Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stay with the hotel block we reserved!

Planning this wedding would be so much easier if I lived in the state. Not just in the southern part. Florida period. For starters, it requires you to do a lot of extra planning – because now you have to plan to plan. All vendor meetings (if you want to meet them in person) need to be set up significantly far in advance so as to make personal travel arrangements, accommodate different vendor schedules, and make the most of your time in the destination city. You’ve all seen my posts from when I go home…my trips usually end up being this crazy wedding whirlwind that require me to take some time off from the wedding to pick up where my sanity dropped off.

But anyway, today I’m going to let you in on one of my planning secrets.

This site single handedly saved me and MamaP an unfathomable amount of time when it was time to block out hotel rooms for our out of town guests. This was on March's list, and we were able to easily get this worked out while I was home for Spring Break.

How it works is that after you register with the site, you set up an event. An event is simply a way of saying "Hey, I need hotel rooms for my people." The site asks some basic questions about the event - where the event will be, the occasion for the bookings (e.g. wedding, family reunion), how many nights, how many rooms you'd like to block and approximately what you'd like to spend. Then you wait for the hotels to come to you. That's the beauty of this site. No calling around to see what rates they'll offer and what the terms of the block would be.

Area hotels will respond to your rate (some within about 20 minutes) explaining the rate they are willing to give you and what the conditions are of the rate. For example, almost all of them require that you book by a certain date. Many will allow you to tack on extra days before or after the event at the same rate. Some require that a percentage of your rooms be booked, and others require a deposit. Its up to you to determine what conditions you are willing to live with. We knew that we didn't want to pay a deposit, but that we would be willing to live with committing to filling up a percentage of the room blocks if it was a hotel that we really wanted to use.

So after reviewing the bids, declining those that are not good fits for the event (Boca Raton, Jupiter? hello...downtown West Palm Beach please), we narrowed the list down to three hotels that we were interested in discussing further. At this point, the site provides you with an opportunity to email the hotel sales manager directly through the site, AND provides you with that persons full set of contact information (name, address, telephone, and email) in case they do not contact you before you are ready to contact them. Was this built for over-achiever brides or what?

After establishing contact, the next step I took was to set up several hotel visits. I don't believe this part is required. If you're okay with the pictures and reviews of the hotels online, the sales manager will likely email you the contract, you sign and fax it back in, and they send you the discount code/instructions to pass along to your guests. Then you are free to disseminate it however you want. I'm putting it on our wedding website.

However, if you decide you want to see the hotel before committing, you can set up visits. While there, the sales manager will likely give you a tour, offer you some snacks (or cookies), show you the amenities, and discuss what your plans for pursuing the block might be. Despite this not costing you any money, this is still a sales contract for them and they try to make the best impression. None of the sales managers we met with were pressuring us for the block. One sales manager and I particularly hit it off because were about the same age, and she's getting married in May. Bridget (yup, totally on a first name basis) even wanted to see our website and my lil ol blog :)

At this point, its on you. If you want to move forward with the room block, you can let them know. Like I mentioned before, you'll have to sign the contract, return it, and then will be given the discount code/instructions to pass along to your guests. If after touring, you decide the block is not for you, you can go into the site and decline the bid. If you do not do anything, someone from will probably contact you asking what you decided to do. I wasn't expecting that, but it was legit.

Overall, I had an awesome experience with It was extremely user friendly, and I love how I felt like I saved so much time! I highly recommend you check out for any of your event-planning needs.

I'm going to go all soap-operatic and save sharing our decision for for tomorrow's post (unless of course you've visited our wedding website already). That's okay, right?

Great. See you then!


  1. Patti, I know I don't even know you and Stace has already booked you for the future, but I'm gonna need you to write a wedding how-to/to-do list with the best tips and I really think this is one of them.

  2. Thanks for the advice. I think this would make a great addition to wedding websites, especially if you expect a lot of out of town guests.




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