One of the biggest tasks that plagued me during this wedding planning process has been figuring out how to block hotel rooms for your guests. The concept seemed easy, but what if your wedding is on a Wednesday? What if 90% of your guests are from out of town? What if you don’t know how many people will RSVP? What if you don’t know how long they will want to stay? So I did what any modern bride would do: I Googled it. No such luck. Apparently everyone else has wedding planners for these sorts of world problems and I was SOL. And the stress was really starting to weigh on me because relatives were already starting to call my parents in January [!!] asking where to stay in twelve months. So I had to figure this out, and I had to do it quickly.
Disclaimer: I want to go ahead and point out that this post is not an advertisement for anyone, I’m just simply passing along what worked best for me!
I came across this website called HotelPlanner.com where you can fill out a form stating your city, the number of rooms you’ll need, the number of hotels you’d like to block, the price range you’d like to stay in, along with any ammenities you’re interested in [free wi-fi, airport shuttles, continental breakfast, etc.]
- It asks for the peak number of rooms, and knowing that at the most we’ll have 140 guests, and knowing that about 40 people won’t be needing a hotel because they live within driving distance, I concluded that we’d need about 50 rooms [2 people per room = 100 guests].
- This is where you can say whether or not you’d like to split your guests among a couple hotels. We decided to do this because let’s face it, not everyone can afford the same hotel. So we decided to split our hotel blocking between four hotels: a high, medium-high, medium-low, and low price per night.
- Here I chose “each room will be different” that way our guests can choose between two double beds or one king bed, since some of our guests have children and some are just couples.
- I chose a 2-4 star rating so that I could have a broad spectrum of hotels that still fell within our price range.
- The average hotel in San Antonio is about $100 per night so capping out at $150 would help add in some of those higher end hotels our frequent flyer guests can use with their “miles” or corporate discounts.
- This box pops up once you put in your max price to ensure that your max price and star quality line up. For example, a hotel in New York City for $100 would probably not be a 3 star hotel.
- We decided to block out the entire week of our wedding so that our guests could come just for one night or make a weeklong vacation out of it.
- I left this part blank because I didn’t want to narrow down my options too much.
- Our venue is on the Riverwalk so our only requirement was that all of our guests could walk everywhere, and be picked up/dropped off at the airport since most of them who are flying in won’t have vehicles.
Once you submit this form then every hotel meeting your requirements [plus a bunch that don't.. annoying] will start bidding on your request and will appear on a master list. You also have the option to have these bids emailed to you, but I opted out of that since a lot of them clearly didn’t meet our requirements so it felt more like spam. Each bid will look a little something like this:
It will list the name, address, group rate, policies, special offers, and when the offer expires. The biggest thing I looked for was location, and whether or not we’d be responsible to pay for any unused rooms. Since we had no idea how many people would require rooms each night, hotels with this policy were the only option for us. Once you recieve a bid you can click Hotel Info and a page like this will appear:
I then started narrowing them down by price, and amenities based on what I had read, and came up with our four hotels. As soon as I had them chosen I clicked Contact Hotel and immediatley was put in contact with the hotel managers. They each had me fill out forms per their hotel’s requirements, and sign a letter of agreement. Then they sent me a special link and phone number for our guests to use to book under our block. Easy peasy!
We can also keep track of which guests have booked rooms at each hotels and for how long. This is perfect for us so that we can know who to prepare welcome baskets for. [More on that later!] Do any of you know of a easy hotel blocking website? I don’t know why I thought organizing this part was going to be the end of the world, it really ended up being a piece of cake! And speaking of cake, we’re having a tasting this Saturday which we couldn’t be more thrilled about. Details soon!