYPES OF BLOCKS
Hotel blocks generally come in two different types, courtesy block rooms and guaranteed block rooms. Courtesy blocks are typically the more desirable option; they won’t require any upfront deposit to secure or payment penalty for unsold rooms by the bride and groom. However, for popular days or weekends, or at destination resorts, this option may not be available.
A guaranteed room block will charge a penalty if an agreed upon percentage of rooms are not booked. If you are certain that a large portion of your guests will be staying at your recommended hotel (like for a destination wedding), then moving forward with this type of room block can be a good option.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Always inquire about the amenities, special requests, and complimentary extras at your hotel of choice. For instance, in Chicago the Chicago Athletic Hotel and The Gray Hotel Chicago both offer wedding packages along with special available accommodation rates for out-of-town guests. Additionally, hotels will often be willing to provide transportation services to the ceremony and/or reception, or even to and from the airport.
Do you plan to offer welcome bags for your out-of-town guests? Negotiate for the inclusion of this service in your reservation. Otherwise, you could be looking at an extra fee! Again, this is where a travel agent can lend their expertise as professionals to help you secure the best rates incentives, upgrades, free nights, or other special add-ons. Agents can also leverage their wide client base to help you ensure you get the most from hotel providers for your wedding.
If you’re looking for a location for a morning-after brunch, see if the hotel has a dining room or restaurant that can accommodate your full party. In Chicago at The Langham Chicago, the Travelle Kitchen + Bar offers a tasting table or chef’s table for intimate or large gatherings, as well as a glass-enclosed show kitchen, allowing guests to enjoy a culinary performance. In the end, the easier you can make wedding weekend logistics for your guests, the better the experience for all.
HOW TO SPREAD THE WORD
After deciding on a hotel, the easiest way to spread the word among guests is to indicate the preferred accommodation on your wedding website. This will make it easy for guests to directly access the hotel’s website and secure their reservations.
If there is a special code or link that guests need to use, make sure you call attention to that as well. If at any point room blocks seem overwhelming, time-consuming or stressful, you always have the option to recruit a professional to help at any time!
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