Crafting your Hotel Day strategy

23 APRIL 2017

Did you obsess over the SDCC hotel sale all weekend?  You can do Early Bird while there's still time - but if you're willing to roll the dice on Wednesday, here's what you should know.

Calling Vs Online

Everyone wants to know which is faster. You'll hear conflicting reports but overall, it is hard to get through on the phone, and I personally find it nervewracking and a big dodgy to verbally give my preferences to someone writing or typing them down. Phone requests take longer than filling out the form online and human error is more likely. Still, nothing's stopping you from doing both and seeing which gets in first.


One of the biggest - and most justified -  grievances of the hotel sale is that even a whiff of duplication can get a request cancelled. Let's say you and your spouse, who share a last name and address, both put in requests, or you and your roommate do. In the past, this has allegedly caused requests to vanish. Hopefully that won't be the case this year, but try to differentiate your requests as much as you can.

Downtown vs Non-Downtown Hotels

If you're new to San Diego Comic-Con, you might be wondering which hotel is best. So I'll give it to you bluntly: you can't afford to be picky. You might hear that the Hyatt bar gets intriguing at night, or you'll see lots of famous faces at the Hard Rock, but ultimately you'll be best off considering your price point and how close you want to be - and how likely you are to get your wish. Competition for downtown hotels is steep. Many of those rooms have already been claimed by studios and publishers. And room exchanges - which have always been a fallback practiced by attendees in the know - are harder to pull off than ever. 

I've paid ungodly amounts for downtown rooms - and have an expensive Hyatt reservation waiting for me at this very moment - so I will sound like a hypocrite now by telling you that non-downtown rooms are not that bad. But it's true. You'll save money, you can take the shuttle to and from the Con, and it can be quite nice to get away from the Comic-Con madness at night. Speaking of night, if you're going to be camping anywhere overnight for Hall H or other panels/rooms/drawings - does it matter that you're staying at Humphrey's Half Moon Inn? Your hotel room is just a place to collapse at varying intervals between panels and parties and lines.

Amenities, Restaurants and Parking

A few considerations here. One: you might envision yourself getting a massage at your hotel spa or drinking tequila at the pool bar, but those visions should not steer your hotel choices. You'll be busier than you think and probably won't see much of your hotel offerings. (Although if you want to get together with your friends, a pool night is a more relaxing option than a Gaslamp bar crawl.) As for restaurants, remember that the shuttle will bus you around wherever you want to go, and picking a hotel with great restaurants is inconsequential. You'll have plenty of places to eat wherever you are. Finally, remember that downtown hotel parking can be pricey - you should count on paying upwards of $30-40 a day, so add that to your mental estimate. (Along with assorted taxes and fees that can take your nightly rate way up.)

6 or 12 Choices

So we've got the opportunity to request 6 downtown and 6 non-downtown hotels. What does this mean? It means that if you only want to stay downtown, I think you're better off skipping the non-downtown part and checking yes for the waitlist. Otherwise you'll probably wind up in Mission Valley and that'll be it. But if you just want to lock down a room, definitely use all 12 of your picks.

The Pendry and Hotel Z

There have been high expectations for the Pendry's 300+ downtown rooms to brighten the sale - but San Diego's fanciest new hotel is not listed on the sample form. It's also not available for reservation during SDCC. Did powerful Hollywood gods snap up all the rooms? Will it be on the final form? I don't know. Hotel Z isn't on the form either but their rooms are available for reservation; I think Friday night is sold out and the others were about $500 a night last I checked.

The Waitlist

There's no mention of the waitlist in the official description of the hotels sale - but it is listed on the form. Here's the question though; options include "Book me at a hotel that is closest/low rate/on the shuttle route" and "If none of my preferred hotel choices are available, disregard my request completely." Some people are questioning if choosing the latter means your request is literally disregarded completely - even if you check "Place me on the waitlist." They could have worded this with more clarity, but I believe that checking yes for the waitlist will preserve you - even if you refuse to accept anything but your preferred choices.

The Processing Order

CCI says that requests will be processed based on entry into the session. Does that mean you should give up if you don't get picked until 30 minutes in? No - hang in there no matter what. Get your request formally submitted and hope for the best. Last year people who got in later sometimes got better rooms than the earlier-picked, and there were conflicting messages about just how randomized it all was. The year before was a storm of glitches. Don't sabotage yourself by giving up. Hang in there, do your best and screenshot any problems.

The Odds

You are not competing with 130,000 other attendees. You are competing with pros and vendors who want to upgrade their existing reservations, people who don't have badges but want to come hang out, and the public at large. Plus those 130,000 attendees.

If you've never done the hotel sale before, you won't know immediately how you did. Instead you'll get an email on 1 May or 8 May. (Yes, that week in between is going to be a killer.) Most of us will be unhappy; we'll get a hotel below our standards or no hotel at all. Attendees will be scrambling to lock down Airbnbs, condos, spare couches and roommates. If you're one of them, remember that at least you have a badge - and that's what matters. No matter where you sleep at night, you'll be at San Diego Comic-Con during the day and that's what counts.

Good luck. Let's hope for a smooth sale.


  1. 1. How did you get a room at the hyatt
    2. Should I list all 5 people on my room or just 2
    3. If we pick the any rate choice, does that mean CCI rate or regular?

  2. 1) They accepted SDCC week reservations for a brief window last year.
    2) List 4. If you put just you and yourself, you could end up in one those small rooms with 1 bed. Request a room with 2 beds.
    3) They don't specify but it's almost certainly CCI's rate.

    Good luck.