One of the best parts of a wedding is seeing all of your out of town guests you don’t visit often, but they will need a place to stay. As mundane as it may be, room blocks can be one of the most important bookings you will make for your guests. We’ve put together some tips to help make this task go as smooth as possible.
LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING
First of all, what is a room block? A room block is a group of rooms a hotel holds for your wedding guests, typically at a discounted rate. Guests are responsible for booking and paying for their rooms, while the couple is responsible for reserving the block.
The sooner you begin your hotel searches, the better chance in finding availability. Keep in mind any weekend events happening around St. Joe, as hotels will book much more quickly than a non- event weekends.
Check hotel availability before booking your venue. All of the hotels near your venue are booked for your date? Try to have some date flexibility so you have plenty of hotel options. The last thing you want is to have no where for your guests to stay during your wedding weekend.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Keep in mind the distance between your wedding venue and the hotels you make room blocks at. Would you like to travel another 25 minutes to a wedding when you have already come in from out of town? Probably not and chances are your guests wouldn’t either. Safety also comes into play for returning to the hotel after the wedding. In short, the closer, the better.
Contracts are typically required for reserving a room block, so always know what you are signing off on. Is there a minimum number of rooms you can block? Is there a maximum number you can block? Are there any fees for unbooked rooms? If not, how many rooms can go unbooked? What is the typical booking deadline before the unbooked rooms become available for regular hotel guests? Is there a deposit for making a room block? Are there any rules or restrictions regarding room blocks? What amenities does the hotel offer to guests? Does the hotel offer shuttle service for guests?
Last, but certainly not least, get everything in writing! If there is anything you discussed with the hotel, but is not explicitly stated in the contract, wait for an updated contract before signing anything.
Most couples have no idea on exactly how many rooms they should have in their room block, which can be frustrating. Begin by booking a small amount of rooms and add if needed, especially if there are any fees associated with unbooked rooms.
Along with how many rooms to reserve, know your guest list to book appropriate types of rooms in your block. Think of how many families versus couples will be coming in from out of town.
KEEP COST IN MIND
One of the best options you have is to make room blocks at two to three hotels in different price ranges in the area for guests to choose from. This will help make accommodations accessible to (hopefully) all of your out of town guests. Along with this, look at the big picture. Including the room rate, are there any extra fees (parking, late check- out, etc.) that your guests may need?
CHECK- IN TIMES
Don’t forget to keep check- in and check- out times in mind regarding other wedding weekend events. Guests will appreciate having some time before any festivities to check into their hotels and freshen up.
You finally have your room blocks set, now tell your guests about them! Include hotel contact information and any specific instructions they will need to book from your room block.