Hotel Day is Tuesday, 24 March

21 MARCH 2015

CCI has finally announced Hotel Day: 9 am PST Tuesday morning, 24 March. It's time to pick out your six hotels and find an ingenious way to disappear from your job for about 15 minutes. Yes, that's really all it takes - this isn't a protracted process like badge sales.

If this is your first hotel sale, read on.

Get prepared now.

Study the list of available hotels. This may all look a bit overwhelming if you're new to San Diego Comic-Con or if you've never been to San Diego, so I'm going to do another post shortly on which hotels are "good" and what you need to consider.

The sale itself is very simple.

You’ll hit the link and pick your six top hotels, in order of preference. You can also call the Travel Planners phone line at 1.877.552.6642 or 1.212.532.1660. Which is better? I'd go online but some people have had great luck with Travel Planners.

Travel Planners, by the way, is CCI’s partner in their hotel doings. They handle other conventions as well. That doesn't mean the process is flawless; most of us have suffered at their hands at one point or another, from downgraded rooms to disappearing reservations to the time a TP agent told me over the phone I hadn't gotten a room at all, about an hour before my reservation for the Marriott Marquis showed up. My advice on dealing with them: be your most charming, obsequious self. 

You won't know which hotel you got for a few days.

You’ll get an email confirming your picks, then another email days later telling you which hotel the system placed you in. It may or may not be one of your picks.

Once you get your reservation email, you’ll log into the system and pay a two-night deposit.

Your deposit is refundable for a while.

You'll be able to cancel until 15 April. After that, one night of your two-night deposit will become non-refundable; after 16 May, both nights will be non-refundable. But you won't be asked to pay anything else until you arrive at the Con. So if you're reserving 4 nights, and you decide to bail on that last night once you're there (a lot of people do this) you can as long as you comply with that hotel's cancellation policy.

The system has operated smoothly the last few years. 

By smoothly, I don't mean "flawlessly." People still run into tech snafus. But most people have gotten into the system or through the phone lines - eventually. If you're new, Tuesday may strike you as a weird, inefficient process. I've noticed a lot of first-timers expressing disgust with the general SDCC sale infrastructure. So allow me to put on my hard-bitten veteran hat and tell you that it used to be MUCH worse. So many crashes. Entire sale days canceled because the network couldn't handle our masses. Years where I only got my hotel by calling Travel Planners and giving all of my information to a woman who wrote it down by hand because their computers, all of them, were down.

You can change your hotel if you don't like it, but your options will be very limited.

After Tuesday's sale, hotel reservations will shut down for a bit. Then they'll open back up on 8 April and you'll be allowed to go into the system, view available rooms and pick whatever looks better than your current assignment. The thing is, there aren't rooms at the Hilton Bayfront hanging out in there because no one gives up those rooms. So by and large you're exchanging a not-ideal choice for another not-ideal choice, though on occasion you could get lucky.

My advice here is to go ahead and put down the deposit on your current room - remember, you have a while to get it back. In the meantime, start looking for other rooms, look on Craigslist, look on Airbnb. Consider also splitting your stay - maybe you can't get all 4 nights at your dream hotel but you could get 1 or 2.

And don't give up. Over the next three months, people will let go of their rooms. Companies with reserved rooms at adjacent hotels may pull out or reduce the number needed; attendees will let go of rooms they booked long ago on their own; people might get buyer’s remorse after deciding to splurge on an expensive Hyatt suite. Stay diligent and you might find something.

So those are the basics. Later I'll post my advice on which hotels to go after, which strategies to use, and a few considerations that aren't always obvious.

And remember - if this is all too much for you and you can't face another sale, Early Bird is still available for the next few days. But since you obviously got lucky in the badge sale, you probably feel confident your luck will continue. I hope you're right.



  1. Do you know why some of the hotels have NA under the 2 or more adults column? There are 3 of us going together. we will need two beds or a bed and a pullout. I under stand NA if there is only one bed but some rooms list a king bed and a pullout but still say NA?

    1. It's just their way of letting you know there definitely are not 2 beds in this room, since the column says 2 beds. You'll be fine with anything that says king bed and pullout - in fact, you'll be safer, since it's entirely possible to book a 2 bed room and wind up in a small room with just a king, no sofa. It's happened to me.