Happy Valentine's Day! If you were a normal person, your thoughts tonight would be on romance and gifts and the highway robbery that is the price of a fancy dinner reservation - but because you're a San Diego Comic-Con devotee, you're probably just thinking about hotel rooms. And not for Valentine reasons.
We are in traditional SDCC hotel room season. You know how these weeks feel. Early Bird rooms are available and you can't decide if you should be practical and resign yourself to a lot of shuttle rides or gamble on Hotel Day. You want the actual sale to happen but you dread it too. There's never a perfect answer where you can get a reasonably priced room that's refundable and downtown and a sure thing. Your options are pretty much:
- Pay an obscene rate to book a downtown room of your own accord
- Pay a cheap rate for an Early Bird room that is ... not downtown
- Pray to the SDCC gods to get lucky in the Hotel Day sale
You know it's brutal if you've survived the last few sales. It really does seem to get more hopeless each year. And it's not just the sheer bad odds of it all; there's always some kind of unforeseen glitch that gives you the wrong form, boots you out entirely, freezes you, erroneously cancels your room because someone else has the same last name, etc. Hotel Day has become far more stressful than the badge sales for most of us - and let's be honest, this year won't be any better.
On that cheerful note, let's talk about two things - the Early Bird Sale and the hotel sale date.
The Early Bird Sale is still live. However, the best hotel in my opinion - Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina - is sold out and so are 4 others. 6 hotels still have rooms, including the reliable Town and Country. One reason you should pursue this option: because chances are high that you won't do any better during the actual hotel sale. That includes those of you who are lucky and special and sympatico with Fate. I used to always score too - something I chalked up to my glowing Comic-Con karma, and then one day I got this:
I know you're probably going to bet the farm on Hotel Day. That's just the kind of risk-takers we are. But remember that it's one or the other - Early Bird shuts off before the sale.
Speaking of, we still don't know the date of Hotel Day. CCI has created a tradition of emailing me my worst results while I'm at Emerald City Comicon - so maybe Feb. 28 (2 weeks from today) will be the magic day. I cancelled an Oregon hiking trip on this day and 3% of my reason was the impending hotel sale. But it's just as likely that the first 2 weeks of March will be the time, and slightly less likely that the latter 2 will. Given how unpredictable CCI has been with sale dates, who really knows. They love to surprise us.
Most of the good backup rooms have been snapped up if you're looking to book on your own. But you should still look and work whatever San Diego connections you have to see who has a condo, guest room or timeshare they might loan out. Lots of attendees are open to finding roommates. If you're the type who just wants a pillow, a couch and a shower, consider teaming up with a larger group. You'll have more options at a cheaper rate.
The point is that you can take control of your fate - sort of - by amassing a few options, which will make Hotel Day feel a lot less fatal. Because it's coming and we all know it'll be gruesome. Do what you can now to build yourself a safety net.