The current SDCC hotel situation

9 MAY 2017

This year has been an odd one for hotels. There's been less drama than we had in the past 2 years, but it seems that more people than ever got shut out. The difference is the way the notifications have been staggered, which has kept people waiting and hoping instead of finding out in one fell swoop that they didn't get a room.

I don't have any great answers for you but I will advise you to get active. Find a room or lodgings outside of the CCI system, advertise for roommates, do whatever you have to. If you want to email a complaint to CCI or OnPeak, do so - but do so in a cogent manner, rather than just cursing at them. They already know we're livid.

On the following topics....


Everyone is trying to figure out why their friend got a room and they didn't. There are probably more factors in play than just a timestamp, but at the end of the day, waving your timestamp flag isn't going to get you a room. I'm not being callous here; I just think too many people think pointing out this system isn't fair, logical and transparent will change something. It won't - at least, not this year.

I think it would be less maddening to turn this into a parking-type lottery. We'd all have a window of time to submit our entries and they would be selected and fulfilled randomly. Still lots of disappointment, but we'd stop bashing our head against the wall trying to understand apparent inconsistencies in assignments.

I also think they should have sent out all of the emails at once, whether you got a room or didn't. I knew many people who were certain they'd get a good room yesterday and didn't. That was another week lost when they could have been trying to find something.

Early Bird and Safety Rooms 

If controlling your hotel outcome is important to you, if you don't have the stomach for this rollercoaster, do Early Bird or book a backup. It's obvious that landing a downtown room happens to a minority of people. Early Bird isn't going to involve the hotel of your dreams, but you will have something. As for backup rooms, they are available if you look around. Yes, they're more expensive than you'd like. I have a Hyatt backup right now for $2265 + tax for 4 nights. If you put 4 people in that room (it has 2 beds) that's just over 600 a person for the entire Con. I still remember my early SDCC days when I was young and destitute so I do realize that's out of many budgets. But it's not a bad price to be that close to the Con in a nice hotel without relying on the hotel sale. If you can afford it, consider this option.

Making an Exchange

I've seen some salty talk on "room hoarding." I understand how aggravating it is to feel like an outsider in the attendee world as you read about people swapping rooms and celebrating buying group victories. But no one goes to Comic-Con automatically knowing a ton of people. People meet each other waiting in line for panels, through Twitter, in hotel saunas, on ferries to Coronado, through comic shops, blogs, etc. If you want to be more "connected," it's easy to do - join the online conversation, go to Con events and mention that you want to be part of things. Volunteer. Con people are friendly and you'll be accepted no matter how much of a shy little oddball you are.

I also don't know of anyone who got a bunch of rooms to pass out; it's more likely that people funnel rooms through the people most active on social media or certain forums. So if you're upset because you don't know how people are getting rooms transferred to them, I'd recommend reading the blogs, Facebook groups, Reddit, Friends of Comic-Con, etc. It's usually just a matter of being active and attentive.

Finally, if you're worried that transfers and exchanges are sketchy, they're really not. I was on both ends in this last week and in each case it was taken care of quickly with no risk for anyone. Obviously use your best judgement if someone asks for something unseemly, but generally you just need the reservation holder's assignment email. You can then call OnPeak and get it put in your name. Very easy.

Pragmatism vs Hope

I'm going to be blunt: there are an astounding number of people who still think there's a surplus of downtown rooms to be handed out. Even weirder, attendees seem to think people will trade an Omni room for Town and Country. That probably isn't going to happen! Be realistic about the inventory left; it's not great.

Which brings me to the waitlist. Last year, depending on when you got in, it wasn't too bad. I think the inventory will be weaker this year. I could be wrong, but I would not stake your hopes on getting the perfect downtown room on the waitlist. You might, but you might also be forced to pick a Mission Valley hotel. Just in case, I'd start looking around on your own now.


I've already heard about one guy planning on charging $250 to give his airport area room away. Don't pay these people! It's not necessary, no matter how desperate you feel. It's also a violation of CCI rules. You will be able to get some kind of room when all is said and done. There are always a few rooms hanging out in the system once the rush to reserve is over.


There seems to be a general consensus that half of all requests have been fulfilled. I haven't conducted a rigorously controlled study, so maybe that's true - but it doesn't seem like it. Last week I gave it an 11:1 ratio; now it's about 6:1. Maybe I just know unlucky people. At any rate, the staggered emails have made it harder to grasp this.

Customer Service

I heard a lot of complaints about OnPeak today. Getting cut off in the middle of a call, rude operators, being put on hold forever, going straight to a recording, inconsistent answers, etc. I think this upsets people as much as not getting a room. Attendees love Comic-Con, we save money all year and plan our summers around it - and then we get treated with stunning callousness. I understand there are not enough downtown rooms to go around, but CCI and OnPeak have got to do a better job of communicating, providing respectful service and being transparent. This is insulting.

The number of rooms up for offer have dwindled significantly this week, but I'm still seeing a few advertised. Do your best, look around and hopefully the waitlist will bring some better news.

No comments:

Post a Comment