12 MARCH 2015
We're just 12 days out from Hotel Day. CCI hasn't offered us much information yet, so let's assume it'll mimic the process of recent years - you log in, pick 6 hotels and wait for the email telling you where they put you. (When the system opens up days later, you can try to switch your room, though there's rarely any downtown rooms available.)
In the meantime, there are things you can do to get ready.
Look at previous hotel listings.
Prices will be higher this year and some hotels may have jumped off the list or been added, but by and large, these are your options. This list is from 2013.
Decide where you want to stay.
Don't immediately conclude you're gunning for the Marriott Marquis; there are drawbacks and advantages to all hotels that should be considered.
Adjacent: The Marriott Marquis and Hilton Bayfront bracket either side of the convention center. The Manchester Grand Hyatt is on the other side of the Marriott; Omni and Hard Rock and Hilton Gaslamp are across the street but still quite close. These hotels are the most expensive and among the most in demand - not just with attendees but vendors, pros, etc. So know that if you demand only these, you will reduce your odds of landing at a hotel on your list.
Downtown/Gaslamp: This is an overlooked category. You're still in walking distance to the Con and in the thick of the restaurants and bars that will comprise your nightlife. Lots of meetups, parties and screenings will happen here, so these hotels can involve the least amount of walking - you can take the shuttle to the Con and find everything else right out your front door.
Mission Valley/Airport: Don't sneer at these right off; you'll save considerable money if you stay out here, you'll still have free transportations to the Con, and you'll be able to detach from the madness each night. That is not a small thing. Plus a lot of impromptu parties start up on Hotel Circle among attendees who don't feel like going back downtown.
My strategy is always the same: pick a mix of top-tier hotels (if you can afford them) and less desirable but still acceptable hotels. Don't get hung up on online reviews and amenities; you will scarcely notice the color of your hotel room carpet, because you'll be so busy at the Con, and tired when you're in your room.
I'll post tips on actually getting rooms in the sale as we get closer.