25 MARCH 2015
It's becoming clear just how ugly yesterday was.
The SDCC Unofficial Blog put together an excellent recap of yesterday's hotel disaster, including screenshots of the two forms. I highly suggest reading this.
We do know Travel Planners is trying to recompense those who were failed in yesterday's sale. However, it's clear not everyone is going to enjoy a 2nd shot at picking hotels. I expect the fallout to get even uglier over the next few days as more emails go out and some people realize there won't be any solution coming their way.
We're dealing with several groups of people. Loosely defined, they are:
Group 1: people like me who got in and enjoyed the "good form" after mild page loading delays
Group 2: people who got in and got the wheel form or the "bad form" where they couldn't pick more than 1 hotel or couldn't prioritize hotels, and sometimes had the form auto-submit
Group 3: people who experienced pervasive white pages of death and just could not get into the system until far into the sale
It appears that my group, the first, has the best shot at getting a good room. But Travel Planners did let some people in Group 2 resubmit their 6 hotels while honoring the original timestamp - which could mean that the ones who autosubmitted without going through the whole process got a great timestamp.
I'm not actually concerned with that, though - I'm more concerned that many people in Group 2 didn't get a timestamp or have time to leave identifying information before they got booted. And then there are the people who realized they were in a bad form, left the system and went back in to start the process all over again, giving them an even worse timestamp than they would have had.
How can Travel Planners make this right? I think the most fair way would be to cancel the whole shebang and reschedule Hotel Day. Too many people got shafted. Too many people got an unfair advantage. I doubt that'll happen, though.
Finally, I have to criticize CCI in this whole mess. I realize Travel Planners is the agency handling the sale, but CCI outsourced to them and ultimately it's CCI's responsibility to at least communicate transparently about this massive, outrageous disaster. It's their paying customers who just suffered at the hands of an inadequate system. However, a look at their Twitter account, Facebook page and their Toucan blog shows nothing but perky updates about WonderCon.
This is exactly the kind of thing that makes CCI look like a weak organization with none of the communication savvy that's required in the digital age. Even a brief message like "We apologize for the problems with yesterday's sale. Please be assured we are working with Travel Planners to rectify XYZ" would at least tell attendees that CCI gives a tiny rat's ass about their satisfaction. A tweet. An email. Anything. (And no, the emails a few people got last night don't cut it.)
Sometimes people ask me, "Why are there so many blogs about San Diego Comic-Con?" This is why. We may not have all the answers, but we do communicate. Maybe not perfectly, but we try.
ETA 1:41 pm PST: People are increasingly twitchy about not getting any kind of email at all. I haven't either, but I am not concerned in the least. Please don't worry about this. Emails are always a gradual process with SDCC sales, and given the current situation, it's likely that Travel Planners will need to hit the reset button on at least some of their plans. Maybe assignments will happen on time and maybe they won't, but you will hear eventually.
I know it's easy to let your ever-simmering attendee paranoia whisper that your submission was lost and you won't get a room at all, but that is so unlikely that it's just not worth worrying about in the least. Try to focus on the positive: San Diego Comic-Con start 15 weeks from today and you are going to have a glorious time.