Thursday, June 10, 2010

hotel room blocks

One of the next things on my to do list is booking the hotel room blocks. I've been dragging my feet with this one because there is a bit of a debate on which hotels to book. One argument is location, the other is price. Of course I do not want my guests to pay an astronomical amount on hotel rooms for our wedding, but location is also a big deal. One thing is constant - it is about a 10 minute drive from almost all of the local hotels to our wedding venue. For our rehearsal dinner*, however, the downtown hotels are within walking distance. I prefer this, especially for our wedding party/younger friends, because people can drink to their hearts' content and not worry about having to find a ride back to their hotel. The downtown hotels also allow guests to explore the university, shops, restaurants, etcetera - all without having to worry about finding/paying for a parking spot. BUT, the downtown hotels are significantly more expensive.

So, I've come up with a solution. The least expensive hotels are on the west side of town. We'll choose one hotel in that area to block off rooms, one hotel midway between the west side and downtown, and one hotel downtown. On our wedding website I will include the following map I created, which includes our venues, blocked hotels, and all the other local hotels listed in case any guests wish to book a room somewhere else. Guests can decide for themselves whether they'd like to spend or save, drive or walk. Group transportation to the wedding venue is something I'll deal with later (ugh).

View Hotels in a larger map**

Now before I start blocking off rooms, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a list of questions. Here they are, with help from a post I read on weddingbee:
  • Is there a room block set up fee?
  • How many rooms can be booked?
  • Can we add more rooms to the block if we start running out?
  • Do you charge a fee for unbooked rooms?
  • Is there a group discount rate? If there is no group discount rate, do you offer any other discounts such as AAA or military?
  • What are the rates for different types of rooms?
  • Can you block our guests near each other?
  • Is there a deadline for when rooms need to be booked by our guests?
  • Is there a minimum night stay requirement?
  • Is breakfast included?
  • Do you charge an OOT guest bag fee? Are OOT bags delivered to guests' rooms or handed out at the front desk?
  • Do you have a shuttle? Can we use it the night of the wedding to shuttle people to/from our venue? Is there an extra fee for this service?
What was your experience like booking hotel room blocks? Are there any questions I'm forgetting to ask?

*We haven't actually booked this yet, so I'm going off of our ideal location. Even if we don't end up going with this place, our rehearsal dinner will most likely be someplace downtown.
**I LOVE Google maps. If you click on any of the hotel markers, you'll see that I included driving distances/times to each of our venues.

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