First off, thanks so much for all the great information on this site..it has been extremely helpful!!
I am currently in the middle of the contract phase with an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta the weekend of May 8th 2015. Most of the contract looks good (room rates, etc.), but my family and I are pretty concerned about the cancellation and room attrition penalties. After reading the contract, it looks like there are some clauses that penalize you if users don't book the rooms on the block. While I understand that this is a common practice, the time-frames they are giving us seem way out of line (especially for only booking 40 rooms out of 250+ at the resort).
They aren't really giving me any time to get an idea of how many guests we will have for the block. Yes, I've put together an estimate, but as soon as we sign the contract, we have less than 2 weeks to even have the option to adjust the block by 10%. I feel as if this is making me pick the number of guests with a 5% margin of error :-).
In regards to the cancellation policy, it makes me completely liable for the wedding AND the room fees if the event were to be cancelled. While I'm not concerned about this, you never know what may happen in regards to external factors (e.g. people worry about traveling to mexico due to drug cartel violence, USA issues a warning, etc). Again, the minute I sign the contract, I am responsible for the wedding, and 40 rooms for two nights if something goes wrong.
I would really appreciate it if anyone has any feedback regarding whether these are normal practices. Don't most hotels give you the option to change the number of rooms in your block up to a few months in advance? Is 5% extremely strict (I've read that 80% is the norm). Is this something that you think the hotel would be willing to negotiate with me on?
Very sorry for the lengthy thread. Thanks so much in advance!!!