Let’s talk group room blocks! Ok, ok, I know it’s not as fun as choosing between a private island resort or one that has an over-the-water chapel, but it has to be done – so you might as well learn the nuts and bolts from a seasoned travel professional specialized in destination wedding group planning. (ahem, that would be me!)
I cringe when I see bad advice in forums from couples that don’t truly understand the ins and outs of the resort wedding process (and why would they? It’s not their job and life’s work to know these things, after all). However, I’ve seen a lot of people who have unfortunately had poor experiences commenting to other couples that they “would never do that again” and offering unrealistic advice to others.
This well-intentioned misguidance is usually related to one or more of the following:
- Let's Cut to the Chase. -
Those of you who are positive that you will only travel with an intimate group of loved ones and won’t be booking anymore than 5 rooms – feel free to skim along if you want to continue, but you won’t need a room block contract, so don’t need to spend too much time analyzing the information below.
The Breakdown: You should know exactly what a contracted room block is.
For a traditional contracted room block, the happy couple will lock-in a block of rooms at discounted rates that their guests can then book into. You’re essentially reserving rooms ahead of time; curating your own little VIP hotel within the hotel.
Resorts vary their definition on how many rooms you need to be considered “a group”, and this can range from just 6 paid rooms to 15 rooms. These contracts are a great way to guarantee rooms at the resort and the price, so your guests won’t have to worry about the resort selling out or fluctuation in pricing. Oh, and room blocks usually come with perks if you meet the requirements - and who doesn’tlove a good freebie, upgrade and/or a bit of VIP love?!
Still Not Sure If You Want a Room Block?
What a lot of avid travelers don’t realize, is that corporate groups and other weddings or group events can also be happening at the same time as your wedding, so available space can quickly change if another event locks in a group contract and reserves those rooms for their group. Sadly, once the inventory is gone, there is nothing that any travel advisor or supplier can do about it.
Are You STILL Unsure About Room Blocks?
One of the most important reasons to have secured group space is to protect you and your group fromunforeseen events that may affect your travel plans.
Most recently, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on millions of travelers forcing wedding couples and their guests to reschedule.
Most of the horror stories you probably heard were likely related to:
Room Blocks and Resort Closures
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to deal with a resort closing right before your 113 person wedding group was about to depart for the big event! Okay... now... multiple times?? Trust me, it’s not fun, but there are ways to mitigate the impact on you and your guests – and a good travel advisor knows how towork with you to achieve the best outcome in the worst circumstances.
I’ve had to move wedding groups for resort closures due to:
As a specialist in group travel, when you have a contracted room block with a reputable supplier, it can be a seamless process to the couple and their guests, as we work behind the scenes to move the entire group and the money over to a new property.
Booking direct on your own or through an online website, or worse yet, using an agent that does either of those things – means that each guest is responsible to handle those changes, and often times must pay for a whole new stay, then just wait for a refund to be processed for the original booking.
To add frustration to the fire, if you’ve booked directly with the property and run into situations like this, you’ll probably have to navigate local currency exchanges, language barriers, overseas customer service departments (and wait times get really old, really fast), and/or the fact that the resort had to shut down and doesn’t have the staff to help. On top of all that – every one of your guests will have the SAME problem and no one to turn to for help – which means, they’ll probably turn to you.
You’ll have a lot of other changes you’ll need to reorganize with re-planning an entire wedding, soeliminating the worry about your guests travel plans, money and anxiety, will be a weight lifted in a rather upsetting time. Let a professional take care of everything and handle the logistics to take some of that pressure away.
Nope, I Still Don’t See the Need For a Room Block.
Two things I’ve learned over the last 11 years, is that you don’t tempt fate and that famous last words are famous for a reason. But alright, you don’t want a room block, so let me at least give you a tip.
One of the very first things you should do - really, when you are selecting your resort – is to find out as soon as possible, what your options are (if there are any) if the resort sells out before your guests reserve a room.
Most all-inclusive resorts will offer a day/night pass, that you can purchase for guests staying at a different resort so that they can attend the wedding ceremony or reception – however day passesoften have significant restrictions, including but not limited to:
I Think I Promised You Some Fun Stuff...
Now the boring logic talk is over… it’s all about PERKS!!!! The happy nearlyweds that decide to move forward with a group room block are in for a treat – or 10!
Resorts love organized people, they love happy people, and they love when guests leave their resort and tell everyone what a great time they had – so to show their appreciation to you for choosing their property for your big day, bringing your loved ones along, and keeping things streamlined and simply by negotiating a group room block contract, they GIVE YOU STUFF!
It’s a contract, so there are always terms and conditions, fine print, and jargon that will mean nothing to you, so if you choose to go it alone and not use a travel agent, read through your contract, over and over and ask as many questions as you need to, in order to thoroughly understand what it says.
Having said that, provided you meet your minimum requirements and have elected to collaborate with aquality property to make your dream wedding vision come true, you can expect to enjoy some of the following benefits or perks:
*Perks vary by resort and meeting the minimum number of rooms required.
Using a travel agent specialized in resort destination weddings, and by securing a room block for your guests, you can rest assured that you’ve negotiated a smoother and more stress-free experience for everyone involved. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to bring those up during your consultation with the travel agents you meet with before you get started.
I hope you found some valuable insight to get you started. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you! This is what we do every day!
We spend most of our vacation time touring resorts, meeting with the wedding coordinators and training for destination weddings, so we can make it very simple for you. We save you time by filtering out all the bad advice and countless options for you. Let us take the guesswork out and match-make you to the destination and resorts that fit your style, vision and budget the best.
Together we will find your most perfect wedding resort and we take care of the logistics after that. All you have to do is the fun wedding planning and creating an unforgettable event your friend and family will remember for a lifetime! Schedule your free consultation to see how we can assist and learn more about our services!