Photo courtesy of Jeremy Biggers Photography
Do you have a slew of out of town guests? It’s quite common to see a guest list composed primarily of family and friends traveling to Dallas for the wedding. One of the first items on your to do list should be to consider guest accommodations, so that people can begin booking their travel! Ideally, you would want any sort of accommodation information on your website ready to go before sending out the save the date.
By and large, this means putting together hotel blocks. We have seen an uptick in couples renting Air BnB or similar VRBO properties for family or the wedding party, but the availability of large properties able to accommodate several families depends on the housing market near your venue.
Photo courtesy of Miranda Marrs Photography
When considering hotels, it’s worth thinking about the following items!
- Location: Does it make the most sense for guests to be close to the church, the reception venue, or your home? This usually depends on what, if any, non-wedding day activities you have planned. Also consider driving times and whether or not alcohol consumption is likely to be an issue by the end of the night.
- Awards Programs: Some people are fiercely loyal to a particular brand or chain so as to continue gathering points or awards under a specific loyalty program. If you decide to offer two options, consider splitting them across different chains or at least confirming one property is a nationwide brand.
- Wedding Night Accommodations: Are you and your partner planning on staying at a local hotel the night of your wedding? If so, think about where you want to be, and whether or not you want that to be the same property as the rest of your guests. Often a hotel will offer a discounted rate or complimentary suite for the couple’s wedding night.
- Price Points: Be sensitive to the fact that your guests will come from different economic perspectives when booking hotels. Again, if considering two properties, think about offering one higher priced, nicer establishment and one lower priced, comfortable establishment.
Photo courtesy of Kylie Crump Photography
When you begin speaking with hotels about blocks, you will hear two different options.
Option 1 – The Courtesy Rate
Courtesy rates are the easiest and least constraining version of a hotel ‘block’. Depending on the hotel these may take the form of a specific number of reserved rooms for guests, or it may just be an across-the-board discount on standard room rates for wedding guests. In general, though, the tough thing about a courtesy rate is that the hotel is helping you out as a courtesy. They guarantee nothing. So if the hotel oversells rooms, or has a convention come in and try to buy out the hotel, then your ‘block’ may disappear. On the plus side, you can easily create courtesy blocks at multiple hotels, and there are no penalties if the rooms are not booked.
Photo courtesy of Ben Q Photography
Option 2 – The Contracted Rate
With a contracted rate, you will be entering into a formal agreement with the hotel, guaranteeing that your guests will book a certain number of rooms per night. If these rooms are not booked before the deadline indicated in the contract, then the signatory is financially responsible. So, for example, if you contract for 10 rooms per night for 2 nights, and only book 5 rooms each night, you will have to pay for 10 room nights to make up the difference. A contracted rate is super if you know that you can fill a certain number of rooms. Once those are booked, you can usually add more rooms to the block for additional bookings. The bonus of a contracted rate is that you usually get a much lower rate than you would with a courtesy rate.