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Contracts and Room Blocks


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#1 Brenners

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    Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:31 PM

    Hey Everyone! My fiance and I are looking at price comparisons between two sites and have some questions about your contracts and room blocks. Any advice or information that you can share about your own experiences (the good, bad and the ugly) would be greatly appreciated!

     

    1. How long prior to your wedding date did you sign your contract with the resort?

     

    2. At the time of signing your contract, did you reserve a block of rooms?

     

    3. How many rooms do you typically block and if you need more, is the resort accommodating to adding more to your block?

     

    4. How much money did you have to put down per room?

     

    5. If a lower rate was offered later in the year after you had already blocked the rooms at a certain price, did your contracts have clauses that required the hotel to offer you the discounted price even for those rooms that had been reserved at the higher price? If so, how are you notified of that lower price or do you need to be vigilant and frequently checking the hotel's prices for any drop in rates?

     

    6. What time of year do you get the best rates for January - March in Mexico? That is high season for travel so I am wondering when you would luck out the most with lower prices.

     

    Thank you ladies! I appreciate any feedback you can provide as I am needing some advice to help make this decision!  I am ready to pull out my hair with this whole thing! 



    #2 Cassie South

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      Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:59 AM

      Hi there! We spend all day negotiating room blocks and group contracts around here. It is a daunting task and results in much hair being pulled out! Lots of little heads being slammed against brick walls too!!!

       

      Unfortunately you will probably find every bride on the forum will have a different answer to your questions as every resort is different. Every resort has a different time line when things must be firmed up, every resort has different rules with deposits and room blocks, and every resort will charge a different amount. Fun eh?

       

      All I can suggest is try to negotiate with them, you'll be surprised what they are flexible with (although this varies with resorts as well). Most resorts will allow you to add rooms to your block if they have them available. I can pretty much guarantee your guests will find a price cheaper online then what the resort quotes you, because internet sell off rates for two and group rates are never the same. You cannot confirm a group and hold that space months in advance on an internet sell off rate... Especially if they are offering a free wedding or free room nights as these are funded by the group.

       

      January to March the rates probably won't vary much in Mexico as it's all peak season. You may do slightly better when it's not a large holiday in North America (like spring break) but to really see a rate reduction you need to travel in the off season (or hurricane season).

       

      I hope that was somewhat helpful... Good luck, you can do it!!!  

       

      Ginger @ Blue Petal

       



      #3 janette34

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        Posted 02 May 2011 - 03:43 PM

        Hello,

         

        I just confirmed my room block with Sunquest Vacations.  With that particular company once they provide you with a quote it is good for two weeks.  My aunt is a travel agent and has been a huge help to me.  She managed to get us a great deal to a 5 star resort and since we only had 2 weeks to make the decision we decided to put everyone's deposit on my credit card and then they will pay me by June 15.  Our guests have until Dec. 1 to make their final payment.  If payment is made by Dec. 1 they are also eligble for a one time price reduction if the group rate goes down.  For those who can't make the Dec. 1 payment but want to pay the final amount 45 days prior to departure (April 20, 2012) then they are taking the gamble that the rates may increase and there will be no chance of a price reduction.  With our deal we have had enough people say yes that our room will be free, we just pay the taxes ($190 each).  I haven't been in contact with the wedding coordinator yet, but so far things have been pretty easy.

        I think you need to find a TA that you are comfortable working with and let them do all the difficult work to take the stress off you.



        #4 Cassie South

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          Posted 14 June 2011 - 09:07 AM

          Sunquest vacations has a fantastic groups department... Your aunt has done well!

           

          One thing to keep in mind with free rooms that a lot of brides get confused about is that is never applied until time of final payment... Clearly they need to figure out how many people are going before they start dishing out free rooms. Often the "free room" people still need to pay for their airfare and taxes, which is also a common misunderstanding. A "free room" is not a "free package".

           

          I agree, finding a good TA that you trust is so important. Planning a destination wedding is stressful, you need to have someone who understands the industry to make sense of it all!



          #5 JQLong

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            Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:42 PM

            I actually attempted to plan my wedding without a TA and initially signed a contract for a block of rooms.  I began to panic when my guests advised that although they were coming to the wedding, they would search for a cheaper rate.  Now.....while that sounds great....my fiance and I would be responsible for the rooms not booked.  I immediately contacted the resort and asked if the block could be cancelled.  They were great and advised they would cancel the block (just waiting for the refund).

