Planning Your Hotel Room Booking Strategy


Imagine you’re throwing a big party or setting up a huge meeting and you need to make sure everyone has a place to stay nearby. This is where thinking about hotel room blocks can be super helpful. So, what are we talking about when we say “hotel room block”?

Imagine you call up a hotel and say, “Hey, I have a bunch of people coming to an event, can we keep a bunch of rooms just for us?” And the hotel says, “Sure, we can reserve a set of rooms just for your group for these dates.” That’s basically a hotel room block. It’s like saving a block of seats on a bus for your friends so you can all ride together.

This idea is really useful for all sorts of big gatherings – like when two people get married and have guests coming from far away, or when there’s a big work conference, or even a big family reunion.

In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at what goes into setting up these room blocks, the good parts and the not-so-good parts about them, how to make sure everything runs smoothly, and we’ll answer some common questions people have.

We want to make this super easy to understand, so by the end of it, you’ll feel like a pro at dealing with hotel room blocks. Let’s start this adventure and get into the details of how hotel room blocks work.

What is a Hotel Room Block?

Definition and Basics

Imagine you are planning a big party or event, like a wedding or a conference. You want to make sure everyone coming to your event has a nice place to stay, right? That’s where a hotel room block comes in handy.

Think of it as setting aside a bunch of hotel rooms just for your guests. This way, they don’t have to worry about finding a room themselves. It’s like saving seats at a movie so you all can sit together. Hotels usually give these rooms at a cheaper price, making it a win-win for everyone.

Importance in Event Planning

Now, why is this so important when you’re planning an event? First, it’s super helpful for your guests. They don’t have to look for a hotel room on their own, which can be tough in a busy season or a busy place. Also, because all the rooms are in one spot, it makes getting everyone together for the event much easier.

Think about not having to arrange different pick-up spots for a bus tour or worrying about everyone making it on time. Everything becomes smoother and more organized.

How It Works

So, how does this magic happen? When you talk to a hotel about a room block, they’ll give you a contract. This contract will have all the details like how many rooms you’re holding, how much they’ll cost, and a special date called the “release date.”

This release date is important because it’s the last day those rooms are saved just for your group. After that, any rooms not booked go back on sale for anyone to book. That’s why understanding this contract really matters. It helps you make sure you have enough rooms for everyone but also avoid paying extra for rooms nobody uses.

Types of Room Blocks

There are two main flavors of room blocks you’ll hear about: guaranteed and courtesy. If you go for a guaranteed block, you’re saying, “Yes, I promise we’ll use these rooms.” And if you don’t use them all, you’ll have to pay for the ones that stay empty.

It’s a bit risky but can be worth it if you’re sure about your numbers. On the other hand, courtesy blocks are more like saying, “It would be nice to have these rooms, please.” If you don’t use them, there’s no cost. They just go back to being available for anyone. This is super for when you’re not totally sure how many will come but still want to offer the option.

The Pros and Cons of Offering Hotel Room Blocks

Good for Guests and People Planning Events

When you set up a bunch of hotel rooms for your event, you’re doing a big favor for everyone coming. Your friends or guests can pay less for their rooms, and they don’t have to go far to get to your event because they’re staying close by. For you, the person organizing everything, it makes things a lot smoother. You can sort out where everyone’s going to stay in one go, and you might even get some special deals from the hotel because you’re booking lots of rooms.

Some Challenges to Think About

Even though hotel room blocks sound great, there are a few things that can make them a bit tricky. The biggest one is making sure you don’t end up with too many rooms that no one books. If you promised the hotel you’d fill a certain number of rooms (that’s what they call a “guaranteed block”), and you don’t, you might have to pay for those empty rooms. So, it’s really important to have a good guess of how many people will need a room and not book too many.

Finding the Perfect Balance

It’s like walking a tightrope. On one side, you want to make sure you have enough rooms for everyone who wants to come. But on the other side, you don’t want to end up with a bunch of rooms you don’t need. Getting this right means really knowing who’s coming to your event and what they need. This isn’t always easy, but paying close attention to your guest list and staying flexible can help a lot.

Talking It Out with Hotels

Now, getting a good deal on these room blocks means you’ll need to have a chat with the hotel. This isn’t just about how much the rooms cost. You’ll also want to talk about the little extras (amenities) they can offer your guests, and how strict they are about the rules (like that release date for any rooms not booked). The better you are at talking things through and negotiating, the better the deal you’re likely to get.

