If you lost out on Hotel Day, you no doubt have this date emblazoned across your memory - but here it is anyhow: hotel reservations reopen Wednesday, 8 April, at 9 am PST.
It will not go like Hotel Day did. This is an entirely different system. If you logged into the Early Bird sale and looked it over, it'll look a lot like that process. You'll log in and be able to view hotel availability for specific dates. You'll have the option of booking only a few nights here and a few nights there, if you want to.
At least - that's how it should go. Last year, this was the brutal sale day, worse than either registration or Hotel Day. People had a tough time getting in. Is that going to happen this year? I'm going to say it's highly possible, given the high number of people who either got no room at all or hate the room they were assigned.
Because that's the rub here; Wednesday isn't just for people without a room, but for anyone who wants to change the room they do have. And that's a lot of people. So don't expect to see 4-night rooms at the Hyatt, Hiltons or Marriott Marquis just hanging out, waiting to be booked.
On that note, here's my 2nd reminder: for those of you who've already paid your deposit on your current room, your money is only refundable until 15 April. So you only have a week left to make alternate arrangements.
A few considerations:
- This isn't all or nothing like Hotel Day. You can divvy up your nights, with 2 nights at a mediocre hotel and 2 nights at your dream hotel. Changing horses mid-Con is really not that big a deal unless you're one of those people who travel with every last possession they own.
- Think about removing a night from your stay. It's not just about saving money, but opening up more options. Twice I've canceled my room for Saturday night because I knew I would either stay out all night or crash with friends. If you have serious Hall H intentions and are coming prepared with a pillow and sleeping bag, why pay for a room? This approach depends on your appetite for risk, but if you can find 3 nights at a great hotel and you really need 4, I'd lock down the 3 nights now and worry about the 4th later.
- Keep communicating with attendees. Don't be shy about asking (or outright begging) for help. There are still people out there looking for roommates and looking to swap rooms. There are also attendees who booked nonrefundable rooms months and months ago, but then scored a cheaper room on Hotel Day - and now they're looking for an attendee to take over the nonrefundable reservation. But if you stay stoic and isolated, you'll never luck into anything of this.
- Don't worry about not getting a room at all - for the most part. Every year, there have been hotel rooms lingering in the system weeks after the fever died down. Were they ideal hotels? No, but they were available, which is about as ideal as it gets for a homeless badged person. So I'm going to say that mostly you should feel secure about finding something - and I only say mostly because room availability this year seems to have skewed by a mysterious force. But overall, I feel confident that most attendees will find something. (Lots of 'mosts' in this paragraph.)
I'll be monitoring the system on Wednesday and crossing my fingers that it goes more smoothly than Hotel Day did. Good luck - even if you washed out a few weeks ago, this may work out better for you than anticipated.