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Hotel Blocking?

How far in advance should I ask for a hotel to block rooms for me?

ALL of my family lives OOT, so I would need to block alot of rooms.

And any questions I should ask the hotel before deciding to use them?


Thanks!

Re: Hotel Blocking?

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    Yeah, I think I did mine in January and my wedding's in a few weeks.  I would also shop around for a deal, and depending on your circumstances, maybe even get two hotels - one nicer and one regular so that guests have choices.   Ours is a Holiday Inn Express, which is a nice medium, but I know of some guests that can't afford $100 a night so I wish now that I would have blocked rooms at a cheaper hotel as well.
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    I would at least go scout hotels and ask about their policies ASAP. We blocked rooms with Comfort Inn & Suites and their rates were based off of how far in advance we booked rooms. If we had waited any longer it would have been less of a percentage off their normal room rate.

    Also, ask to see a room when you go. Sometimes the lobby can be misleading because they know everyone will see it, but the rooms themselves don't look so nice.

    And see what their policy is about unbooked rooms. You really want to find a hotel that does not charge you for any blocked unbooked rooms. Ask about adding to the block if they start to fill up.  If you can, get a blank copy of their contract so you can compare little details with each hotel.
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    I have many OOT guests, so we booked our blocks ASAP. Right after we solidified the ceremony and reception venues!
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    We blocked almost a year in advance, because the majority of our guests are OOT and hotels also book quickly in our area.  I'm glad we did, because a month before our wedding, almost all the hotels were booked solid (and there was no special event going on).  If you have a lot of OOT guests, you may want to consider blocking at more than one hotel, and getting two different price points.  We went with $110/night because it was the best I could find, but if you can find something cheaper that would be nice.  If I had more guests, I would have also blocked at a more expensive hotel, as some guests had expressed interest at staying somewhere 'nicer than a Hampton Inn'. 

    You should think about locations that are convenient to your guests; maybe close to the airport or train station, or near other areas of interest (such as downtown).  It's also important to think about transportation and how your guests will be getting to your venue(s), as well as issues like parking and traffic.

    As far as contract goes, I would make sure that you are not responsible for unbooked rooms - some places want you to pay for them, but since most hotels don't, I wouldn't sign a contract like that.  Ask when they will release the rooms (i.e. take them out of the block) and plan your RSVP date accordingly.  See if you can get different types of rooms (i.e. two doubles vs one king bed), and whether they will automatically add rooms as they get booked.  Mine only did 20 rooms to start, but would add them in increments of 10 as needed.

    I would also inquire about packages and shuttles - most of the hotels I looked at would offer a free suite for x number of rooms or something like that, and we were most interested in hotels that offered a complimentary shuttle to and from our venue (which required a minimum of 25 nights booked).  It may not be a necessity for you, but it's something to think about.  You may also want to ask about any other amenities, like free wi-fi and complimentary breakfast, to have that info on your wedding website.

    Sorry that got so long!
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