Where Will They Stay?
How to successfully reserve room blocks for events
Whether your client is hosting hometown “I Dos” that could double as a reunion, or are dashing off to a tropical island for destination nuptials, there is a good likelihood that many of the guests will need accommodations when they attend the wedding. It is therefore essential to invest time and research in choosing the best rooms and deals, as well as communicating the information to guests clearly and often.
Choosing wedding room blocks is more complicated than most people realize. It’s not as easy as looking up the cheapest overnight stay on an internet-based discount store. It requires knowledge of policies and some insider insight. After working in the hotel room block industry for the past ten years, here are our best hints and tips for navigating through the fine art of wedding guest accommodations.
Before you start, you need some key pieces of information. When securing accommodations, make an informed prediction about the number of out of town guests your client is expecting, and determine their ideal room budget. Your client will know their guests best – where would they prefer to stay? Would some choose luxury accommodations while others would happily select from economy properties? Will they, perhaps, need two or more properties to meet all of their guest needs? Are they hoping to have a hospitality suite to entertain their guests in? Does the selection of bed types at a hotel meet their guest needs? Answers to all of these will help you select the perfect accommodations for your client and their guests.
One of the most important considerations is location. Is the prospective property easily accessible to your other wedding events? If not, is a hotel shuttle available for your guests to use or will you need to hire private transportation? This can dramatically increase the overall cost of the wedding, so budget for it early and ask questions as you are narrowing down prospective properties.
Once you have developed a list of your client’s needs and requirements, you will want to begin reviewing properties and negotiating terms. Double-check the prices you are offered by sales personnel with online rates to ensure that you are agreeing to the best available deals. In some cases, you will receive better rates by consenting to a contract where you take financial responsibility for a number of rooms over a social block. Compare rates and terms before settling on a site. Once finalized, ensure your client’s guests are told early and often to take advantage of the block by booking in advance.
Choosing wedding guest accommodations can be a complicated and daunting task, but following these steps will help lead you to ultimate success!
Amy Green and Melanie Marconi are the founders of BDI Events, a full-service event planning company based in Los Angeles, with offices in Portland. They recently launched Where Will They Stay?, a free service which offers custom room block procurement for event planners and event venues.