I’ve been working on wedding blocks at every level of occupation I’ve had since entering the hotel industry in 1998. First, as a reservations agent, diligently looking up the wedding block and asking them to spell the brides name for me just one more time. Second as an Executive Meetings manager in charge of working with brides and grooms on negotiating special rates for their family and friends. And now, as a third party, once again working with the brides and their families as well as the hotels, to find just the right hotels for their special day.
Wedding blocks aren’t difficult at all. But here are some simple pointers to consider when booking them.
Brides come into wedding blocks thinking they need to have lodging options for every guest that will be attending the wedding, however at the time of booking the bride neither knows who will actually be attending, or the preferences of her guests. No matter how excellent a rate the bride negotiates, there will always be guests who think they can do better on their own, have a personal brand preference, will be staying dates the bride didn’t consider, or don’t actually want to stay where everyone else is staying.
There is also a mistaken notion that a group rate equals a discounted rate, and that the bigger the block of rooms, the better a deal that can be had. Not true, particularly over high demand dates. Hotels know that they will be entering into an agreement with wedding parties that do not make arrangements for cancellation or attrition and for that flexibility, there is sometimes a premium to be paid.
Often times hotels will set an initial maximum (usually 15 rooms) for which they will block. In my experience, it’s rare for a wedding block to exceed this initial maximum unless the wedding is being held at the hotel specifically, or unless it’s in a destination where other hotels are scarce. Hotels are usually willing to add to the block if the initial room block is full, provided there is still time before the cutoff date.
Also consider that guests who need rooms for weddings are quite often going to being concerned with room rate. If the block of rooms seems inadequate at the primary hotel, it should be a consideration to have a second block of rooms nearby of equal size with a lower rate. This gives guests options and the bride piece of mind that guests will be able to get a room regardless.