I used HotelPlanner.com and it worked out well. You put it your event details and then hotels send you bids. You can see in their bids whether they're courtesy blocks or not. I ended up with courtesy blocks at different price points. I think most people will AirBNB
I used the tool on WW and really liked it. You just type in some information so they know what type of hotel you are looking for and what area you would like it in. After that you will start getting emails showing hotels that have availability and their information. You can choose to respond to the bid for more information or to decline the bid. It was super easy and I got way more hotel bids then I thought I would.
I'm using it. The bid from one hotel was better than when I called them up a few months ago and asked how much the rooms would be. The annoying part is I've been bombarded with emails (and a phone call and text) asking if we've made a decision yet.
I used it, and when I called to work out some last details with one of the hotel managers, she mentioned that she could cut me a better deal outside of HotelPlanner because they tack on a couple bucks to get their cut.
I contacted the other two hotels we were using and the confirmed, so I renegotiated the lower rates.
I used it and really liked it. But it just made it easier, I also booked our hotel block a year and a half ahead and got amazing rates. Their nightly rate for 12/31 the cheapest is 288.00 before taxes. Ours was 154 for city view, 174 for lake view. I almosttttt feel bad for those who booked after the block closed, but not really because we put the information in the STD and sent invites out on October 6th (90% OOT, 3 hours plus). People are STILL calling/texting about the hotel. The hotel now has 2 rooms left in total for NYE. Sorry but I am not.
I used it, but my results were are all over the place. A majority of hotels never responded, or were completely booked. One quoted me almost triple the price that I saw on their website. I did successfully book one hotel block though, process was pretty simple.
Didn't use it as it provided hotels no where near our location. Ended up contacting hotels in the venue area and booked directly through them. Mine however was not a courtesy block, but we didn't have issues as we gaged room requirement minimums purely off of VIP and backed into the number. (For example I knew we'd have 40 rooms booked so I set the block up for 57, as I needed to fill 70%, I was able to add more as required too. Once I hit like 45 I added whatever number that was 70% off).