             

            I contacted a TA (not from this site) that advised they were DW specialist.  Two weeks have gone by and I have not gotten any rates....Although I have time..I would like to give my guests some idea of the costs..

             

            Ginger....what do you think is reasonable regarding a timeframe for a TA to get rates for next year?  Thanks.

             

            JQ


            So Amazing......July 4, 2012!!!!!!


            #6 Cassie South

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              Posted 15 June 2011 - 10:27 AM

              Hi JQLong,

               

              The contracts are one of the reasons it's good to have a TA. Get your TA to sign as many contracts on your behalf as they possibly can so that you personally aren't on the hook. One of my current brides signed a contract directly while with the property while she was in Mexico and even though she's made every effort to include us in it since then, legally she's on the hook for over $60,000 and she has no way to process her guests payments. I'm surprised the property encouraged her to sign it! Obviously we are going to help her but in the eyes of the law there is no reason we should. I feel so sorry for her...

               

              Things are really different in the Canadian travel industry but here we can usually get quotes 12 - 18 months out. The turnaround time on a quote would depend on who we are getting it from. Two weeks is about average but some of our supplers get them back as fast as 48 hours. If you requested multiple properties and have lots of different gateways (or cities) which your guests are flying out of, it often takes a little longer.

               

              Just send your TA a friendly reminder email that you are excited and waiting. Sometimes we need to send multiple reminders to our suppliers that we are still waiting for quotes to try an expedite things... Don't be afraid to do the same :)

               

              Ginger

               

               



              #7 AfricanVenus

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                Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:40 AM

                We're wedding at Grand Velas Nuevo Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit. When negotiating my contract, I did it without a TA as my hotel doesn't work with them. The price they quoted me was great, so I ran with it. Their per person rates normally start at $600+. We got ours for $250. Intially, I was quoted $375, but I was going to have my wedding in March 2012. When I changed to June 2011, their low season, that made a big difference. Here are my answers:

                 

                1. How long prior to your wedding date did you sign your contract with the resort? --> I signed about 7 months before. I had been talking to them from about 9 months prior to the wedding date.

                 

                2. At the time of signing your contract, did you reserve a block of rooms? --> Yes we did, as it was required. We blocked 10 rooms. They intially asked for 15 (which I think is standard), but I knew we were having a small wedding party, so I talked them down to 10. We had to pay 25% of the block upfront once signed.

                 

                3. How many rooms do you typically block and if you need more, is the resort accommodating to adding more to your block? --> Resorts are always more accommodating when it comes to adding. Not so much when you may have to reduce the block. I would block only what you think you can meet. If they're asking for 15, but you'd rather start lower, then tell them. In my case, at least 2 people had to be in a room to keep our rate, so I knew that 20-25 people were coming, so I wanted to start with 10. If a guest roomed alone, that meant it was $375/person. So you gotta do the math and go with what you know you can fill. I still ended up paying for rooms as only 16 can go, but what're you gonna do? People are people...

                 

                4. How much money did you have to put down per room? --> We blocked 10 rooms at $250/person per night, so we had to pay $2500 at signing and another $2500 maybe a month later, which was half the room block total. Once people started booking, our deposit was moved into our Master Account to pay for our wedding.

                 

                5. If a lower rate was offered later in the year after you had already blocked the rooms at a certain price, did your contracts have clauses that required the hotel to offer you the discounted price even for those rooms that had been reserved at the higher price? --> Nope. I've spoken with a bride who was marrying at the same place in June 2012 and they never gave her as low a rate as they gave me. I think it had to do with their packages changing. Anyone marrying there now must have at least 25 people. That wasn't the case with mine. If so, how are you notified of that lower price or do you need to be vigilant and frequently checking the hotel's prices for any drop in rates? --> Couldn't say. I would be vigilant b/c I'm Type A like that, lol. I don't know if the hotel would notify you. Maybe negotiate it into your contract.

                 

                6. What time of year do you get the best rates for January - March in Mexico? That is high season for travel so I am wondering when you would luck out the most with lower prices. --> If you want lower rates in Mexico, then you'd have to travel during low season period. High season rates may come with some concessions, but I highly doubt it. I chose low season b/c the date was more meaningful and it was cheaper. They know June is there rainy season and they'll have low occupancy, so they're willing to stretch a little more.

                 

                Hope everything I've said helps. You wrote back in April so this is probably not very useful to you in June. Anyways, all the best!


