We know you have a million things to think about when planning your DC area wedding! We hate to add more to your plate, but having a hotel room block for your wedding is almost always a must. Reserving a hotel room block will take some pressure off of your guests and will ensure that most of them are staying close by on your big day. This is helpful for timing purposes, as well as guest convenience. And of course you know that we have some amazing local DC hotels to choose from! As an added bonus, most hotels may give you a small discount on the rooms for reserving a whole block, which may increase the odds that your friends and family can make it.
When should I actually get this room block reserved? We would suggest you do this as soon as you lock down your venue. You will want your guests to be near the ceremony and reception!
How do I choose which hotel in which to book the hotel block? If you are getting married in a hotel, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest that the block be in that hotel. If not, choose a nice one nearby. Couples generally choose the same hotel that they are planning on getting ready in and staying in on the wedding day.
Are there different types of room blocks I should know about? Yes! There are often two options you can choose from!
- Guaranteed Blocks – Often called “closed room blocks,” guaranteed blocks is not one that we would necessarily recommend. The hotel will often require a deposit for this type of block so you may be held financially responsible for any rooms that are not sold. It might be the actual room rate or it might just be a percentage. This is called the attrition rate and can get pretty pricey pretty quickly.
- Courtesy Block – Often called “open room blocks,” this is the one we would suggest going with, if you can. You generally aren’t responsible if a few of the rooms go un-booked. There is also going to be a cut off date. If your guests don’t book their room before that date, they probably won’t receive the discounted rate. This usually closes a month or more before the event. The only downside to a courtesy block is that you aren’t able to reserve a large numbers of rooms. If you think you will need more than the hotel allows, you should ask if they are open to releasing additional rooms once the first block is filled. if not, another way to get around this is to do another courtesy block at another hotel (or two!) nearby. This can also be helpful if you want to book rooms at different price points for your guests to choose from.
Should I ask about discounts and perks? Yes! Definitely check out what the hotel has to offer. Sometimes hotels have a comp ratio where if a certain amount of rooms is sold in your block, you may receive a room free. Save this for yourself or gift it to your parents or your maid of honor for all of their help and hard work! You can also ask if they will hand out your welcome bags for free or are willing to allow you space to have a post wedding brunch! Oftentimes, hotels may be willing to do this if your wedding reception is booked at the same hotel and most of your guests book there. Maybe the hotel will even keep the bar open late for your after party! It certainly can’t hurt to ask!
Should I try to negotiate with the hotel? Why not? Once again, it can’t hurt to try or ask. If you are planning on negotiating, make sure you ask to speak with a manager. Sales people aren’t always allowed to negotiate. Make sure you are polite, but firm. You want to keep your and your guest’s best interests in mind; the hotel, on the other hand, will keep their bottom line in mind. In order to keep your business, however, they may be willing to bend a bit!
In order to be prepared when you speak with a hotel associate about booking your room block, have some of these questions in mind:
- Is there a minimum number of rooms you have to block?
- Will my guests receive a discount of some sort for booking within the room block?
- What will the end rate be (with taxes and fees) per night?
- If all rooms become booked, is it possible to open up more rooms with the discount?
- Do I need to put down a deposit? How much does it cost?
- What is the cutoff date for reservations?
- Is there a penalty if rooms remain after the cutoff date?
- Are we responsible if a guest cancels their reservation? And are we responsible if there are additional charges incurred in the room due to damage, mini bar, etc.?
- Can my guests book online or do they have to call to receive the discount?
- Will reservations be accepted after the cutoff date at the discounted rate, pending availability?
- Do you offer courtesy room blocks? If so, what is your room number maximum to receive this benefit?
- Will all of these room be in the same area of the hotel?
- Who will be my point of contact for the room block. Who can I talk to if there is any sort of issue?
- Will you alert me when someone reserves in the room block?
- Will I be alerted if all of the rooms are booked?
- Is parking included in the rate or will that be an additional charge for my guests?
- Can I drop off welcome bags for your staff to hand out when a guest in the block checks in? And, is there a charge for this service?
- Are there any standard amenities? This may include breakfast, shuttles, wifi, etc.
Happy hotel hunting everyone!