17 FEBRUARY 2012
Here's something new and different: the chance to book your hotel before you buy your badge. Yep, that is the premise of the "Comic Con Early Bird Hotel Sale" which offers you the chance to book a non-refundable room at a Mission Valley hotel (that's far from the Con, for you rookies) without even knowing if you'll get a badge.
To summarize: Some hotels can be booked now at Con rates. You must pay now and your money is non-refundable. Even if you don't get a badge - or if your friends don't get a badge, or more friends than expected get a badge and want to stay with you - you are stuck paying for this room. You can see the hotels and rates here.
The benefits of this are booking a relatively inexpensive room without suffering the madness and uncertainty of Hotel Day. You're trading a shot at a closer/better hotel for economic savings and less stress - unless you don't get a badge at all, in which case you're screwed.
Now obviously there's about 10,000 people who already have badges who may be interested. Although those 10,000 people can also safely be placed in the upper percentile of Comic Con zealotry, given the lengths they went to to procure those pre-registration badges last summer. I'm guessing some of them already have safety rooms booked (by safety rooms, I mean the rooms at less-appealing hotels that you cancel as soon as you score Con-rate rooms at better hotels.) I'm also guessing most of them won't want to be staying out on Hotel Circle.
But what do I know, my perspective is skewed by my Gaslamp Quarter must-stay-next-door snobbery. Plenty of people apparently don't mind staying at distant hotels* (which do offer a nice reprieve from Con craziness, as I've noted before) so maybe this is a good move. At least CCI is trying new methods to assuage the annual registration and hotel woes.
* If you are new to the Con - please read my Hotels page. You should note that CCI offers a good shuttle service to most of the distant hotels so don't think you're stranded if you decide to stay with one of them. Just be aware the shuttle service stops running at a certain hour so if you stay out late downtown, you will need to take a taxi back.