Room blocks are an often-overlooked yet essential piece to the event-planning puzzle. Reserving a room block, or a set amount of rooms for guests is not only a convenient solution for accommodations but is also a courtesy for busy guests who are planning to travel for an event. Whether it’s a wedding, a business conference, or a large reunion, guests appreciate the ease of booking a room that is already reserved for the group.
1. Booking Hotel Room Blocks
The question is – how do you go about finding a property and reserving a room block? As with most things, the first step is always research, research, research. While Google is a place to start, don’t hesitate to ask other vendors for suggestions.
For example, if your client has a go-to caterer, reach out to see what are their top venues in the area. You can also make use of a third-party company, like Where Will They Stay?, that can utilize pre-existing connections to handle the process for your client.
When it comes to booking a larger block, or a property in a busy city or sought-after location, earlier is always better. The sooner a client can promote the accommodations to attendees, the better they will be able to prepare for the event in advance.
After your client has settled on the ideal property, the next step is to handle the paperwork. When reviewing the contract, be sure to understand what is expected of them as well as what the hotel is responsible for providing. For example, who bears fiscal responsibility for no-show guests? What’s the policy if your client needs additional rooms last minute? How can you maximize concessions in the agreement to make the terms as favorable as possible for your group?
While some may see setting up room blocks as a potential headache, we consider it one of the most crucial pieces of the event-puzzle. In the scheme of managing vendors, guest lists, and budgets- keeping room blocks at the top of your priority list will make sure that starting with their arrival to your event, your attendees feel welcomed and part of the big picture of your event.
2. The Property Selection Process
When it comes to property selection, and the vast array of properties available, it’s important to take event guests into consideration when researching and selecting the best one. While some attendees may simply be looking for a convenient place to lay their head, others may desire a fully interactive experience with their accommodations. Whatever the case, there are a number of elements to keep in mind as you start on the room block agreement process.
What’s Best for Your Event?
For those in town for a business conference, chain hotels are a popular choice as they are often budget-friendly and provide just enough basic comfort for a couple days away from home. On the other hand, a luxury boutique property may be just the answer for an upscale corporate event – guests will not only enjoy the elegant rooms but will also have access to the extra amenities that come with upper-tier accommodations.
For those planning more festive social events or family celebration, consider looking into modern properties that offer a quirky take on the traditional hotel. Remember that guests are looking for an experience that feels tailor-made for them, prioritize properties that enable the most personalization.
Ask the Right Questions
After determining the best type of property, it’s time to ask questions! When settling on the best accommodations available, it’s prudent to use your client as a resource.
Ask about the guests – do they have any special preferences? Are there dietary needs or limitations to be aware of? Will they need handicap accessibility or a place that welcomes pets?
In addition to a guest profile, consider what your client will need from the property as well. Do they plan to have welcome bags at the front desk to greet attendees? Will they need a hospitality suite for preparations or for winding down between events? Be sure to have a full understanding of your client’s needs before deciding on a property.
Consider the Logistics
Last but not least, always keep logistics in mind when it comes to property selection. If the event itself is being held at a hotel, it’s a no-brainer. However, if parts of the event are off-site, determine if there is a shuttle that runs from the accommodations to the venue – otherwise, a client may need to look into private transportation.
In addition to event proximity, you’ll also want to check out the local area – if attendees will have downtime, they’ll most likely want to explore the neighborhood, so find a place that has shops, museums, or restaurants nearby.
With a list of needs in hand, always do your due diligence when researching properties. Before making any calls, check online reviews to see what other people have to say about their stay. Oftentimes, testimonials can provide a better idea of the pros and cons of a site before finding out firsthand.
When it comes down to it, selecting the right property isn’t difficult if you have all the right answers! Take your time and be diligent in the process – your client will be grateful!
3. Managing Your Hotel Room Block
The ink has dried and the room block contract is complete – what next? Before assuming all is said and
done, there is still a list of to do’s that need to be checked off while managing the hotel blocks for your client’s event.
But there are also a number of considerations to take into account after they have signed on the dotted line. So what exactly are the next steps to managing your client’s hotel room block?
Share the Right Information
Be it through invitations or an event website, attendees should be notified of available accommodations as soon as possible so they can begin planning their travels. This is especially pertinent if the guests are traveling a great distance to attend.
Share the name and address of the property, as well as how they can go about reserving a room in the block. Most often, they’ll simply need to call the hotel and tell them the event name, and most hotels offer custom web links, but be sure to include any specific information that the hotel blocks entail.
Coordinating the Event
With the accommodations set in place, it’s time to tie up loose ends and make sure all event logistics are wrapped up and ready to go. Is a shuttle provided or will transportation need to be found?
Are there any check-in tables or welcome events that need to be planned for in advance? Be sure to speak with the property coordinator well in advance and share an event timeline, as well as all relevant information and requests.
Whether it’s a corporate event or a social celebration, event hosts often try to show their guests that they’re appreciated. If your client would like to add that kind gesture, welcome bags at check-in are a great choice.
These can be personalized to the event while providing guests with a wealth of information about what to do and where to go. They can also be a fun way to include local treats that are unique to your event location. Another way to go about this is to have nice surprises in each room – whether it’s an event kit, a box of chocolates, or simply a voucher for the hotel café.
While it’s true that much of the work is done after the contract has been finalized, don’t let the room block fall by the wayside. There are plenty of things that can be done after the fact in order to ensure that each and every guest is given the utmost care and consideration!