                Heaven endures and the Earth lasts a long time, because they do not live for themselves. ~~Our story endures: June 25, 2011~~
                Wedsite: kosha.projectwedding.com

                #8 Brenners

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                  Posted 17 June 2011 - 04:53 PM

                  Thanks African Venus.  Since I posted this, we have been working with a TA.  We are going to reserve 10 rooms.  We are going to have it added to the contract that if the rates drop, then the resort with honor the lower rates.  What happened when your guests bailed out?  Did your rates increase due to the fact that you were unable to fill all of the required rooms.
                   

                  Originally Posted by AfricanVenus 

                  We're wedding at Grand Velas Nuevo Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit. When negotiating my contract, I did it without a TA as my hotel doesn't work with them. The price they quoted me was great, so I ran with it. Their per person rates normally start at $600+. We got ours for $250. Intially, I was quoted $375, but I was going to have my wedding in March 2012. When I changed to June 2011, their low season, that made a big difference. Here are my answers:

                   

                  1. How long prior to your wedding date did you sign your contract with the resort? --> I signed about 7 months before. I had been talking to them from about 9 months prior to the wedding date.

                   

                  2. At the time of signing your contract, did you reserve a block of rooms? --> Yes we did, as it was required. We blocked 10 rooms. They intially asked for 15 (which I think is standard), but I knew we were having a small wedding party, so I talked them down to 10. We had to pay 25% of the block upfront once signed.

                   

                  3. How many rooms do you typically block and if you need more, is the resort accommodating to adding more to your block? --> Resorts are always more accommodating when it comes to adding. Not so much when you may have to reduce the block. I would block only what you think you can meet. If they're asking for 15, but you'd rather start lower, then tell them. In my case, at least 2 people had to be in a room to keep our rate, so I knew that 20-25 people were coming, so I wanted to start with 10. If a guest roomed alone, that meant it was $375/person. So you gotta do the math and go with what you know you can fill. I still ended up paying for rooms as only 16 can go, but what're you gonna do? People are people...

                   

                  4. How much money did you have to put down per room? --> We blocked 10 rooms at $250/person per night, so we had to pay $2500 at signing and another $2500 maybe a month later, which was half the room block total. Once people started booking, our deposit was moved into our Master Account to pay for our wedding.

                   

                  5. If a lower rate was offered later in the year after you had already blocked the rooms at a certain price, did your contracts have clauses that required the hotel to offer you the discounted price even for those rooms that had been reserved at the higher price? --> Nope. I've spoken with a bride who was marrying at the same place in June 2012 and they never gave her as low a rate as they gave me. I think it had to do with their packages changing. Anyone marrying there now must have at least 25 people. That wasn't the case with mine. If so, how are you notified of that lower price or do you need to be vigilant and frequently checking the hotel's prices for any drop in rates? --> Couldn't say. I would be vigilant b/c I'm Type A like that, lol. I don't know if the hotel would notify you. Maybe negotiate it into your contract.

                   

                  6. What time of year do you get the best rates for January - March in Mexico? That is high season for travel so I am wondering when you would luck out the most with lower prices. --> If you want lower rates in Mexico, then you'd have to travel during low season period. High season rates may come with some concessions, but I highly doubt it. I chose low season b/c the date was more meaningful and it was cheaper. They know June is there rainy season and they'll have low occupancy, so they're willing to stretch a little more.

                   

                  Hope everything I've said helps. You wrote back in April so this is probably not very useful to you in June. Anyways, all the best!



                   



                  #9 AfricanVenus

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                    Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:39 PM

                    Actually, when people bailed, we had to pay a penalty (1 night's stay).  We ended up filling all the rooms, but we paid for some of them (i.e. photographer). It was written in our contract that we'd pay a penalty if we didn't fill the block. We decided if we weren't able to fill and we'd have to pay anyway, might as well put our photog in the room. The hotel would give us complimentary things if we filled the block. When we weren't able to do so, they said we could keep all the complimentary stuff  if we paid the penalty. So, it really depends on the hotel.


                    Heaven endures and the Earth lasts a long time, because they do not live for themselves. ~~Our story endures: June 25, 2011~~
                    Wedsite: kosha.projectwedding.com

                    #10 BeesBride

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                      Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:07 PM

                      Hi AfricanVenus, I am in the process of negotiating/signing a contract with GV Nayarit (same place as yours) and I have down graded the minimum room requirements since I expect some people to be flaky. What was the number of rooms you held? I initially had 25 and downgraded to 15... still haven't signed the contract yet as I want to hedge my risk as much as possible.






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