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How to Understand the Secrets of Wedding Hotel Room Blocks: A Simplified Guide

the illuminated sign of a hotel mounted on an ornate, wrought iron balcony. The hotel's facade is classically designed with architectural details, highlighted by the warm glow of the evening lights.

When you imagine the perfect wedding, you think of the dress, the flowers, the music — all the elements that create the ambiance of a day where love is the guest of honor. Yet, there's a behind-the-scenes hero in the wedding saga that is often not talked about enough: the accommodations for your cherished guests. This is where the concept of hotel blocks comes into play, and trust me, it's a game-changer.

Hotel Room Blocks: Navigating Your Options

Understanding the difference between these two types of hotel room blocks is key to making an informed decision that suits your needs and budget.

Courtesy Block

Definition: A courtesy block is essentially a risk-free reservation for a group of rooms, usually with a cut-off date about 30 days before the event. Any rooms not booked by that date go back into general inventory, and you're not on the hook for them.

  • Who Pays?: Your guests pay when they book the room and check in—easy peasy.

  • Pros: Zero financial commitment on your part, which means you're not shelling out for unbooked rooms.

  • Cons: Rooms aren't guaranteed. If the hotel sells out, those rooms could go to other guests.

  • Quick tip: You'll need to sign a contract, but there shouldn't be a need for a credit card here. You're financially off the hook.

Guaranteed Block

Definition: You're locking in a certain number of rooms and committing to a percentage of them being booked—typically between 70% to 90%.

  • Who Pays?: Your guests pay when booking and checking in. But, any unbooked rooms? That's on you.

  • Pros: Your rooms are locked in. Plus, you'll often get special perks or upgrades.

  • Cons: You've got to fill those rooms, or your credit card gets a workout.

  • Heads up: You'll need to sign a contract and provide a credit card for this one.

Bonus Tips:

When chatting with hotels, don't forget to inquire about the extra goodies! Does the hotel offer a free shuttle to your venue? Could a certain number of bookings mean a complimentary suite for you and your partner? These details can sweeten the deal and enhance your guests' experience. Also, always sign up for the hotel rewards programs. They're free, can offer you pricing and check-in perks, and may even get you a discount on the room rate. My personal favorites - Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton HHonors.

Setting Up Your Block: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Contact Directly: Skip the reservation line; reach out to the group sales department.

  2. Discuss Options: Communicate your block preference, dates, and the number of rooms you're considering.

  3. Review The Contract: A contract will spell out all the details. Give it a thorough read before committing.

  4. Spread the Word: Once you've signed, you'll often get a reservation link for your guests. Share it, and let the bookings begin!

Whether you go with a hold or a guarantee, the right hotel block will be a cornerstone of your guests' comfort and enjoyment. With the right approach, you can ensure they have a fantastic place to rest after celebrating your love.

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