With about 106 days until the BIG DAY (but who's counting) I'm finding myself bogged down with some tasks that aren't as fun as I'd hoped. With insurance out of the way, my next dreaded task– room blocks. Both Eric & I's families are from Iowa, so room blocks are an important thing to get in place. We have some family members staying for longer periods of time (up to a week), some with children, some single, etc., etc. The most logical arrangement seems to be to have one block of suite-style rooms to accommodate those who may need a little more space, and a block of regular rooms for others. After a LOT of back and forth with too many hotels, we almost have everything buttoned up.
Before digging in, I found a couple of great articles that I would highly suggest reading that I have listed below. I then decided what area we wanted guests to be in, then made a list of the hotels that I thought were options. Before talking about blocks with each, I gathered regular rates for May to use for comparison. We've settled on a block of suite-style rooms at a Hyatt Place hotel ($119 each), and are still working on locking in a block for our single/double rooms.
Here's what I've learned so far:
Our venue doesn't have many hotels super close by, so we've elected to have guests stay in the Opryland area. It's convenient to the airport, restaurants/shopping, close to our home and the rehearsal dinner, other entertainment, and traffic can be less confusing or overwhelming for out-of-towners. The drive to the venue will be a little longer, but we're working out some transportation options, which I'll discuss in a later post when I have more information.
With the wedding date already set, there's still importance in researching your wedding date, even if it's as simple as typing “May 12, 2012 Nashville, TN” into a search engine. In our case, May 12 happens to be the date of Vanderbilt University's graduation, as well as Steeplechase– both are very popular happenings in our area. I wish I would have realized this even sooner than I did, as it puts pressure on prices and availability for rooms, the rehearsal dinner venue, and many other things.
Living in a tourist destination, May is when tourism starts to pick up. Being a BSB, I of course wanted a good bang for my buck and think we did okay, but there was more to take into consideration with the dates we're dealing with. I tried to not ONLY weigh cost, but also what the room rate included, such as breakfast, parking, airport transportation, hotel bar, etc.
As always, do your homework and read carefully. If you're not familiar with the lingo, ask someone who is, or research. Some contracts may contain attrition clauses that make you responsible for covering the cost of unused rooms, or a percentage of unused rooms– I really suggest avoiding this and reading closely. In our case, there was a clause to cover 80% of unused rooms in the block under 28 nights booked (each room each night counts as “one night”). With a little talking, we were able to cut this down, but also have a few days before our official cut-off date where unused rooms can be dropped without penalty. In other words, if we're under 28 nights at three days before the cut-off and five rooms are left, I can drop those five rooms and pay nothing.
Articles to check out:
GroupTravel.org, “What Are The Key Ingredients In A Hotel Room Block Contract For A Wedding?”