Room Block Tips with Jessica Upton
One of the most important details that goes into planning your big day is ensuring that your guests have an overall incredible experience from beginning to end. With family + friends traveling from different cities, states, and even countries - it is vital to be proactive about blocking off rooms to make sure they feel cared for and taken care of when coming into town!
Our friend Jessica Upton, Founder and Luxury Travel Advisor of J.Upton Travel, has put together a list of helpful tips and pieces of advice to help make this process everything it's supposed to be! Here are some of her nuggets of knowledge and gold below!
Step 1 -
Have an informed conversation- Discuss with your partner, both of your families and the wedding party what area they would want to stay, how much they feel comfortable spending and how long they’d like to stay. Getting this core information will help you through the next steps.
Step 2 -
Research- After deciding on a specific area, do some research to find out what the going rate is for hotels in that area so you have a general idea of which ones may be good options for your guests.
Step 3 -
Reach out to hotels- You can either call the hotel directly and ask to speak with the Sales Manager that handles wedding room blocks, or fill out an RFP (request for proposal) on the hotel’s website. They will ask you approximately how many rooms you will need, and how many nights, so that early conversation from step 1, will be very helpful with this stage.
Step 4 -
Request a contract and thoroughly review it- Once you’ve compared what each hotel has to offer, request a contract for review. Make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions! You can get into a large financial commitment quite quickly without even realizing it, if you don’t read your contract closely.
Step 5 -
Negotiate- Depending on how sought after your dates are, and how large of a block of rooms you need, your negotiating power will vary. You can ask for things like free or discounted parking, discounted amenity delivery fees, discounted suites for the couple or parents, etc.
Step 6 -
Sign and share- Once you feel comfortable with the contract terms, sign and lock in the room block. Typically within a week the hotel will provide you with an online booking link. Add this link to your wedding website so your guests can begin booking their reservations.
Step 7 -
Remind your guests to book their reservations at least two weeks prior to the cut off date listed in your wedding room block contract.
Set up two room blocks; one at a higher price point and one at a lower, so you have a range of room pricing options for all of your guests. I do not recommend setting up blocks at more than two hotels, especially if you’re providing transportation for your guests, as this greatly complicates the logistics.
If you’re providing transportation for your guests from the hotel to the wedding venue, make sure you’re aware of any specific requirements made by the hotel. For example, the front driveway leading to the hotel entrance may not be large enough for a large bus, so the hotel may require the bus to be parked on a side street, in which case you’ll need to communicate that information to all of your guests and the transportation company.
Work with a professional that is experienced with managing wedding room blocks! Whether that’s your wedding planner or a travel agency that specializes in destination wedding travel management like, J Upton Travel, having a professional guide you through the process and do all the legwork for you, can not only save you time, but can also save you money. They likely have relationships with the hotel sales staff and can leverage those relationships on your behalf to get you the best terms for your group.
As you can see, there are many steps and tips to help with room blocking! Following these pieces of advice will be vital in making the planning process a little easier, while ensuring your guests have an incredible experience from the moment they get into town!
Photographer // Carhart Photography