Having a destination wedding? Tons of people coming in from out of town just to attend your wedding? Don’t have a gigantic multi-million dollar estate with a whole bunch of rooms and butlers and maids waiting on your perfectly manicured hand?
Sounds like you need to book hotel rooms for your guests.
Admittedly, I hate administrative tasks that require me to actually make a phone call (major phone anxiety, this one), so I can see how tempting it would be to push this hefty task to the far corners of my mind. However, if you’re looking for the best bargain out there, taking the time to research which hotels offer the best rates in the best locations will be well worth the happiness of your guests and yourselves.
There are a lot of factors to consider when booking your hotel, and these are just a few of those factors:
- What’s the minimum number of rooms I can reserve for a block?
- What are the rates?
- Is there a group discount?
- What percentage of these rooms have to be filled up?
- How many people are coming out-of-town and need to stay overnight?
- Do I need to pay a deposit?
- Where is this hotel located? Is it easily accessible by public transport?
- Are there interesting things to do around the hotel?
Typically, for large hotel chains at least, you should be able to find this sort of information easily on the FAQs page. However, if your concerns require a little more sleuthing, there are plenty of travel resources out there that can help you out with reserving hotel rooms with minimal stress.
Dissecting the Terminology
Weirdly enough, you’d think that reserving rooms would actually be pretty foolproof. After all, you just go to the hotel’s website, enter the dates that you want to stay over, and you pay and get a room! However, reserving room blocks can be more of a hassle, especially since wedding season coincides with vacation time and rooms are getting snapped up like free hot dogs.
- hotel block: A hotel block is essentially what it sounds like — a “block” of hotel rooms. Essentially, you’ll be able to reserve a section/# of hotel rooms in the hotel for your guests.
- regular hotel block: A regular hotel block generally requires you to pay some sort of deposit that will cover a fraction of the total cost that is needed to reserve the hotel rooms that you need. This sort of block doesn’t have a hard limit on the number you can reserve as long as they are available. Understandably, couples that are strapped on money are wary of this option, as the guests should be the one paying for the rooms.
- courtesy hotel block: What most hotels don’t advertise is the option of the “courtesy hotel block”. If you specifically request a courtesy hotel block, hotels will offer to block off up to 20-30 rooms for free. The only requirement is that guests reserve rooms by a certain date. After that date, rooms that are not reserved will be sold again to the public by the hotel.
- cut-off date: The cut-off date is the last date guests are able to reserve rooms within the hotel block specifically reserved for the wedding. After that date, the rooms are open to the public once more and there is no guarantee that guests can reserve those rooms. The cut-off date is usually one to two months before the start date of the actual reservation.
- group rate: If a large group plans to reserve the entire block, it is entirely possible that the hotel will provide them a discount in order to sell as many rooms as possible. The group rate could be as much as 20% off the original cost. Couples should make sure that the group rate is included in the hotel contract should they need to sign one.
- complimentary room: Often times, hotels will throw in a complimentary room if a large number of hotel rooms are needed and reserved for the wedding day. This could be just an extra room or a bridal suite — it’s just something nice to have on the side.
- shoulder days: Shoulder days are days that give your guests extra time to stay at the hotel and accommodates their travels. Especially if this is a destination wedding, shoulder days can be useful in giving your guests ample time to get settled into their room, get accustomed to their surroundings, and explore the location during their free time.
- attrition clause: The attrition clause will appear in a contract that you may have to sign in order to secure a hotel block. Essentially, the fees for approximately 80% of the rooms must be paid for, regardless of how many rooms are actually inhabited. More on that later.
Now that we know the terminology, it’ll be a lot easier to actually understand what the heck I’m talking about when I’m talking about…