Hotel Room Block Management Strategies

1. Picking the Right Number of Rooms

Imagine you’re throwing a big party and need to figure out how much cake to order. You wouldn’t want too much cake left over, but you also don’t want to run out. Deciding on the maximum number of rooms is similar. Look at your guest list like it’s your party list. Think, “Who really is going to need a bed to sleep in?” This step is about making a smart guess so you don’t end up with lots of empty rooms (or too much cake!).

2. Keeping an Eye on Bookings

This part is like checking the weather forecast before you go on a picnic. You want to know if it’s going to rain so you can plan accordingly. Regularly looking at how many rooms have been booked lets you see if more people are coming than you expected or if not as many folks can make it. By doing this check-in often, you can adjust your plans smoothly, ensuring you have just the right amount of rooms reserved.

3. Knowing When to Cover Empty Rooms

Imagine you’ve rented out a bus for a trip, but some friends cancel last minute. Now, you have extra seats that nobody’s using, and you might still have to pay for them. That’s what “attrition” is like with hotel rooms. Before you agree to rent a bunch of rooms, think about what you’ll do if some stay empty. Will you pay for those unused rooms, or try to avoid those costs? It’s like deciding whether to book that bus knowing some seats might stay empty.

4. Changing Room Numbers as Needed

Let’s say you’re planning that big picnic again, but a few friends say they can’t come. You wouldn’t buy as much food, right? “Washing group rooms” means doing something similar: you tell the hotel you need fewer rooms because fewer guests are coming. It’s a way to make sure you’re not stuck with (and paying for) more rooms than you need, kind of like not ending up with too many sandwiches at the picnic.

5. Giving Planners More Power

This is like letting your friends help plan the picnic. If they know a great spot or the best food to bring, the picnic will be even better. Letting people who are helping to plan the event make decisions can make everything go more smoothly. They know the guests and what the event needs, so their input is super valuable.

6. Using Tech to Track Everything

Finally, think about using a cool app on your phone that helps you plan the perfect picnic. It tells you how much food to buy, the weather, and who’s coming. Software for managing room blocks does something similar. It helps you keep track of how many rooms you need and how many you’ve got booked, without having to do it all by hand. It’s a tool that makes the whole process a lot easier.

Tips and Best Practices for Hotel Room Blocks

  • Start Early: The sooner you start organizing your room block, the better. You’ll have more options and flexibility.
  • Communicate Clearly: Make sure everyone knows how to book a room in the block. Clear instructions are key.
  • Understand the Contract: Read the fine print so you know what you’re responsible for and can avoid any surprises.
  • Be Ready to Adjust: Stay flexible. You might need to change your room block based on how many people are coming.
  • Build a Relationship with the Hotel: A good relationship can lead to better deals and more flexibility.


1. What is a hotel room block?

A hotel room block is when a group of hotel rooms is set aside for guests of a specific event, like a wedding or a conference, often at a discounted rate.

2. Why should I consider a hotel room block for my event?

It helps your guests by giving them discounted rooms and makes it easier for them to stay close to your event. It also makes planning transport and schedules simpler for you.

3. How do I set up a hotel room block?

Contact hotels where you want to book rooms, tell them about your event and how many rooms you might need, and then negotiate the terms like price and the number of rooms.

4. What’s the difference between a guaranteed and a courtesy block?

In a guaranteed block, you might have to pay for rooms that don’t get booked. With a courtesy block, any rooms not booked by a certain date go back to the hotel to sell, and you don’t pay extra.

5. How many rooms should I block?

Think about your guest list and how many are likely to need a room. Start with a smaller number; you can often add more rooms later if needed.

6. What if not all the rooms in my block get booked?

If it’s a courtesy block, no problem; they just go back to the hotel. If it’s guaranteed, you might have to pay for some of the unused rooms, depending on your contract.

7. Can guests book rooms outside the block?

Yes, guests can book rooms however they like, but they might miss out on the special rate or convenience you’ve arranged through the block.

8. How can I make sure guests know about the room block?

Share the details clearly with your guests, like in your event invites or on a website, including how to book and any deadlines.

9. What is attrition, and why does it matter?

Attrition is when you have to cover the cost of unbooked rooms in a guaranteed block. It matters because it could add extra costs to your event planning.

10. How do I manage my room block effectively?

Regularly check how many rooms are booked, adjust your block if possible, and communicate with your guests to encourage them to book within the block. Using management software can also help keep track of everything.


Developing a hotel room block strategy requires careful planning, negotiation, and management. By understanding the basics, weighing the pros and cons, and applying effective management strategies, event planners can ensure their guests have a seamless and enjoyable experience. Remember, the key to a successful hotel room block strategy lies in clear communication, understanding your audience, and staying flexible to adapt to your guests’ needs.