If you are hosting an event and have invited out of town guests, setting up room blocks is a good idea. It is a nice gesture for your guests, but it also helps organize transportation, after parties, brunches, and welcome bag drop-offs.
If you are planning on a welcome reception, farewell brunch, etc. Anything to do with the hotel catering, you can negotiate better rates on the rooms. Hotels make most of their money on food and beverage so they will gladly subsidize a few rooms if you are hosting a secondary event with them.
This is also a great way to ensure that the rooms are not booked by a large convention or graduation and your guests nowhere to stay.
Depending on how many rooms you need, we recommend a higher and lower range for your room blocks. Some guests may want to make a vacation out of it and prefer a spa, some may want to drop in for the weekend and just need a clean place to sleep. As a general rule, the minimum number of guests rooms required to make a block is 10 rooms per night. If you are holding the reception at the hotel or using any banquet space, that number can be adjusted.
Some hotels will offer a courtesy hold on the rooms. These rooms will be released at a certain time before your date if they are not booked. If you need more than ten rooms held, or the hotel does not offer a courtesy hold, you will be asked to leave a credit card number.
If you are asked to put down a credit card, you will be responsible for any rooms that have not met the hotels’ minimum attrition rate. Each hotel has a different attrition rate, so make sure you are clear on what you are committing to. The attrition rate may be anywhere from 50%-90% depending on the hotel and how busy they are in certain seasons.
The attrition rate on a credit card hold simply means that you are responsible for a certain amount of rooms, from your block, that are not booked. If you were to put 10 rooms on hold with a 70% attrition rate and your guests only book five rooms, your card will be charged the additional two rooms that were not booked.
When selecting the hotels consider proximity to the venue, proximity to each other if you are offering transportation, and the amenities they are offering.
If you have several guests who are frequent travelers they may prefer somewhere they can get points.
With room blocks, you may also be able to negotiate an upgrade for your wedding night, a free turndown service, or a late checkout. Hotels want to make you happy and obviously have your guests stay with them. It never hurts to ask.
If you are planning on having hair and makeup done at the hotel, you will need to book the room for Friday night as well. This will ensure that you will wake up in the getting ready room, and not have to wait for check in which is usually 3p.
If it’s possible, I would recommend booking two suites. One for the wedding party that is having hair and makeup and one for those who are just hanging out. You will want all of your friends’ items out of your wedding suite before you head to the ceremony. There is nothing worse than a few well-meaning guests coming to your hotel that night, or early the next morning because they forgot their bag. If you can just move it all down to the other suite someone else can manage that for you. You will also come back to a clean room for your wedding night.
Having a “clean” room is also ideal for photography. If you have your photographer coming to take getting ready shots, they will prefer a room that looks nice.
If you are heading to a town that has several boutique style hotels it may benefit you to hire a travel agent. The travel agent will either charge a low flat fee, or they will receive a commission from the hotels and it will be free to you. The larger corporate brands don’t typically offer commissions to travel agents unless they are destination-based.
If you don’t hire a travel agent your planner may be able to help you with room blocks.
Venue: Quirk Hotel
Photo: Paul Zayas
As always, I would love to chat.