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    Tips and Terminology Related to Wedding Room Blocks

    By Alexis Garhammer

    When planning a wedding or another important event, you may have guests arrive from out of town for the occasion. If so, you or your planners should set up a room block as a courtesy for your guests. Before doing this, it helps to have a general understanding of some of the industry terms you might hear.

    Contracted Room Block

    A contracted room block is an agreement made between you and the hotel in which the hotel provides a special rate and number of rooms over specific dates. You, the client, are financially responsible for meeting a revenue minimum from your guests’ room reservations. This is a good option if you know a large number your guests will be needing overnight accommodations.

    Courtesy Block

    A hotel may offer a courtesy block in lieu of a contracted room block. Courtesy blocks provide a special rate for you and your guests, but do not guarantee a specific number of rooms. This is a good option if you won’t have many guests visiting from out of town and if you don’t want to be responsible for meeting a minimum number of rooms or revenue.

    Attrition

    Applicable to contracted room blocks, attrition is the percentage a hotel will allow you to go below your contracted terms should you not meet the minimum revenue.

    With these terms in mind, below are some factors to consider.

    If you know you’ll need a lot of guest rooms for your out-of-town arrivals, consider what events are happening in the area before finalizing your wedding date, if at all possible. Hotel rates and availability will be greatly impacted by major concerts and conventions in town. For example, Claremont Club & Spa is located just steps from the UC Berkeley Campus, and we often sell out for events like graduation weekend and home football games.

    Think about your guests’ needs when choosing a hotel or hotels. Consider travel time to your wedding venue (if not getting married at the hotel), convenience to airports, on-property amenities (pools, spas, and restaurants are great things for your guests to have access to for down time), and proximity to local attractions. Many guests will want to utilize the trip as an opportunity to see the destination, in addition to celebrating you.

    Read the contract! It sounds silly, but it’s important to understand what you’re being held responsible for. Are you on the hook for 5 rooms on Friday and 10 rooms on Saturday? The last thing you or the hotel wants is an unexpected cost days before your wedding. Thankfully, we have a dedicated sales manager who handles wedding and social room blocks, so he can walk you through this entire process and ensure you are comfortable with the contract before signing.

    Once you’ve finalized the group room block, ensure your guests are utilizing it to make their reservations, versus their making individual reservations on the website of the hotel or via another hotel booking site. Your sales manager will provide you with a personalized link or group room block name that guests will need to use or reference when making their reservations. Your personalized wedding website, save-the-dates, and invitation cards are great ways to communicate this information. It’s also important for you and your guests to be mindful of the reservation cut-off date to ensure availability and rate guarantees.

    Note: It’s also important to know that every hotel handles room blocks differently. For example, not all hotels offer courtesy blocks, and attrition can vary from property to property. Knowing the basics and what questions to ask will help you to find the right hotel for you and your guests.

    Alexis Garhammer, CWP, is the Social Catering Manager at Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel. Garhammer handles all weddings, fundraisers and social events at the iconic Oakland Hills property. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, she began her event career in Chicago where she gained experience planning a range of events from corporate dinners to galas. She is now a Certified Wedding Professional specializing in weddings in the East Bay.

     

    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events (http://sullivanbotelloevents.com) and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , www.snbpartyrentals.com). Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.