Are you ready to conquer the hotel sale?

2 APRIL 2018

Wednesday is Hotel Day. Did you pick your dream hotels yet and review the sample form?

You still have a final chance to swerve off the path to Hell and choose the more peaceful and guaranteed road of Early Bird. Some rooms are still left. And while you may think you're far too lucky or connected to settle for a distant room - many people will indeed find themselves locked out of downtown. That's just how it is these days. But I'm guessing that if you've eschewed Early Bird this far, you won't change your mind now.

Back to the sale. You should know the drill by now: after logging into the waiting room, you'll wait to be randomly assorted into groups to be picked. Last year we all watched a little green man quickly or slowly progress down a bar. Once in, we picked our hotels, completed our information and then waited - for the first batch of assignments and then an agonizing week later, a second batch.

My little man accelerated in almost immediately and that "almost" meant a room at Wyndham Bayside in the second batch of assignments. In other words, only people who got in super fast got those coveted Hard Rock, Marriott and Hilton Bayfront rooms. I don't want to kill your confidence, but it's important to know what the odds are: not good.

But you can worry about the actual assignment emails and the ensuing deposits and exchanges later. Right now you just have to worry about getting through the sale. No payment is required Wednesday and all you need to do is pick your hotels and enter your information.

If you're new, you can read an overview of last year's hotel sale bloodbath here and here. A few strategy tips to keep in mind:

  • If you can afford to pick the "book me into any room closest to Con regardless of rate and shuttle" - your top 6 rooms aren't that critical. They're nice to haves, but you still have that extra cushion that can buy your way into a fancy suite in walking distance.

  • However, if you don't want to choose that option, you might want to be more strategic in your choices. Be realistic: if 5 minutes have already passed, it's unlikely that you'll be assigned the Hilton Bayfront. At that point, it's better to choose hotels that may still be available. 

  • Let go of your Pendry fixation or any other hotel-specific obsession. It's just a place to sleep. If you love a certain hotel, you can still go in and eat at its trendy restaurant and swim under its pool waterfall even if you're not booked there. (Usually.)

  • Use at least 6 choices. Every year I hear from someone who makes just 1 hotel choice instead of 6 or 12, as if their single-minded intensity is going to impress the onPeak staff into assigning them a room there. It doesn't work like that.

  • If you're not sure you're coming for every night of the Con, worry about that later. For now, book the maximum nights you might need. Your 2-night deposit is refundable before Friday, 11 May, and you can still trim off additional nights after that (usually) right up to the week before the Con.  

  • If you're thinking of choosing the "book me into the lowest rate room available" option - you shouldn't be in this sale to begin with. You should have gone for Early Bird.

  • Do not choose the "if none of my choices are available, disregard my request completely" option unless you already have a back-up available. Getting a room you don't want can possibly give you leverage for making a trade. Worst case scenario, you just let go of it. I have gotten terrible room assignments in the past and people did want them.

  • Look at distance in terms of your social plans, not just the convention center. Staying deep in the Gaslamp is a good choice if you'll be bar crawling all night, but only traveling to the Con once or twice in the day. 

Let's not kid ourselves: Wednesday is going to be terrifying. And unlike a badge sale, where you know within an hour how you did, we'll spend almost the entire month in a state of suspension. The first batch of  assignments will go out 9 April, the next on 16 April, and then the utterly rejected will get their email no later than 23 April. We'll spend those weeks bitterly complaining about timestamps and rude onPeak reps, trying to trade rooms, figuring out how many cots or sleeping bags a room with 1 king bed can hold, and wondering if NYCC has these problems. It won't be pretty.

So just try to keep your eyes on the prize - walking into San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Once you're there with your friends having fun, your hotel really will be just a place to snooze between parties and panels.

Good luck. I'll live blog the sale on Wednesday.

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