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  • Christina Hubeli

Top Tips for Your Wedding Hotel Room Block

bride and groom at hotel
Photo: Sheldon Collective

There’s no denying it – booking a hotel room block is certainly not the most thrilling part of wedding planning. It’s very technical, logistical, and the hotel-specific lingo used can intimidate couples.

We often say that couples are overwhelmed by the wedding planning process because they usually have never planned a wedding before. And it’s no different for hotel room blocks! You’ve probably never had the need to block rooms at a hotel before, and the process can seem very unfamiliar and complicated.

But, don’t fear! While the room block process can require a bit of legwork depending on where and when you’re getting married, we’ve gathered up our best tips to make the process as seamless as possible. Below we chat you through what you’ll need to pay attention to as you’re reserving your hotel block.

Tip 1: Start by gathering some preliminary information

Before even starting to reach out to hotels, pull out your guest list and count up how many people will be traveling from out of town. This will help you get an estimate on how many rooms you may want to block (remember that couples and families will share a room). Also think through if you want to block any rooms for any day(s) before and/or after your wedding.

If you have a large group of guests coming in from out of town, you may want to consider booking rooms in a different hotel for getting ready. This can help to avoid unwanted guests intruding in on the getting ready area (i.e. Aunt Shelia won’t be bothering you while you’re getting your hair done) and will be an overall calmer experience.

Either way, we recommend booking 2 blocks, if possible, at varying price points so guests can have a choice. Blocking at hotels that are closer together will make it easier for you to coordinate guest transportation, as well as other wedding weekend events such as welcome cocktails or farewell brunch.

Tip 2: Opt for a courtesy block

When it comes to hotel room blocks, you typically have two options – a courtesy block or a contracted block. A courtesy block means that you will not have any financial liability for the guest rooms. A contracted block will have attrition, meaning you will be financially liable if a certain percentage of rooms in the block are not booked by your guests. You may also see attrition written as a Guaranteed Sales Agreement or GSA.

Attrition is most commonly 80% but can vary by hotel. So for example, if you block 20 rooms with 80% attrition, at least 16 of those rooms would need to be booked by guests. Otherwise, you would be financially responsible for covering the cost of the remaining rooms (i.e. if 13 rooms get booked, you would have to pay for those remaining 3). With a courtesy block, however, the remaining available rooms will go back into the sellable inventory of the hotel once you reach the cut-off date.

While it varies by hotel, most hotels in the city will commonly include attrition when blocking 15 to 20 or more rooms. Because of the financial liability tied to it, Burst does not recommend signing an agreement with attrition. Marriott hotels are most likely to offer a courtesy block and Hilton hotels are least likely.

For both courtesy and contracted blocks, you should sign an agreement with the hotel to secure the block.

Tip 3: Consider concessions

When comparing hotels, keep an eye out for any concessions the hotel is able to offer. Commonly, hotels will offer a discounted suite rate if a certain amount of rooms in the block are booked. Hotels in the suburbs may have more extensive concessions, such as complimentary shuttle service for guests to/from the reception.

Tip 4: Pay attention to the cut-off date

Once you’ve signed the agreement with the hotel, add the cut-off date to your wedding website along with the personalized booking link/code provided by the hotel. This will ensure guests book their room in time and within your block. Also make a note of the cut-off date in your calendar so you can add additional rooms to your block if needed prior to the date.

Tip 5: You don’t HAVE to offer a room block

Remember that although it's a really nice courtesy to offer your guests a block of rooms, it’s certainly not required! For instance, if there is a large conference in town the weekend of your wedding, hotels may not have availability or may not even be offering room blocks. In other instances, the hotel might not be able to offer a competitive rate compared to what guests can secure by just booking online.

If it proves to be impossible because of external events, your guests are all grown-ups and are more than capable of finding decent rates on, AirBNB, and the like. So don't stress yourself out about this!

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