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The Event Planner

Explained: Hotel Blocks

Courtesy Block and Guaranteed Block...what's the difference? Do you actually NEED hotel blocks? We're here to give you the facts!

First, let's get into whether or not you actually need a hotel block!

Back in the day (before the internet), information on nearby accommodations was harder to find. The only way to ensure wedding guests landed in hotels near your celebration was to reserve rooms and include instructions on how to book on an enclosure card with your invitation.


But now that we have the internet, best practices have changed.

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What can I do in lieu of a hotel block?

To support your guests’ attendance, you can:


  • Gather 3-5 hotels in the area that you would recommend

  • Provide recommended neighborhoods for vacation rentals

  • A curated list of your favorite local sites, activities and restaurants


Then put all of that on your website for your guests to see and take benefit from!

Replace a hotel block with thoughtful recommendations. 

Your guests will love and appreciate the personal guidebook to your city and the freedom to choose their own stay (and adventure)!

I do need a block - tell me more!

Hotels have different policies on the number of rooms they’ll reserve for a block — and also what they require from you as the host. Your customized proposal from us will outline your best hotel block options, but here is a short summary of the difference between hotel courtesy blocks and guaranteed/contract blocks:


  • Courtesy Block Definition: A courtesy block is defined as a block of rooms held for your group with a cut-off date (usually 30 days prior to check-in). On that cut-off date, the hotel releases any unbooked rooms in your hotel courtesy block back into their inventory without financial obligation for you.

  • Who pays for the rooms?: Your guests/group will provide their desired form of payment when they book their room and upon check in at the hotel


Pros: A courtesy block hotel offers no financial obligation, which saves you money if you don’t have as many bookings as you expected. In other words, you won’t have to pay for those unbooked rooms yourself. Courtesy room blocks are particularly popular for weddings.

Cons:: Rooms are held, but not guaranteed. The hotel can sell out and/or offer them to another group. They also rarely enable you to offer your guests rooms at a discounted rate.

When setting up a Courtesy Block, you will still be required to sign a contract that will outline the quantity, dates, room type and rate being held for your group, but you will not be asked for a credit card as you are under no financial obligation with this type of block.


  • Guaranteed Block Definition: This type of block is used for a guaranteed number of rooms. Your group will be required to pick up a percentage of rooms, also known as a hotel attrition rate (typically 70% to 90%). For example: If you contracted for 20 rooms x 2 nights, and the attrition clause’s rate is 80%, then your group would be responsible for filling a total of 32 room nights by the cut-off date (usually 30 days prior to check-in). If those 32 rooms aren’t filled, you can be charged for those unbooked room nights in your block.

  • Who pays for the rooms?: Your guests/group will provide their desired form of payment when they book their room and upon checking in at the hotel. You will only be charged for unbooked rooms based on your contracted attrition rate

Pros: Rooms are guaranteed for your group and can’t be given away to others outside of your group. Hotels offer more upgrades and special promotions for guaranteed room blocks. These blocks are great for large groups, high-demand destinations and high-demand dates.

Cons: You are obligated to fill a percentage of the rooms or be charged for unbooked rooms, to meet the attrition. 

When setting up a Guaranteed Block, the hotel will require you to sign a contract and provide a credit card to which any unbooked rooms will be charged.



The types of blocks depend on your dates of stay, preferred hotels and event location. No matter what, your room block expert will explain your final hotel agreement, and answer any questions along the way.


  • Contact your preferred hotel and ask for the group sales department. You will want to contact the hotel directly and not the hotels reservation number, often an 800 number.

  • When you speak to the group sales person, tell them the type of block you would like to set up (guaranteed or courtesy) and the dates

  • They will take down your details and your information such as name, contact info and number of rooms. Remember, most hotels will only do 10 rooms on a Courtesy Block.

  • The sales person will explain the rooms types they can include in your block based on availability for your dates and their block policies

  • Once everything has been established, they will send you a contract within a day or two outlining your block

  • Once you receive the contract, review it carefully before signing and sending it back

  • After your contract has been signed, most hotels will send you a reservation link that is tied to your block that you can share with your guests/group

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