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What To Look For When Booking A Hotel Wedding Block

It seems like in recent years more guests are often traveling to attend weddings. With family and friends coming to celebrate, it often makes sense to arrange a hotel wedding block booking to accommodate your guests.

Hotel blocks are great if you want as many of your out-of-town guests as possible in one place for logistical or transportation reasons if you want people to stay as close to the actual wedding as possible, if rooms are at a premium, or to make the wedding as easy possible for your guests.

Booking a hotel block can be a bit complex, but if you do your research, ask the right questions, and understand the more difficult terms of the agreement, it's a very worthwhile project to make your wedding day run much more smoothly!

While all hotels have different group booking policies, they are often contractually similar. Here are some tips, and factors to consider when booking a block of rooms for your upcoming nuptials!

When To Reserve Your Block

If your planning on having guests travel a long distance, it's best to book early. Two key factors that can impact your booking are the location of the wedding and the time of year. Are you getting married in a rural location with few accommodations? What about during a holiday weekend or when a major sporting event, or business convention in the same town? Book early to beat the rush!

If your location is seasonal, for example, you're planning a fall wedding during peak foliage system, or a summer wedding when tourists are vacationing in New Hampshire, give yourself plenty of time and book during the offseason. If you know that you will be inviting guests who will be traveling some distance to attend, once you book your venue, the next task should be researching your hotel wedding block options.

The Most Common Hotel Wedding Block Options

The first thing to be aware of when beginning your research is that there are a couple of options to choose from in terms of a block room booking. The most common types are:

Closed or Guaranteed Blocks

The hotel will require a deposit to block off rooms and you are held financially responsible for any unsold rooms in your block. The agreement can be structured as a percentage, or a real, hard number. This is called the “attrition rate.”

Generally, if a group block isn't hitting a pre-determined number of rooms by a particular date, you may face a financial penalty (see above), or the empty rooms may be released to the general public. Attrition rates can vary widely among different hotels, and many will bypass this clause, but may have other ways of guaranteeing a minimum number of rooms.

Open or “Courtesy” Blocks

These types of agreements are usually free of clauses holding you responsible for unsold rooms. However, they include a clause that rooms must be booked and confirmed by a target date, typically 30 to 90 days before your event. Rooms that are not confirmed by the target date are released to the general public and rented at market price.

The main drawback of this type of booking is that the number of rooms you can put on-hold is limited. Usually, 10 to 20 is the norm. If you need more rooms but are uncomfortable guaranteeing them, first ask the hotel what their policy is regarding adding additional rooms. Also, consider setting up a courtesy block at another hotel that is convenient to your location.

Other Considerations When Booking A Hotel Wedding Block

When choosing your property (or properties), there are few critical considerations for your guests.

Price – Try to give your guests a few different options in price – for example, budget, midrange, and luxury. Make sure the price points vary by a minimum of $50 between levels.

Location – Try to book a hotel near your venue. Within walking distance or near transportation is ideal. If possible, arrange a van or bus to ferry guests to the wedding location if it's more than 10 miles. Also, if possible, choose a hotel that is located near amenities like restaurants, bars, or attractions to help fill in your guest's downtime.

Check-In / Check-Out Time – Many of your guests will only stay for the night of your wedding. If possible, arrange an early check-in so guests will have time to get dressed, and make sure that any check-in time doesn't conflict with your ceremony! If possible, late check-out can be a good thing after a long day of celebrating! Your guests will certainly appreciate it!

Questions To Ask When Researching Potential Hotels

Asking the right questions during your initial research process can save you a lot of time and effort. When making initial contact here are some basic questions to ask:
  • What is your group rate, including any taxes and fees?
  • Do You offer free parking, or is there a parking charge?
  • What time is check-in? Can you provide early check-ins (if needed)?
  • What time is check-out?
  • What type of blocks do you offer? What is the maximum number of rooms for a courtesy block?
  • If needed, can we add rooms to our block?
  • What amenities do you offer? Do you have free in-room wi-fi, offer breakfast?
  • Is there a bar or restaurant onsite?
  • Do you have an event room available for pre or post-wedding events?
Do your due diligence and make sure that any hotel you work with is willing to answer these questions. If you do reach an agreement, make sure to carefully go over any contracts to make sure that there are no additional fees or changes to your initial conversation.

Hotel wedding blocks are convenient for your guests and can give you peace of mind when it comes to taking care of your family and friends on your special day! Ask the right questions, understand the basic types of block booking options and give your guests a choice and you'll be able to rest easy and enjoy your day!

The Hotel Concord

Here at The Hotel Concord, we love weddings and will work with you to reach an agreement that makes sense for you and your guests. We offer all the amenities you'd expect from a luxury hotel including on-site dining at O Steaks & Seafood, out intimate lobby bar, private function rooms perfect for pre or post-wedding events, and even extra plush robes and slippers in our rooms.

We're always happy to discuss your upcoming event, so please give our General Manager, Sue O'Donnell, a call at (603) 504-3500 ext. 4004. She's always happy to answer your questions!
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