So you’re planning a destination wedding, and you’re in the thick of figuring out rooms for your guests. After reading this post, you know you need a group room block contract, but have no idea where to start, what things mean, or how they work. So, that is what I’m here to talk about today, group room block contracts, a recap on what they are, how they work, and what to expect in the process. Think of this as Destination Wedding Room Block Contracts 101.
Our last post talked about calculating how many rooms to block, in conjunction with having your wedding date locked in with the resort, that number will be your starting point in moving forward with a contract request. So what’s next?
Part 1: Requesting the Contract
What Types of Rooms Should You Book?
There are some resorts with endless options at varying price points which can make it overwhelming when selecting rooms. My rule of thumb is to choose a couple of lower priced options, one or two in the middle range, and a couple in a higher price range as some guests will want to make a whole vacay of it! The bulk of your rooms should be in the lower and middle price range. Don’t worry, DWD helps with guiding you with what to select.
Am I Paying for Guests’ Rooms Upfront?
Not at all. You’re paying to hold the rooms within the contract so they are yours to fill and taken out of inventory from the hotel. You’ll pay a deposit, typically $100 per room, at the signing of the contract, and when all is said and done, the money you paid will go towards your room.
For example: 30 rooms will require a $3,000 payment. This payment will allow you to secure a room block for your guests. This deposit does not go into the rooms, it goes into your master account so you can pay for your room.
Your travel planner, aka DWD Travel, will take care of this part based on your room selections. We’ll request the contract from the tour operator, and present it to you as soon as it is ready.
Part 2: Reviewing & Signing the Contract
Once the contract is received, take your time reviewing it, ask questions if needed, and when you’re ready, sign and submit your deposit.
You’ll want to pay special attention to dates. Your contract will spell out payment deadlines for the guest deposits and final payments, and deadlines for your final date to release unsold rooms without penalties. Also make note of the “freebies” you’ll receive like comp rooms, complimentary cocktail hours, and more. You’ll want to keep note of those for planning and budgeting the wedding details.
Part 3: Booking Guests
At DWD, after the contract is finalized and deposited, we release a customized booking website to share with your guests. The website will have all of the details your guests will need to make their reservation. Details like important dates, information about the resort, room categories and pricing available, and booking forms will be available on the website. We include frequently asked questions as well, so you can direct your guests there rather than dealing with all of the questions yourself.
Basically, you don’t need to lift a finger for booking guests–just direct them to the website we provide!
Additional Thoughts On Destination Wedding Room Block Contracts
We ran out of rooms! Now what?
What happens if you need more rooms? Most of the time, this isn’t an issue. But occasionally, you’ll sell all of those rooms, and need more. Don’t fret, as long as you are planning in plenty of time, the resort should have inventory for you to add. We’ll just request additional rooms to be added to your block. You may have to pay an additional deposit, so keep that in mind.
What about leftover rooms?
Your deposit deadline comes and there are still rooms to sell, what can you do? Not to worry! As long as your attrition deadline date has not passed, you can release those rooms with no implications. Wait, what’s attrition? That is your contractual obligation to fill the number of rooms you contracted. Most of the time, resorts offer options that allow you to release rooms before a certain date to avoid penalties. Basically, release those rooms before that deadline, and you’re all good!
How do I get the money from my earned free rooms?
Many resorts offer couples perks like complimentary cocktail hours, room upgrades, and even free rooms. We call these “comps.” Comps are earned based on the terms of the contract, and typically calculated a couple of weeks before travel, with payment after the last of the group checks into the resort and up to 6 weeks after. The amount can be paid out however you wish–allocated as refunds to guests or given to the wedding couple directly. 99% of the time, my couples choose to utilize this money to cover wedding expenses.
To wrap things up, destination wedding room block contracts are nuanced, but hopefully this guide helps you understand things a bit better. And remember, at DWD Travel & Destination Weddings we ensure every step is taken care of, from contract requests to perks like comp rooms, making your destination wedding journey hassle-free.
Feeling overwhelmed with destination weddings and room block contracts?
Schedule a call with DWD here.