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Monday, August 30, 2010

Do you know how to set-up a hotel block ?

If you and your fiancée are planning on having a decent number of out of town guests at your wedding, they are probably going to need a place to stay. And while making arrangements for your great-aunt Lucy to stay on your mother-in-laws couch is cost effective, it is not the most comfortable. The solution: Block off rooms at a local hotel! To do this, you must first figure out approximately how many guests/rooms you think you will need. The hotel can normally give you an estimate with your number of out of town guests. Then, you meet with the hotel to 'block off' the rooms. Normally, the rooms will be blocked under a certain name (normally your last name) and then the individual guest would call to reserve a room within that block. After that, your guest will pay for and have the luxury of his/her own room.

Be sure to check prices online before you call or meet with the hotel. Some hotels will give you a 'group rate' that is actually no better then their normal rate. If the hotel does not offer a discounted rate, I would not book with them.

Another point is that some people will assume that because you have a "block" of rooms that they will all be in the same area of the hotel. This is not usually the case. If this is important to you, be sure to request this in advance, they may or may not be able to accommodate your request. As well, try to negotiate a flexible cancellation policy for you guest, since you never know when an emergency may come up and someone has to cancel.

Depending on the hotel, and the time of year (i.e. busy season vs. slow season), the hotel will normally give you a "release date". After this day, that the rooms will no longer be held at your special rate, and will be put back into general inventory. This usually happens a month ahead of the wedding. A flexible hotel will usually add rooms if you run out before the release date as long as there is still availability at the hotel.

Finally, be sure to read the contract well, and make sure there are no hidden surprises!

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