Negotiating Accommodations for the Destination Wedding | Secrets Used by Wedding Planning Pros
Your destination dream wedding location is set and now it is time for negotiating accommodations for your destination wedding. When hosting a destination wedding, your guest’s comfort should always be paramount and many brides decide to do a room block for their guests at their wedding location to add further convenience for their guests. But did you also know that securing a block of hotel rooms can also often mean further negotiating power for your event? Here are some do’s and don’ts used by leading wedding planning pros when tactfully navigating the waters of negotiating room blocks for your wedding guests.
Ask what the minimum number of rooms necessary to form a “block” is. It may range from 5 to 20 or more and then ask what the rate is per room for that block. Make sure you get all restrictions (deadlines for booking, what’s included- taxes, resort fees, etc.). Most hotels are happy to offer a discount off the published “rack” rate of overnight accommodations when a block is secured along with an event. Guests who stay at the hotel will also be utilizing the hotel’s restaurants and amenities in addition to the wedding revenue provided by the bride, so room block discounts are very common.
Ask the hotel who is responsible for paying for the block. Some hotels require that the bride pay for the entire block in advance; however, more standard is that the bride use her credit card to “hold” the number of rooms for the block and then the guests call in individually to book and pay for their rooms. If the rooms block is not used up by a certain date, the hotel will release the rest of the unbooked rooms for general purchase to the public and the bride will not be held responsible for any unbooked rooms. But make sure you ask – each hotel is different.
Make sure if your guests are booking rooms under a block on their own that they a) use the reference number for the block given by the hotel and b) are given the deadline date by which they must reserve and c) that they are responsible for all taxes, resort fees, incidentals, parking and more as applicable (if the bride is not paying for any of this). Surprising guests with last minute fees is never a welcome “gift” and whatever you have worked out for your guests, just make sure it is communicated in advance and thoroughly so everyone knows who is paying for what.
Ask about the hotel’s policy on offering a reduced rate for your wedding site fee or other special perks (complimentary stay for wedding night or honeymoon for bride and groom) and incentives with a minimum number of accommodations booked. Many properties will work with you on wedding-related fees and specialty services for your wedding if you book a minimum number of hotel rooms.
Be flexible- if the destination wedding location can offer you up to 50% off your wedding and guest accommodations if you are flexible to moving your wedding to an off-season or weekday, consider it and spend your money on a longer honeymoon!
Always speak to your destination wedding location planner or catering director with courtesy and respect. Remember, they will be handling one of the most important days of your life and with the logistics involved for you and your guests, the last thing you need is someone handling your day whom you have irritated, insulted and is not your advocate. Remember, they hear from all kinds of people 24/7/365. If you can set yourself apart as someone who is empathetic to them, their job demands, long work hours and the diversity of clients that they handle, you will do far more to earn the respect of someone who will probably go above and beyond for you the entire planning process and especially on your wedding day.
Demand a discount or “expect” reduced fees for anything related to your destination wedding.
Throw around how much money you are spending at their location and therefore “deserve” something from them.
Wait until the last minute to ask about a room block. They may be sold out or not able to offer you any blocks or special rates if you wait too long.