Event Crashers Like to Steal Your Hotel Block Discount Codes

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Here's an underhanded way to get a hotel discount: Claim you're somebody's wedding guest.

Personal finance writer Kelli B. Grant was worried that two blocks of hotel rooms reserved for guests attending her wedding weren’t filling up as they should, so she called to check with the hotels.

“There was one unfamiliar name at the local Holiday Inn, where a Paul Marion had booked into the block using an online code, and another at the Hampton Inn & Suites, a Winferd Keaton,” Grant wrote on CNBC. “The hotel coordinator said that when pressed, Keaton claimed he was a guest of a guest of the groom — of course the bride didn’t know him.” Uh-huh.

Both reservations were canceled by the “guests,” but after talking to some industry experts, Grant says it may be a growing problem. Wedding crashers these days  would rather score a hotel discount than swipe some free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. After all, they don’t risk a nervous interaction with your party that way, and it’s apparently pretty easy to do.

“Last year, 68 percent of couples had a wedding website, up from 60 percent in 2009, according to TheKnot.com,” Grant wrote. Many of them are left open to public viewing, and many of them — to make it easier for guests — list all the information needed to book at the discounted rate. Just search for a wedding block in a certain city on a certain date, and bingo.

Planners can prevent that by password-protecting the page or, obviously, not listing the discount code online. Hotels aren’t that bothered about it, Grant says, because at least they’re booking the room to somebody. In theory, it could also help wedding planners meet their block quota — the number of rooms they need to book to get the discount.

The risk is that crashers will raise the bill for planners by taking breakfast, shuttle service, or other add-on items left available in the room, Grant says.

Have you had experience with people crashing your big event? Let us know on Facebook.

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