Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blocking the Rooms

Blocking rooms in a tourist town is great because you have lots of options. But....with that comes some not so great things. Like these hotels don't need our business like say, a hotel in a random suburb. So what does that mean? Well... we had trouble finding hotels that would give our guests discounts and/or would allow guests to stay only one night.

After my first two calls, I realized this wasn't going to be easy. So with my list of requirements in hand, I got to calling and e-mailing every place I could find within 5 miles of Newport.

My requirements were simple.
1. A good rate
2. At least one option without the two night stay
3. Convenience
4. Quality

Blocking the rooms has been one of the most stressful parts of planning so far. Typically when you plan something for the wedding, it only affects your budget. The hotel block affects the individual budgets of most of our guests. With the way the economy is, we wanted to be very concious of this and reserve rooms that fit different budgets.

We also knew that many of our guests would only want to stay one night. Many guests are only an hour and a half away, but would like to spend the night- not two, which is typical in Newport. This was actully the hardest part. I assumed since we aren't having the wedding in season, a couple places would be more willing to break this. We only found three places who were willing to let us block with one night stays. We only went with one, as the other two didn't fit other requirments, mainly cost and quality.

Convenience also played a factor. When guests heard there are hotels across the street, many got excited that after the reception they could "stumble home". Luckily there are three options directly across the street from the reception. In the end, these three won out as part of our four total hotels. It's nice because not only are they convenient to the reception, their less than 10 minutes from the ceremony, 5 minutes from downtown Newport, across from the Beach, located next to many reasonably priced restaurants, and it's nice that three of these are located next to each other. Guests will be closer.

Lastly, we looked for quality. I called at least 15 hotels and knew that each had to fit at least three of the four qualifications. Well, I ended up finding a couple with really great prices, but those were also really terrible quality. I was hoping to find something under $100 a night, and I did, but they just weren't places I'd feel comfortable recommending. I looked up each hotel, motel and inn's reviews. Some were horrifying. I decided quality is more important than price. If guests would like a cheaper room, I did give a link on our website, so they can make the choice themselves and decide what is important to them.

We ended up with 4 choices.
1 with amazing quality, not so amazing price, no discounts, 2 night minimum, very convenient.
2 with great quality, great discounts, 2 night minimum, and very convenient.
1 with ok quality, no discounts-but best price, 1 night minimum, convenient.

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We ended up really happy with our selections, after lots of research we feel confident that they are the right choices and well rounded. Although, I hope our guests are happy, as I am still worried about the costs.

Did you have trouble making room blocks for your guests?

5 comments:

Nicole-Lynn said...

You did great research... I haven't gotten there yet but thanks for the tips.

xoxo, C said...

We didn't block rooms (it wasn't really necessary) but I'm attending a wedding at your venue in August and was wondering which hotel let you have the 1 night stay?

Coasting Anon said...

We had that problem, too. Which is why we sent our our save-the-date almost nine months in advance along with a very lengthy letter explaining all the options...including the bed and breakfasts.

In the end, it became even worse of an issue because of an event specialist service that we used in Newport that supposedly was going to help people with reserving bed and breakfast options. They screwed up sooooo badly and then we fired them and I got a really unprofessional letter from the woman running the business on how brides NEED them and should never try and go it alone. This was at least five months prior to our wedding. To cap it off...four days before our wedding...MONTHS after we had forgotten allllll about them...they started calling our guests and freaking them out about not having reservations!!

Phew...sorry to bogart your comments. Anyway, room blocking in Newport was by far the most stressful part of our wedding!

Newport Nuptials said...

@ xoxo, C The SeaView Inn, let us do one night stays. It's so close to the venue, it's right down the road in Middletown.

Rhea's Inn is also close by and they said they'd also do one night stays. I hadn't really looked into the quality, it's more expensive than SeaView.

@ Coasting Anon, I completely agree it was the most stressful part. I'm so glad it's over!

Aylee Bits said...

We had room blocks in 2 hotels. I hope it's enough. We just learned that the boat show is the same weekend as our wedding.