When you see wedding planning checklists or read wedding planning books they almost always include the task “reserve room blocks for wedding guests.” If you’ve never planned a large event before then you probably have no experience reserving a block of rooms and might not even know what that means. However, it’s a very important final step in planning your wedding. After all, where are all those out-of-town guests going to stay during the wedding?
Today we’re looking at everything you need to know about reserving a room block at a hotel for your wedding guests. Event planners know the ins and outs of reserving a hotel block and soon you will too!
What is a hotel block?
A hotel block is just a certain number of hotel rooms at a hotel that are reserved for wedding guests. It’s a great way to accommodate for out-of-town guests and show them that you appreciate them attending your wedding.
Hotel blocks usually are reserved in blocks of a large number, anywhere from 5 to 20 or more at a time. Some hotels offer reduced rates for your guests that will stay in these rooms, but not all offer this discount. When reserving the hotel block you can negotiate for a reduced nightly rate in case they allow it.
Room blocks usually come in a variety of room categories so you can select from the lowest level standard room up to deluxe accommodations. This gives your guests a choice of selection so they can fit the hotel room to their needs and budget levels.
Hotel room blocks should be chose before you send out information with invitations. It’s important to have these wedding guest accommodation options available at the time of the invite so guests can make plans. You’ll have to sit down and do some rough estimations of how many wedding guests you think will need a room and take advantage of the room block since you won’t have RSVP info to rely on. Room blocks usually have a special code or instructions for books so make sure you pass along that information to guests as well.
Pick the right hotels.
Memphis has thousands of hotels rooms that could be used by your wedding guests, so it’s up to you to pick the right hotels for them. It’s important to consider hotels when picking your wedding venue. Consider where your Memphis wedding venue is located and then choose hotels that are nearby or near transportation options. If you decide to pick a hotel out of the way for historic or experience reasons, just make sure you’ve arranged transportation for wedding guests.
Choose hotels with check in times that work for wedding guests. Some hotels won’t let you check in til later in the day which could present a problem if you have an early ceremony. Do the leg work ahead of time and make sure guests can check in and get ready for the wedding with plenty of time to spare.
Give your wedding guests choices.
Make sure you give your wedding guests a couple choices when they are selecting their accommodations for your wedding. Typically it is recommended that you choose two hotels with different price points so guests can choose which hotel they want to use.
You can also give guests options by booking rooms of different styles and on different floors within the same hotel. Keeping your options limited within two hotels will help wedding guests make a selection without overwhelming them on choices.
Book hotel room block.
Once you’ve decided the hotels you like and even some of the details, it’s time to book the rooms. Your best bet is to call the hotel and ask to speak with the group sales manager. Going online or just asking a front desk clerk might not get you the best results.
When you speak with the sales manager, remember to ask lots of questions. Here are some of the things you’ll want to know about the rooms:
- What is the group rate? Is there a discount?
- Is parking an extra fee? Are there any other extra fees?
- What are the check-in/check-out times?
- What is the minimum number of rooms we have to reserve?
- What happens to unfilled rooms? Will we be charged for those rooms?
- Can we add more rooms to the block later?
- What transportation options does the hotel offer for guests?
- Is there a bar at the hotel for after the wedding?
Once you have answers that work for you and your wedding guests, go ahead and book the room block with the hotel sales manager.
Make your guests happy.
Making your guests happy is part of hosting a wedding so start from the beginning by providing all the necessary hotel information to guests ahead of time. Place the hotel information on your wedding website and possible on your save-the-dates. Give the information to anyone else fielding questions during the wedding planning process so it can easily be disseminated to guests.
Help the hotel staff keep things running smoothly by providing them with necessary information as well. They will probably get a lot of questions about the wedding and the city so giving them information to pass out will help everyone. You can leave a copies of the wedding schedule with the front desk for staff to use for questions and to pass out to your wedding guests.
Give your out-of-town guests a little something special by leaving them a welcome basket in their room (or with the front desk if necessary). You can tailor your wedding welcome bags to yourself as a couple or your city. Guests will arrive to a nice hotel room and a basket full of goodies that represent you as a couple. Include some items that represent Memphis or your hometowns for a special touch. You can also include a map, coupons, attraction info, and snacks for guests. It’s the perfect way to kick off a wedding weekend and a great way to show your wedding guests that you care.
Those are just a few tips for reserving a hotel block of rooms for your wedding. It’s a small but crucial element of planning a wedding with out-of-town guests and it will make all the difference in their experience at your wedding.
Enjoy your wedding planning!