book Indian wedding hotel room block online

How To Avoid Guests Booking Hotel Rooms Online vs. Your Room Block at an Indian Wedding

As business savvy individuals, Indian people are always looking for the best or a better deal. Certainly this applies to booking their hotel rooms to attend your big Indian wedding. So you have a discounted room rate for your wedding block of $179, but an Aunty just texted you saying she found it online for $130. So why would she book through your room block? And why is the rate lower online than what the hotel gave you?

We are going to address all of these things as well provide some tips for you on how to deal with this, because it WILL come up.

{What Aunty Doesn’t Know}

You may have negotiated additional amenities into the room rate i.e. breakfasts, resort fees etc. If breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant is tied into your room rate, it’s really important that you let your guests know that. And you tell them multiple times via email, text, in-person whatever you have to do. Otherwise just imagine how awkward and stressful it will be for your family if  guest comes up to you on the spot and asks why they don’t have breakfast and then says they didn’t know they had to book through your room block. You’ll have to make arrangements for them in that moment which will increase your costs and add stress.

{Hospitality Rooms}

The fact is most Indian weddings set up a hospitality room for breakfast. But hotels are starting to crack down on that because frankly consumers are abusing it. It’s completely understandable that you want to keep costs down and adding per person fees for breakfast will definitely increase your costs. At the same time you don’t have to not serve anything. So what do you do? Well what’s been happening over the last few years is the hotels provide a hospitality room and the families order chivado, samosas, tikki’s, chai etc. to serve – so it’s all outside catered food, except coffee and juice which you’re required to get through the hotel.

The hotels charge you for the room only or may waive the room fee and just charge you for coffee and juice but no clean up staff and no service staff. And couples insist they don’t need service and clean up but the fact is they do. They need someone to replenish dishes that are low. They need someone to pick up trash, clear empty cups and take out the trash. So the room starts to become unsavory.

Moreover, people are bringing in stuff from Costco. The hotels really don’t like that and they’re starting to crack down on it. The way they’re doing that is by now allowing people to bring in any food and beverage other than items provided by the outside caterer as well as limiting the hours on the hospitality room. At the moment hospitality rooms are setup to be kind of a free for all space for the whole weekend. Venues are starting to limit the time to a few hours at certain times throughout the wedding weekend.

{Why is the Block Rate More vs. Online?}

Third party websites like hotels.com, kayak.com, etc. own the inventory that they post on their websites. They have purchased those rooms already which means they can sell them at whatever rate they want. But on those the prices are constantly changing. Let’s say they bought 50 rooms from hotel x, well they may have calculated that they can optimize their revenue if they sell 5 of those 50 rooms at $y. After those 5 rooms are sold the rate for the same room will go up (or down). So the point is they won’t guarantee you a rate, whereas the rate in your room block is guaranteed.

Now the average consumer doesn’t care, they just want the best deal. But it’s your job to inform them if they’re going to miss out on something as a result

 {Solutions & Recommendations}

1. Get in front of the problem. We’re desi, we’re all looking for the best deal and we know how to get it. So get in front of the problem early-on by sending an email to your guests acknowledging that the 3rd party rates are lower, but explain that you’ve arranged the additional amenities that they won’t otherwise get.

2. Buy things a la carte. Control what you can. You can only control so much. You can explain and encourage guests to book with your room block, but ultimately the decision is theirs. So to avoid issues, instead of tying breakfast and other amenities to the room block, buy things a la carte. Buy breakfast vouchers separately.

Tip: keep re-sending the email and reiterate the point when you call guests to collect RSVPs. Make sure your guests know why your room block is higher. Despite knowing if they still decide to book through a 3rd party that’s their choice but you made sure they were informed.


ShaadiShop’s Guide on How Hotel Room Blocks Work – Essential info, tips and advice for anyone planning a South Asian wedding


{Take Aways}

Communication is key to get guests to book their room through the block vs. going online. Help them understand what they’ll miss out on and the impact if they don’t book through the block.

Know that there are going to be some people who book through a 3rd party anyway. That’s fine. You can’t stress over things you con’t control.

I hope this guide helped you with some ideas of how to deal with with hotel room blocks!

If you found it useful, let me know in the comments. I love hearing from our readers. And follow ShaadiShop on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram so you can see our latest guides and tips.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 🙂

Samta Varia
Founder & CEO
ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues



 South Asian-friendly Wedding Venues

ShaadiShop is a free service to help couples, planning an Indian or any South Asian wedding, find their wedding venue. We walk you through the whole process from discovery to booking. And, venues extend better pricing and amenities to our clients. Visit our main website or contact me to start your venue search today!

 

 

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