10 Tips for Booking a Block of Rooms
By Stephanie Butler, Leanne Cynor, and Lisa Goodwin, Hampton Inn Chippewa Falls
With so many wedding details to take care of, one you want to be sure not to overlook is booking a block of rooms at a hotel. Stephanie Butler, Leanne Cynor, and Lisa Goodwin from the Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Hampton Inn hospitality team offer their room-booking tips.
1. Review the benefits of blocking rooms. Encouraging several, if not all, out of town guests to stay at the same hotel has several benefits. A discounted room rate is a big one, but there are other benefits too. “Even more special is the opportunity to extend the together time for friends and family who may not often have the chance to be together,” Stephanie Butler notes. “Having breakfast with all the cousins at our family table is something our groups enjoy.” With this in mind, book rooms that are close to each other within the hotel, allowing people to visit more with each other.
2. Tour each hotel you are considering. Be sure you understand what is included in each facility’s wedding room package. Is there a shuttle? If so, verify the cost and the schedule. Is this hotel within a good price range for your guests? Is there a pool? Is complimentary breakfast or a restaurant available?
3. Choose a hotel that provides a website just for your wedding. Hampton Inn offers this service, which allows you to create and personalize a group website for your wedding. Guests may book online 24/7, using the rate specific to your event. This website is great for sharing details about the wedding with guests, and you can upload your own photographs too.
4. Estimate how many rooms to book. First, include anyone in your wedding party that does not live locally. Second, add 10 percent of everyone else you invited.
5. Consider what types of rooms to book. Look through your guest list. If more guests are families, double queen rooms are preferable. Remember to add a few handicap-accessible rooms for elderly guests or others who may need them who are traveling to the wedding. It’s nice to include a suite for the bride’s and the groom’s parents.
6. Book ahead. Generally it is a good idea to book the rooms eight to eighteen months ahead of the wedding. “The most popular hotels book up the earliest, so look for your hotel as soon as you book your venue,” says Butler.
7. Motivate your guests to book. “We encourage couples to have guests reserve rooms as early as possible so that, if more rooms are needed, the chances of getting additional inventory are more favorable,” the team recommends. Post booking information on your customized wedding website. Include booking details, or a link to the website, on your “save the date” cards. Make guests aware of the limited number of rooms blocked for the event and what the cut-off date is to reserve one of the rooms. Remind them that booking early ensures they will get the type of room they prefer at the special rate. Enlist them to book early to help you have a better idea of how many people will be attending the wedding, to help your planning process.
8. Reserve other needed facilities at the hotel. Hampton Inn Chippewa Falls has a roughly 600-square-foot room ideal for a bridal shower, a gathering area for the immediate family, or a gift-opening Sunday morning. This room is available on a first-come, first-booked basis. Rental fees for the room may be waived depending on how many rooms in your block end up reserved.
9. Understand check-in and check-out times. Then let your guests know, along with any related policies.
10. Find out what payment methods are accepted. Then make sure your guests are aware of this, as many hotels no longer accept cash and debit cards are not very hotel-friendly.