How to Reserve Hotel Room Blocks

Here's everything you need to know about reserving rooms for your guests.
by The Knot
Hotel rooms for wedding guests
photo by iStock

If you're having out-of-town guests at your wedding, they'll need a place to stay, because you certainly don't want them crashing the bridal suite! Hotel blocks for weddings allow guests to stay in the same hotel (or couple of hotels), which makes things like planning and transportation easier. And it's more fun for your guests, who may want to mingle and enjoy their own after-party. Reserving hotel room blocks is the best way to ensure your guests have a place to stay near your reception. Plus, hotels often give you a discount on the room rate, which you can then pass along to your guests. Here's everything you need to know to make it happen.

How do you block hotel rooms for a wedding?

There are a few key points you need to keep in mind before setting out to reserve hotel rooms for your wedding: proximity to your reception venue, amenities and price point. If you happen to be getting married at a venue that also has accommodations, start there. Ask the venue manager about room rates and a possible discount for your guests who reserve early. You should reserve hotel room blocks with at least two hotels if you're having a destination wedding with a lot of out-of-town guests, you're getting married at a hotel with exceptionally pricey rooms or you have a larger-than-average guest list (more than 140).

To reserve a hotel block for your guests, you'll want to narrow your search to two or three hotels and then give each a call. When you call to reserve, give the hotel the dates you expect your guests to be there, plus any special requests you're hoping they'll help you fulfill (like dropping welcome bags at the door, or transportation to and from the airport). To start, book a smaller number of rooms and add more later if needed. This way, you avoid having to deal with penalties if rooms go unreserved. Sound like a hassle? Save yourself a ton of time by using Hotel Planner, our premier hotel room block reservation service. With certified planners that boast decades of industry experience and collectively speak 28 different languages (hint, hint for you destination wedding couples), Hotel Planner is your one-stop shop for your group's hotel reservations—we'll explain the benefits and how-tos later.

How do you negotiate contract terms for a hotel block?

Prefer to do it yourself? Once you've found a room block option that works for your wedding, you'll most likely need to sign a contract to finalize the booking. There are certain key words you'll need to understand when reviewing the contract terms for a hotel block. Read the contract carefully before signing and be on the lookout for these clauses:

  • Allowable Shrinkage Clause

What this means: This number refers to the percentage of rooms that are allowed to go unbooked.

Target Percentage: Between 10–20 percent. Meaning, if you booked 20 rooms but 2–4 go unbooked, you will not be penalized with a fee.

  • Attrition Rate or Minimum Commitment


What this means: This number refers to the percentage of rooms that must be filled in order to avoid paying a penalty fee.

Target Percentage: Between 80–90 percent. Example: If the entire hotel room block is not used, you'll owe the hotel damages for all unused rooms based on a minimum commitment of 80 percent. This means that if you don't book the minimum amount of rooms agreed to, you'll owe for up to 80 percent of the room block.

  • Mitigation Clause or Resell Clause


What this means: The hotel must try to book unused rooms in your block so you're no longer responsible for them if they're later sold to other customers. In short: You shouldn't be paying for rooms other guests are paying for.

How should you word your hotel block information to guests?

The best way to communicate your hotel block information is to include it on your wedding website. That way, all your guests will be well informed and can easily click to learn more about the accommodation options available. If you have guests coming from out of town, it's also a nice gesture to include additional information on how to get to the venue or if transportation from the hotel will be provided. Also, consider including contact information for either your wedding planner or a family member on your site so guests can reach out to them directly, should they have questions about directions or accommodations.

We're exhausted just thinking about all the details, so we're here to help. We've teamed up with Hotel Planner for all your reservation needs. Hotel Planner lets you search all the major hotels near your venue, recommends lodging, and helps you negotiate a great price and reserve all your rooms in one place. All it takes is a simple informational questionnaire and you’re matched with a local expert that can help you every step of the way.


But before you can book your venue and hotels, you need to find your wedding style—download The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app and take our Style Quiz to get started planning your ideal celebration.

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