We understand you may not be a professional in large scale events, so we put together five-star tips to reserving room blocks. Room blocks help to remove the guess work for your wedding guests and makes things easier for logistical and transportation purposes. A block also saves your guests money, averaging anywhere from 15-40% less than standard room rates. Most hotels offer two types of room blocks: Open (Courtesy) Blocks and Closed (Guaranteed) Blocks.
Open (Courtesy) Blocks: A number of rooms can be reserved at no cost to you. The only catch is that the rooms will only be held for a limited amount time. After anywhere between 30-90 days out, hotels will release any unreserved rooms back into their overall inventory, selling them at original price. Hotels may limit the number of rooms (generally 10-20) they will allow for you to hold for an Open Block.
Closed (Guaranteed) Blocks: A guaranteed number of rooms can be reserved with a cost liability to you. In most cases, a deposit is required. When it is all said and done, you will be held financially responsible for any unsold rooms. Hotels don’t typically limit the number of rooms you want for a Closed Block.
Now that you know the types, here are some five-star tips to reserving room blocks.
1. DETERMINE THE NEED
Room blocks are ideal for ensuring out-of-town guests have a place to land during your wedding festivities, but your first step should be to determine if there is an actual need for reserving rooms. A large destination wedding is a no brainer. But intimate backyard nuptials with little to zero out of town guests? There’s no need.
2. BEWARE OF HOTEL HIKES
Room rates are just like flights. They fluctuate in price based on periods of high demand and high travel seasons. Check Kansas City’s local events calendar to see if there are any large conventions or major concerts in the area that could contribute to limited or pricier accommodations.
3. OFFER GUESTS DIFFERENT PRICE OPTIONS
If your wedding requires travel for guests, keep in mind they might be on a budget. Whether they’re making this trip an extended vacation or are staying for only one night, reserve a block of rooms at two different hotels, at two different price points. They’ll appreciate having location and price options.
4. TWO IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN ONE
Once you’ve found a few solid options that vary in budget, stop the search. Providing an excessive number of hotel options can confuse guests. Plus, the more blocks you book, the more you might be held responsible to fill. So, keep it simple and curb stress by presenting two to three (max) options to guests. Then, let them be choosey!
5. CHECK-IN ON LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Some people book the same hotel chain each time they travel to accrue points with that hotel, which leads to free stays and other perks. If you have family and friends that always stay at a Marriott or Hilton, it would be good to reach out to those who you know will be looking for a hotel to see if they plan to stay at their tried-and-true. That way you don’t reserve a block of rooms that goes unused and could leave you paying out of pocket.
6. STAY CLOSE TO THE WEDDING FESTIVITIES
Your out-of-town guests have made the trip to witness you marrying the love of your life. Make it easy on your guests by keeping accommodations in close proximity to wedding festivities. That includes the ceremony location and reception venue. Veering too far from the venue could lead to lost or late guests (stressfully) attempting to navigate their way to your ceremony.
7. PAY ATTENTION TO THE CONTRACT DETAILS
Otherwise, you could be held responsible for paying for rooms that weren’t booked. Once you talk details (i.e. – desired number of rooms, cost for guests, etc.), hotels will send over a contract you’ll want to review carefully. Pay specific attention to the attrition clause, which is the percentage of rooms that must be filled to avoid a cost penalty. Usually hotels require you to fill 80-90% of the rooms that you requested them to reserve at the lower rate. That means you’re on the hook for any unfilled rooms. Typically, hotels will allow 10-20% of the rooms to go unfilled, but that all depends on your contract. This is called the allowable shrinkage clause. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as needed to get a clear understanding of what you are bound to in the contract.
8. RESERVE THE BLOCK
A good rule of thumb is to reserve room blocks three to eight months out from your event. During this timeframe, you’ll most likely have your save-the-dates in the mail and a decent idea of potential out-of-town guests that will need accommodations. Reserve the block with your discounted rate and make note of all of the extras your guests will have access to, including WIFI, on-site parking, complimentary breakfast, shuttle service, etc. Don’t forget to think about you and your fiancé and where you might want to stay the evening of your wedding, whether that be within the same hotel block or a different suite.
SOME OF KANSAS CITY'S MOST POPULAR HOTELS FOR ROOM BLOCKS
- InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza
Close to premier shopping and restaurants and provides the Country Club Plaza experience for out-of-town guests. Rates starting from $149 per night based on availability.
Address: 401 Ward Pkwy, KC, MO 64112
Phone: (816) 756-1500
- Hilton President Kansas City
Historical stay in downtown Kansas City’s popular Power and Light District.
Address: 1329 Baltimore Ave., KC, MO 64105
Phone: (816) 221-9490
- Kansas City Marriott Downtown
Newly restyled and within walking distance to the Power and Light District.
Address: 200 W 12th St., KC, MO 64105
Phone: (816) 421-6800
- Kansas City Airport Marriott
Great location for out-of-town guests flying into MCI with quick access to downtown Kansas City. Wedding room block rates are typically discounted around 40% off the best available rate. Shuttle service to over 11 local venues in the Northland with a minimum room night commitment required.
Address: 775 Brasilia Ave., KC, MO 64153
Phone: (816) 464-2200
Contact the hotel of your choice for more details and information specific to your date.