Destination Wedding 101: Reserving a Room Block
Everything you need to know about reserving a room block (aka contract) versus a flexible group for your destination wedding.
After you secured your wedding date at the resort of your choice, the next thing you need to do is reserve your destination wedding room block. You want to make it easy for your guests by reserving enough rooms and locking in the low rates so you don’t have to worry about guests price hunting to book a room. Send them to one place to book their room to make it easy on everyone. A group contract (aka room block) can be scary, but I promise you it’s not!
It is necessary to understand what a group contract is and what the benefits are before you sign on the dotted line. Any group traveling together for any type of occasion or event can qualify. The most common types of groups are destination weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, friends getaway, or multi generational family trips. The amount of guests and/or rooms you’re expecting will help determine which route to take.
Here are the key differences of a group contract and a flexible group:
GROUP CONTRACTS (AKA ROOM BLOCK)
A group contract or a room block requires signing a contract to hold 10 or more rooms. Sometimes you can get a contract for 6, but the industry standard is 10 rooms.
- The rates are secure and cannot increase giving you and your guests time to book and pay on their trip. The travel dates are typically for a 7 day time frame.
- Guests place a minimum deposit to secure the room (typically around $100 – $250 per person)
- One small deposit to secure the rooms
- Comped rooms – each resort brand has their own set of rules, but for the most part you can receive every 6th or 11th room free. Approximately 30 days prior to departure, you will know the amount of the comp. You can either apply it to your wedding/group or receive it back as a refund to your credit card.
- Receive group benefits at no additional cost These are typically a private VIP check-in, free room upgrades, private dinner or other events. Each resort has their own group benefits.
- Every contract has attrition, meaning you must abide by the dates to release unused rooms by a specific date or you could be charged for them. I make sure we release rooms for all my groups well ahead of this date to avoid this from happening.
- You can make modifications to a reservation (without air included) without a fee. For example, if a guest cannot attend a wedding and they found a replacement to go, then we can certainly make the name change. If you need to change dates, you can do that as well, as long as there is availability.
- If a room cancels, there could be a fee associated with that room cancellation.
This is a great alternative to a group contract if you a small group travel of at least 5 rooms. You can still receive some group benefits of a contract without having to put down a deposit to hold rooms and avoid attrition dates. This is what you need to know about flexible groups:
- You cannot hold rooms, which means rooms cannot be guaranteed for all your guests.
- No deposit required, except the individual reservation itself.
- Must guarantee a minimum of at least 5 rooms
- Rates can fluctuate since you’re not holding any space. This means, each guest could be paying different amounts.
- Can receive a discount per room reservation ranging from $50 – $225 depending on the total cost of the reservation (per individual reservation)
- No penalty’s other than having to guarantee 5 rooms. Only penalties on individual booking, not the group as a whole.
- Receive group benefits (as listed above), but must still meet the minimum room requirements. Most require 10 rooms or more to receive the group benefits.
That wasn’t so scary now was it?! A Destination Wedding Room Block is much easier than you think!
If you are having a larger group of 10 or more rooms, then I recommend going with a group contract. Ultimately, you will save money in the long run and receive more benefits with a contract versus a flexible group.
I know the penalties of a group contract can be scary, but I monitor all these dates and ensure my couples don’t run into any issues. I release rooms not booked a month or two prior to the penalty date.
If you are ready to book your rooms and need guidance, look not further. I can help you with a room block (aka contract) for your destination wedding. Contact me here and we can get started!
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