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Illinois-Chicago

Hotel blocks?

Anyone have a lead on an affordable but presentable hotel in the city limits? Thanks!

Re: Hotel blocks?

  • KayDeeeKayDeee member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    Totally depends on what you mean as "affordable" and what sort of amenities you are looking for. If you need rooms in the summer, the rates will be higher for sure.

    For one of our blocks we used the service HotelPlanner.com (someone on theknot suggested it) it worked out great. You enter the dates you need the block, the highest rate you are willing to pay  and the area in which you are looking for rooms in the City of Chicago, and then hotels send in their bids for your business. You can also pick the number of STARS the hotels has so you don't get bids from flea-bag hotels if you want your guests to stay at 5 star hotels.

    You don't have to pay anything for this service, but if you book any rooms with the hotel that bid on your block, that hotel pays a % of that to the site.

    Make sure you are as DETAILED as possible so you don't wind up with a lot of bids from hotels you are not interested in or their terms. Like, where you are responsible to fill 100% of the rooms because you don't want that. Or you get a 1 star hotel when you want a 5 star.

    Or you can do it the old fashioned way and call around. We did that for our first block, got a hold of a sales manager for the Starwood properties so they were able to give us rates for Aloft, Westin, W, Fairfiled Suites, the new Hyatt in River North. We chose Aloft based on location, price and amenities. It worked out well, they were great to work with and our guests loved the hotel.

    TIPS:

    1. If you do not want to be responsible for ANY percentage of rooms used, tell the hotel you will have all guests booked 30 days out from the event and they can release any unused rooms at that time. Or even 60 days if you are super far out. Some will definitely work that into the contract, just depends on how much you want to use the hotel.  PRO: You are not on the hook for unused rooms, CONS: You have to stay on top of your guests to make sure they make the deadline.

    2. Ask for discounted parking for your guests. Parking can range from $30-$75 a night, some hotels are willing to offer discounts. We were able to get our guests discounted parking, so it does not hurt to ask.

    3. DO NOT book with a hotel that requires a deposit. There's no reason to with all the options in the city, there are many hotels that will do a room block for you without it.

    4. Feel free to ask for a complimentary upgrade for the bride and groom to a suite, it doesn't hurt. (you pay the discounted rate for a regular room, but get the upgrade).

    5. Find out if there are additional charges for the hotel to leave gift bags for your guests (if that is something you are planning on doing).

    If I think of any more I will post them!

    Good luck!
    brian&elizabeth2015
  • Thank you so much, this is very helpful.
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