Hotel Hell: where we are and what to do

27 MARCH 2015

The sun is setting on day 4 of what has truly been a San Diego Comic-Con nightmare. As best as I can tell, nothing has been resolved. By now, everyone knows where they stand - which hotel they got, if they got one, or if they got utterly denied.

There have been so many bizarre elements to both the sale and the aftermath that I can't even summarize them all. Here's what matters:

CCI still hasn't made a statement. Not an apology, not an explanation, not even the most cursory acknowledgement. It's stunning.

It's clear there won't be any do-over or any kind of effective resolution. You got dealt the hand you got dealt - capricious, unfair, catastrophic - and there won't be one atom of accountability or remorse coming your way.

Thousands of attendees are homeless. People who beat enormous odds in Pre-reg and Open Reg are now finding themselves literally with nowhere to stay. Some of them will probably have to turn in their badges. Can you imagine a more bitter reversal of fortune for someone whose dream has been to finally attend San Diego Comic-Con?

And my own unprovable conviction: something tipped the scales for this sale. It's not just a matter of technical inadequacy. I don't have the number of people who are currently unhoteled, but the emails I've gotten and the online stories I've seen indicate a much higher than usual number. Again: more hotel rooms than ever were made available this year. The number of attendees is the same. So who booked all the rooms?

At the end of the day, this Con doesn't exist without the attendees. We are its lifeblood - not the celebrities, not the vendors. We are the ones pouring cash into San Diego's economy every summer. I am so tired of the general attitude that attendees are a rabid tribe of fans who are lucky to go to Comic-Con. No, we're paying customers. And everyone else who shows up here and gets preferential treatment over us is here because they want to sell us something. We should not be treated like third-class citizens. I don't know how CCI's leadership sleeps at night.

For now, if you're one of the ones who got shut out this week, your options are limited. You can wait for 8 April when the system opens back up - though I anticipate that will be its own frustrating meltdown - and you can scout around on Airbnb, place ads on Craigslist, and best of all, try for room swaps. See who needs a roommate. See who has a room they're letting go of, and see if they're willing to transfer it to you. An amazing attendee transferred his room at the Hard Rock to me; there are others out there in that boat but you've got to act now because the deposit needs to be made quickly. Social media and the Friends of CCI site are best for this but don't hesitate to ask around your digital communities too. This is a situation where everyone has to be proactive and make their own luck happen. Just be careful.

And keep communicating - we're obviously not going to get a clear accounting of this situation, so all we can do is be open and transparent with each other.

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