Photo Credit: Andre Hunter

In today’s super informative guest post from Katie A of Planning with Poise, you’ll  learn everything you need to know about reserving hotel rooms for your guests! Enjoy:

If you’re wondering whether you should reserve a block of hotel rooms for your wedding guests – or if you’re not sure where to start – you’re in the right place! Below, you’ll learn all about how to reserve a room block – plus, you’ll get a ready-to-use word-for-word email template to start your hotel search the easy way. Let’s get started!

Read the full post after the cut!

What’s the point of reserving hotel rooms for your guests anyway?

There are two main reasonf for reserving a block of rooms for your wedding guests:

  • You have a lot of out-of-town guests and/or
  • You’re providing transportation for a large number of guests (logistically, it’s MUCH easier to provide transportation if there’s only one or two locations for pick-up and drop-off)

Another reason you might want to reserve rooms for your guests is if your guests are going to have a really hard time finding their own lodging due to the time and location of your wedding. Here are some examples that make it a little tougher for your guests to secure their own hotel accommodations:

  • Your wedding is in a small town or rural location with very few options for hotels and/or Airbnbs.
  • You’re getting married in a prime vacation spot during a holiday weekend
  • There’s a huge event scheduled in the area during your wedding weekend (like sporting events, concerts, festivals, etc.)

If your wedding falls into any of these categories, it might be a good idea to block off some rooms for your guests!

Photo Credit: Delfi de la Rua

Two types of room blocks

This is probably the most important factor to consider when searching for a hotel for your guests. Hotels offer two types of room blocks: courtesy and guaranteed blocks.

  • Courtesy blocks (sometimes called “open” blocks). The benefit of a courtesy block is that you’re not financially responsible for unbooked rooms within your block. On the downside, guests have a strict deadline to book their rooms to get the group rate. Generally, the deadline to book is at least a month before the wedding – so this requires guests to think and plan ahead!
  • Guaranteed blocks (sometimes called “closed” blocks). A guaranteed block requires you to pay a deposit to block off the rooms – and if any rooms are not booked, you’re stuck with the bill for those rooms. If you’re not 100% certain that your guests will book all the rooms, then I recommend avoid guaranteed blocks – because you don’t need any extra stress – and you definitely don’t need any extra bills to pay!

Some hotels offer one or both options; make sure to find out which options are available in your area.

Photo Credit: Enrico Carcasci

Choose the right hotel(s) for your wedding guests

There are a ton of different factors to consider. But don’t worry, I’ve simplified this for you! Here are the top three criteria to consider:

  • Location, location, location! OK, this one is obvious: reserve rooms at a hotel near your wedding location (within 10 miles), to allow you and your guests a quick and easy drive to your wedding. If you can, consider the hotel’s proximity to airports, restaurants, bars, attractions – this is nice if you have out-of-town guests who are flying in and will be vacationing for a few days before or after your wedding.
  • Room rates. If possible, be mindful of your guests’ budgets. Think about whether your guests would prefer to stay in a luxury hotel or a more budget-friendly hotel. If you have tons of hotel options in the area and your guests’ budgets vary widely, then you might consider reserving rooms at two hotels with different price points.
  • Check-in time. It’s entirely possible that some guests will need to arrive on the day of your wedding. This means they will need time to check-in, get ready, and head to the ceremony. Most hotels have a check-in time of 3pm, so if you have a ceremony in the late afternoon or early evening – this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. But if check-in time conflicts with your ceremony, ask the hotel if they can grant an earlier check-in for your guests – there are no guarantees, but it never hurts to ask!

Photo Credit: Tamara Menzi

Contacting Hotels and asking the right questions

Decide your check-in dates, check-out dates, and the number of rooms you’d like to reserve. Then come up with a list of questions to ask. Here’s a list of questions to help you get started (choose questions that are relevant to you and add your own, as needed):

  • Do you offer a courtesy block or a guaranteed block?
  • What is the group rate including all taxes and fees?
  • Do you require a minimum night stay to reserve a block?
  • What time is check-in?
  • What is the parking fee? Does it include in and out privileges?
  • What’s the rate for a honeymoon suite on the night of the wedding?
  • Our event ends at 11pm, if you have an on-site bar/restaurant will it still be open for a post-wedding event?

When you have all the relevant information, a list of questions, and a list of hotels to contact – you’re ready to start reaching out to hotels!

Have all relevant information and questions handy as you make phone calls. You can also create an email template to send to hotel managers. (Actually, I’ve already done that for you! I created a word-for-word email templateword-for-word email template that you can send to hotels today.) Call the front desk to get in touch with the group sales manager to inquire about room blocks – be sure to get the manager’s phone number and email address.

I highly recommend using email to reach out to sales managers. This way, you can email the manager at your convenience, you’ll avoid playing phone tag, and you have all the information at your fingertips in your email inbox.

Photo Credit: Marc Babin

Let your guests know that you’ve reserved rooms for them

After you’ve signed a contract to reserve a room block, the last step is to announce it to your guests! You can include the room block information on your save-the-dates, invitations, and/or website. Here is some sample wording that you can copy and paste on your website to get the word out:

“We have reserved a block of rooms at the [hotel name] for the nights of [check-in date] through [check-out date]. Please visit [website] or call [phone number] to reserve your room and mention [code]. The last day to book rooms using the discounted rate of $[amount] is [deadline].”

Final words

Again, reserving a room block is completely optional! But if you do decide to reserve a block, keep these three tips in mind to save you time, money, and stress: (1) go with a courtesy block, not a guaranteed block, (2) use email to contact hotels, and (3) use an email template to make the process even easier.

I hope this was helpful – happy planning!

At Planning with Poise, Katie teaches busy brides how to plan a stress-free wedding with actionable advice about how to save time, money, and energy. Download a free word-for-word email template to start your hotel search the easy way.