Surprise! Hotel Day will be a lottery, just like you never wanted

30 MARCH 2016

Remember last year when you came out of Hotel Day with post-traumatic stress disorder? Remember how you or your friends begged all the nerd gods in heaven to make CCI change their hotel room reservation process?

Well, they have, and not everyone is so happy about it. Welcome to the 2nd (maybe 3rd if you did Pre-reg) waiting room and lottery of San Diego Comic-Con 2016. Hotel Day has changed.

I feel mostly numb about this, probably because I got the worst possible outcome last year (got in at 9:03, got the dreaded "all hotel rooms were booked by the time…" email) and so I know that given all the tech madness that can transpire, Hotel Day is already somewhat of a lottery. But those of you who have a game plan in action, who have your autofill ready to go, are probably peeved.

So yes, you'll log into a waiting room and be randomly picked for lodgings. Just like before, you'll submit your 6 choices. CCI counsels you to "be realistic" which I don't recall them doing before; they come right out and say that you probably aren't going to score the Hilton Bayfront.  (I'll address your strategy in a separate post.)

While Tuesday's sale is positioned as being for "pros and badge holders" I don't see any mention of Member IDs or special codes that would keep outsiders out. Which is a bit galling, since that's traditionally been a sore point with attendees. I think we can all agree that those of us with actual badges should be prioritized in hotel reservations, but it sounds like the link will let anyone in.

And CCI also comes out and says they anticipate the site being "very slow to respond" at times. So if you were thinking this would be a typical 5-minutes-or-less process like usual, you may want to rethink that. I imagine this is going to be a problem for people with 8-5 office jobs, who may need to be out of meetings and attending to the sale for a while. Will it be up to an hour like with Open Reg? Hard to say, but I'd block time on your calendar and make up whatever excuse you have to.

I'll post later on hotel choice strategies, particularly for first-timers. For now - remember that Early Bird is still available. If you're freaking out about ending up homeless in the hotel lottery, go book a room right now and call it a day. You can skip the double dip of anguish that is next week - both Tuesday's lottery and getting your results email a few days later.

Stay strong. The worst is almost over.

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