Q: I’m planning my destination wedding and I’m a little confused about how to handle the wedding accommodations. Since I don’t yet know how many people are going to come, how do I estimate the number of rooms ahead of time?
I get this question all the time and it’s a perfectly valid question to ask because you’re right, if you don’t know how many people are coming, how do you know how many rooms to reserve? What you have to do is take your best guess and then reduce that number. It’s a 4 step process, but don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it.
First, you want to look at your guest list and just take your best guess on who you think will most likely come or not come. You should think about what you know of people’s time, their financial situation, their health or physical situation, whether they are travellers and how close they are to you. These are the 5 factors that will play into their decision.
Sometimes one of these factors will trump all the others like how close they are to you. For example, even if your best friend doesn’t have tons of money and isn’t a traveller, they wouldn’t miss your wedding for anything.
Now that you have your best guess on each of your wedding guests, see what your real number of attendees is now. Maybe it’s half or a quarter of the invited guests. It doesn’t matter what that number is, but this is a helpful number for you to use not only for your wedding accommodations but for planning purposes like your budget, venue size and other per person costs.
Ok, so now that you have your estimated attending list, you want to look at this refined list and see if there is anyone who sticks out as someone who would most likely do their own thing. For example, maybe you have a brother or a friend who always wants to book the cheapest hotel or get an Airbnb. Or maybe you have a cousin who is all about their timeshare.
You may not have any of these types of people attending or you may just have a few, but if you know of who most likely won’t book via your reserved rooms, then you can remove them from the list.
So, now you have a super refined number of people who most likely will attend and who most likely will book at your hotel or are unknown. You want to now take this number and look at it from a room perspective. For example, if you have 50 guests, but they are all couples, that is 25 rooms. Or if some of them are families, then 4 people may only need 1 room, but they need a room with 2 beds. Reorganize your list to get an idea of the number of rooms this list equates to.
Woo hoo, you’ve made it to the last step! What you want to do now is take the number of rooms that you figured out in Step 3 and reduce it by about 20%. So, if you have 25 rooms for your 50 guests, then you should book about 20 rooms.
The 20% reduction isn’t a hard and fast number and it doesn’t always work for everyone, so you can adjust the percentage to be higher or lower (10-40%) depending on your needs. However, the idea is that you should feel like the number you come to covers most people and their wedding accommodations, but leaves room for outliers who may not come or want to do their own thing (which will happen). You want to feel comfortable with this number because you’ll be on the hook for those rooms if they don’t book.
Now you’ve got a good estimated guess and can get started on reserving your hotel room blocks and taking care of your wedding accommodations!
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