Categories: General Date: Jan 4, 2011 Title: Guest Accommodations | All the Answers
Prepare to Web | Posted by KateParker at 10:05 am
Often times it's questioned: what is the difference between reserving a handful of hotel rooms and a room block?
Actually there can be quite a difference and more often than not, room blocks provide a sense of easement to your wedding — for both the couple and guests — just as long as you look for the right information. And for several occasions, The Meadowmere Resort is one of our go-to's for wedding blocks when we're in the Ogunquit, Maine area and are excited to have Allyson Cavaretta, the director of sales and marketing, share with us her experience with couples and things to look for when deciding on room blocks.
Allyson: Planning a wedding involves many details — often a couple wonders why some items make the list. Everyone knows the dress, the cake, the music. However, an important part of planning your day is making sure that your guests have a memorable experience. Wedding day bliss comes from your attention to your guests ahead of the big day.
Once you have selected hotel or inn that appeals to you, contact them directly to see if the hotel offers room blocks. A room block can be important — especially during busy wedding weekends when many people are traveling to the area. A block of rooms will set aside a designated number of rooms for your guests to reserve, which gives them the flexibility to make plans when they can budget for it. There are benefits to you as the couple as well. A room block provides a central location for guests, saving time on delivering items such as gift bags and it could potentially save money on transportation. You also have the comfort of knowing guests will have a place to stay. Just having guests reserve a bunch of rooms individually can often backfire — they can be spread across many hotel properties, they will often not receive a special rate and the hotel cannot assist you with who has made a reservation for your event. A room block will typically offer a group rate, centralize your guests for any transportation and help you save time as the date gets closer.
Choosing a hotel is important — the service that the hotel provides will help your guests stay relaxed and comfortable. An inn's level of service can even make the difference in getting the bride to the church on time! Be sure to ask for the following information:
Is there a group rate? Some hotels may offer this. Be aware that peak season dates may be excluded and minimum stays are typically expected and required. However, most hotels are happy to help you.
Will the rooms be together? This can be important if there are security deposits and is a nice feature for your guests. They will want to see each other during the weekend and may share transportation to the ceremony.
Are there noise/party polices that I should be aware of? You will want to know how any disturbances are addressed by the hotel staff and any potential penalties that may occur. You may want to encourage your late night crowd ahead of time to be mindful of certain behaviors — either through a second hotel option or entrusting friend or family member to work with the hotel staff directly.
How long will the block remain in place? Block policy will varies from hotel to hotel, however there are two common versions. One involves attrition whereby you will be responsible for a percentage of blocked should the rooms go unused. The other involves a block expiration date whereby the hold on the rooms releases. Be sure to have the dates and fees listed clearly in your contract so you can follow up as needed and avoid any unnecessary costs or worry. Important dates will depend on your wedding date. However a good tip is to tell guests to make arrangements by a week or so earlier than your contract's action date. Everyone knows someone on the guest list who waits just a little too long and this will help keep your phone from ringing when your Maid of Honor can't get a room.
What deposits/fees and potential costs are there to the couple for the block? The hotel that provides your block will be holding rooms aside for you. Be open and honest about your needs and concerns to avoid having to pay for unused rooms (the attrition version) or finding you block full with no more room at the inn! Your sales contact should want to know about your guest list to suggest a good block size and should keep you informed of how things are going when needed. It is reasonable to find that a security deposit is required — this is the hotel's way of knowing that you are serious about referring your guests and that you and your guests will respect the facility. However, it is not uncommon that should the event go smoothly, the deposit is refundable.
Is there a special arrangement for a honeymoon suite? Special arrangements for the Honeymoon Suite are often possible. Whether it is a special rate or a complimentary night for your block filling, often hotels are willing to reward you for bringing so many customers to enjoy the weekend. Remember that this may vary with peak season and it is always best to see the suite before agreeing to rent the room. You will want ample room to get ready, a beautiful background for pictures and a cozy special retreat at the end of your wedding day.
What restrictions are there on gifts to my guests? A traditional way to welcome your guests is the wedding gift bag. However, you want to be sure what you include does not cause room damage (rose petals) or something worse (candles). A considerate gift bag has items such as water, crackers/pretzels, a welcome note and information on the wedding activities — directions, times and locations. Nice extra touches can be local guidebooks and local treats, such as cookies or candies. Often, hotels will charge a small fee for delivery of your gift bags — be certain you have this information up front to avoid any surprises. Remember, they are providing a service with this delivery and it is always best to alert your hotel that you will have gift bags. This means that the hotel can prepare and properly handle your gifts to your guests.
What restrictions are there on providing transportation for my guests? It is not uncommon for brides to arrange transportation for wedding guests to and from the hotel. Your hotel may have an area that makes the pickup and drop off go smoothly, including when weather does not cooperate. No one wants their guests to await a trolley in the rain! More importantly, you want to reach your ceremony and will want to know where to go on your day, stress free. Your hotel can help make sure these details are considered.
How does the hotel ensure that guests will have important questions about the wedding day answered? (i.e. will the staff have details on times, locations, directions and be comfortable attending to your guests) Much as you have shared each detail with your guests on Facebook, Twitter, The Knot, a personal wedding site, on invitations, save-the-dates and so much more, your guests will need guidance during the weekend. Often a knowledgeable hotel staff will mean helping a guest arrive on time to your rehearsal, welcome party and even the ceremony.
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