Wedding Etiquette Forum

Hotel Blocks

I have no idea if I'm posting this in the right spot, so I apologize in advance if I'm wrong. 

Nearly my entire side of the guest list (friends and family) will be coming in from out of state. How do the accommodations work? Do I pay for the hotel rooms or do they? Should I reserve a block of rooms at a hotel (and what does that mean exactly) or just give them a list of local hotels? There's still 8 months until the wedding, but I'm starting to get pressured on both sides (my mother and his) to start getting things finalized and set up. Thanks for any and all help with this.

Re: Hotel Blocks

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    You are under no obligation to pay for their hotel rooms. I would reserve a block of rooms at a hotel (or two at different price points if you can) and provide them a list of other hotels in the area. I would do this ASAP as you never know if there will be a big event in your town the weekend of your wedding.
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    They pay.  You can get a block of rooms at a hotel, which typically means that they will hold a certain number of rooms until a certain date, and they may give a discounted rate for the people that book in the block.  Some hotels will charge you money for unfilled rooms, so read contracts carefully.  It may depend on your area, but I would never agree to be on the hook for blocked rooms.  We blocked at 4 hotels at no cost to us.  Some hotels will offer certain perks, like a shuttle for your guests, if a certain number of rooms are filled.  

    Blocking rooms isn't necessary, but it can be nice if you can get a discount for your guests, and it can help guests figure out where to stay in an unfamiliar area.  I would recommend doing it if your wedding will take place on a weekend where many rooms are likely to be booked by other events (like a college graduation or something), because it could be hard for your guests to find available rooms.  

    With our hotel blocks, we listed them all on our wedding website with a description of where they were in relationship to the inn where we got married.  Guests were free to choose between them or find another hotel (or some rented places for longer stays).  
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    Thanks so much for the help and information. Between drmrs and jessicabessica, you guys answered all my questions about this. Now to just get off my lazy bum and do this lol. Thanks again. :)
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    JustNickiJustNicki member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited October 2013
    They pay. Look into a couple hotels at different price points and see what their policies on blocking are. The nice thing about doing a hotel block is that your guests will usually get a less expensive room rate than the normal rate. However, watch out for something called "attrition." A policy like that basically means that you are guaranteeing the hotel will be booked by a certain number of guests otherwise you pay the difference. Say, for example, you book 10 rooms. 80% (or another number depending on the hotel) of the rooms must be booked or you have to pay for the remaining rooms. So you'd need at least 8 guests to book. It's a shitty thing so make sure you find out if a hotel you're looking at follows it.

    ETA Do this sooner rather than later because hotels will give your rooms a bigger discount the farther away you are from your date when you sign the contract.
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    SP29SP29 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited October 2013
    I agree to ask about the "fine print" before agreeing.

    We have blocks at 2 hotels in the area, which are "free" to us to book. The rooms are a discounted price compared to the usual, but they expire if not booked by about 3 weeks prior to the wedding date. 

    I also agree to pick 2, maybe 3 hotels in different price points. We did contact one hotel (higher end) that would have required us to pay the difference if not enough rooms were booked. 

    We also looked at getting a group rate for airlines (there are only 2 major airlines in Canada) but were told if not enough people booked, those who HAD booked would lose the discount and be charged the regular fare price. I thought that would be pretty rude to do to those guests who had booked on time to find out after the fact. AND the group rate wasn't cheaper than the econo fares. Not a good deal at all! So we cancelled those. 
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    One hotel I looked into would do a discount rate if we held the wedding there.  They would not hold a block of rooms for us.  Instead they would just offer the discount to anyone staying there for our wedding but would not hold rooms for them.  So if they were booked up they were booked up.  On the plus side we wouldn't be on the hook for any unused rooms.
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