Many couples hosting a wedding have guests coming from out of town, or even local guests who want to make a weekend of it. Booking room blocks at a hotel (or two) can help ensure your guests are able to find nearby accommodations – as hotels tend to sell out especially in the busy summer and fall seasons.
What’s a room block? It’s an arrangement with a hotel that secures and guarantees room availability for your guests.
According to Kathy Hitchings, General Manager at the Essex Street Inn in Newburyport, clients can book room blocks as far as 18 months out from their event (at some hotels, this number is 12 months). “Rates are quoted based on our current rack rates with up to a 10 percent discount,” says Kathy. “Guests may also be eligible for other discounts, such as AARP, AAA or military.”
The Essex Street Inn offers courtesy blocks, which means it does not require any upfront deposits until a set release date, which is typically 45 days prior to the event date. “If a group chooses to drop any unreserved rooms on that date, they don’t pay anything for those rooms,” Kathy explains. “We release them back to general inventory and sell them ourselves. If they want to continue the hold, those rooms are subject to a 10 percent non-refundable deposit to continue the hold up to seven days prior to the event date.”
Kathy recommends putting 2-3 room types in your block, to meet guests’ varying budgets.
It's common for hotels to ask clients to sign a contract for a room block. Some may even ask for a deposit. Pay careful attention to the release date and release any unreserved rooms by that date in order to avoid fees.
Reserving a room block also comes with the option to arrange for welcome bags for your guests. Typically, clients can deliver them to the hotel front desk on arrival day, and the hotel takes care of getting them to guest rooms.
Essex Street Inn is one of several local inns and hotels that Bradstreet clients have loved!
For other questions about room blocks, reach out to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.