Ask the Experts: Booking Hotel Blocks for Your Guests

Whether your hometown is right here in the Upstate, or you’re using Greenville as a destination spot, many guests on your wedding invite list will be inquiring about hotels and recommendations for where to stay when they mail their RSVP.

GSPGD_Exterior_02
Embassy Suites by Hilton
Courtyard Marriott Exterior
Courtyard Marriott

We spoke with local experts in the hotel industry to gather up the most important information to consider when welcoming overnight guests. Halee Polson, Sales Manager with Courtyard Marriott Greenville Downtown, and Taylor Deal, Group Sales Manager for Embassy Suites by Hilton in Greenville Downtown Riverplace have both worked with dozens of couples during the wedding planning process.

Why should I book a hotel block?

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Embassy Suites King Room with Balcony
King Studio
Courtyard Marriott King Studio

Consider a few things to understand the kind of experience you want your out-of-town guests to have, says Halee. “Even local guests will want to drink, dance and enjoy a night out without having to worry about how they’re getting home. Lately, the trend towards an after party following the reception is a big reason why couples book rooms for their guests.”

Taylor agrees – every couple should plan to find the most convenient accommodations for their guests, and reserving a hotel block ensures that both the couple and the guests have a place to stay at a discounted rate.

“Many clients wonder where booking a hotel block fits into their wedding, and it surprises them when I say it should be near the top of their list,” says Taylor.

In fact, according to Halee, the ‘sweet spot’ for discussing details regarding a hotel block and booking rooms with a Sales Manager is between eight months to a year. Regardless of where you book, that stretch of time allows for more flexibility in room options and rates.

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Embassy Suites By Hilton Lounge Area

What details should I know before researching a hotel?

“You should ask yourself is what hotels are closest to my wedding venue? Bonus points if it’s within walking distance,” Taylor says.

Because most hotels ask a minimum of 10 rooms be reserved for a hotel block and require that the couple be responsible for the cost of any unused rooms, Halee stresses the the importance of having a solid understanding of how many guests will be needing overnight accommodations. Taylor also requests that couples ask the difference between a ‘closed block’ and a ‘courtesy block’ to determine the best number of rooms offered at a discounted rate.

Don’t forget to count the wedding party, immediate family, and any friends when making a complete list – many couples also choose to book a suite for the night after their wedding or a few rooms to get ready on the day of. If you have guests coming in from the night before the wedding for a rehearsal dinner, or if the wedding party is having to get ready earlier in the morning, then decide on how many days the entire block should be reserved.

Guestroom
Embassy Suites by Hilton

Taylor and Halee strongly encourage couples to take a look at the City of Greenville Special Events calendar and know what other attractions are happening during the time of their wedding. As of now, Greenville has become a popular destination spot for many to come and explore unique features like Falls Park, food festivals, the Peace Center and award-winning restaurants. Many of these types of events could impact the rates and availability of rooms during your wedding.

“During these busy seasons, we want to make sure your guests are given the resources to get around. We can recommend transportation and places to park that are within short distances of the wedding venue or the hotel,” says Halee.

Determining a check-in or check-out time for your block, and whether a shuttle service is needed for longer walks to the venue, are also important details to consider when researching venues.

Courtyard Marriott Village GReen
Courtyard Marriott Village Green

What should my guests expect when booking through a block?

If a couple is able to host other events at the same hotel as their block, their guests can expect convenience and other great benefits for having multiple gathering under the same roof, recommends Taylor. A rehearsal dinner, a welcome party, or a post-wedding day brunch are all fantastic ways to add value to your hotel block and give guests the option to be close by during all of the action.

Be sure to also think of other amenities you would like for guests to have access to, like complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, valet parking or an on-site restaurant.

Courtyard Marriott Boarding Pass Area
Courtyard Marriott Guest Boarding Pass and Computer Area

Halee confesses that “hotels try to make it as easy as possible. I like to get to know the couple on a personal level, so I can be sure they’re 100% comfortable with the process and that the details of the block are tailored to their exact needs before booking.”

How do I get started?

Both Taylor and Halee suggest preparing your event details and contacting a Sales Manager by phone or email to begin the planning, or contact the hotel front desk staff to direct you to the appropriate person. Plan to set up an appointment with the manager at each property so you can find out more about the hotel policies and block booking process.

Even if you aren’t ready to book a block just yet, couples are welcome to call a hotel Sales Manager and request information about the types of rooms available and the hotel property. You can even find a list of hotels within walking distance to The Old Cigar Warehouse on the venue’s website.


Contact Our Experts

Halee Polson, Sales Manager
Courtyard Downtown Greenville
Email: h.polson@hospitalityamerica.com
Phone: (864) 451-5704

Taylor Deal, Group Sales Manager
Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Downtown Riverplace
Email: t.deal@hospitality.com
Phone: (864) 412-7837

Sneak Peak: Check back on our blog for an upcoming vendor spotlight post featuring The Swamp Rabbit Inn, another option for overnight guest accommodations!

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