Suite Deals for Your Traveling Guests
By Marilyn Kennedy Melia
Any good wedding host wants to ensure guests enjoy eating, drinking, dancing … and sleeping.
Since invitation lists these days often contain distant ZIP codes, many guests will need overnight accommodations.
Contracting for group room rates can save your guests money. Perhaps more importantly, the festivities are likely to run more smoothly and be more enjoyable when guests stay at the place. Here, are guiding to giving your guests first-class “room service.”
When your reception is being held at a hotel, even guests who live nearby may want to book a room so that they don’t have to worry about driving home, notes Laurie Goldstein, a spokeswoman for Marriott International.
In fact, in-town guests who decide to spend the night at a hotel tend to think of the event as a “staycation” – a fun wedding plus a weekend away with friends and family, explains Geri Gomes, director of sales & marketing for Crowne Plaza Houston West.
Sometimes, adds Gomes, “hotels may also provide a complimentary hospitality room or a ‘glamour room’ for bridesmaids to meet and finalize last-minute details.”
Moreover, couples may be able to request that the hotel bar be kept open late just to accommodate wedding guests at the hotel who want to continue socializing after the reception ends, says Goldstein.
And, most hotel firms also book your guests on the same floor or in close proximity so that they can easily visit other rooms.
A lodging facility won’t necessarily be able to accommodate a group of guests on a moment’s notice. Hotel spokesmen all agree that it’s probably never too early to discuss your estimated group needs.
It’s common for couples to include hotel suggestions and booking information with their wedding invitations, notes Erlin Evangelista Moya, director of sales at the Crowne Plaza Dallas.
Since there’s a difference between advising a hotel that you’ll probably have a certain number of guests in a block of rooms, and actually reserving them, “Tell your guests to book their hotel rooms as soon as possible,” advises Moya.
Increasingly, lodging companies are offering Web-based systems allowing more efficient booking and information for you and your guests. At Hilton.com, for instance, there’s a self-service portal which allows you to create a custom page with maps and which also provides a link for your guests to make reservations, explains Tina Rance, director of sales at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center in Louisiana.
Perks of Togetherness
Discounts on group room rates – which can vary depending on the company – are just one benefit of having your guests lodge together.
Awareness by hotel staffers of the wedding and its related activities increases with the number of wedding guests. For instance, desk staffers may be prepared to hand out directions to the wedding or distribute gifts or goody bags on behalf of the marrying couple.
If last-minute changes to events occur, it may also be possible to send out group alerts, in the form of notes on doors or mass voice mail messages.
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