While many people are still left groaning and after the scramble to get tickets to San Diego Comic-Con 2013 a little more than a week ago, Comic-Con International announced today that Hotel Registration would be opening earlier than usual this year on Tuesday, February 26th at 9am Pacific Time. Fans often find the challenge of acquire lodging even more harrowing than getting a ticket. While more and more rooms supposedly become available as part of the "official block of rooms" that Comic-Con International locks down each year, it is no less stressful for those involved. For many, where you sleep has everything to do with your enjoyment of the show. Whether you're an exhibitor, press, or just a general attendee, it's the time you spend outside the controlled confines of the convention center and how you move between those locations that shapes your experience more than anything.
Sure, there’s always the option of trying to grab a hotel room outside the official block of rooms, but expect to pay 2 to 3 times the discounted rate that CCI has worked out with the hoteliers. It’s entirely possible that some people will be staying at 1 and 2 star hotels for $500 a night on the edge of town while people who are lucky enough to get a room through Comic-Con will pay under $300 a night for a 4 star luxury hotel just blocks from the convention center. That’s why Tuesday, February 26th will be an especially intense day for many people.
And while Comic-Con International has made the process simpler in the past years, it’s still done in a way that many people find confounding. There’s no directly reserving a room. You must enter your information and select 6 hotels (previous years asked you to select as many as 20) out of dozens throughout San Diego, from across the street from the convention center to more than 10 miles away. Once you submit your selection, you just wait to see what they assign you. Depending on what you select, you might not get any hotels on your list or you may get nothing. And for those who already have a show ticket and a plane ticket, having no place to stay can be a devastating blow. For those that seek the night life of the show more than anything or need to be at the convention center well before the crack of dawn to be in line for an important panel more than 16 hours later, travel time and parking impacts many people’s ability to experience some unique pieces of this massive show. That’s why the downtown hotel rooms are in such demand. Like to party all night? No problem. Walk back to your hotel. Need to be in line at 3am just to make sure you get into Hall H to see the Marvel panel? No problem. Just walk a few blocks, grab a blanket, and plop down in line until it starts moving at 9am. If you have to go to the bathroom, just walk back to your hotel. Just make sure you have a friend holding your place in line and that you aren’t gone for very long. But that’s another whole set of survival tips…
In the end, the hotel is the most important part of the Comic-Con experience outside of getting a ticket. You may not spend a lot of time in the room, but how far away it is and how much stuff you can cram into it is incredibly important to how well you survive it.
Interestingly, Comic-Con has already made the complete registration page form available for everyone to review and get accustomed to. The only thing missing is the SUBMIT button. If you’re planning on getting a hotel through their official system, you would do well to study this page closely and maybe even practice how fast you can fill it out. The official Hotel Registration page is also a helpful tool in making sure you’re ready for the big day. If all else fails, you can always call Travel Planners at 1-877-55-COMIC (1-877-552-6642) or 212-532-1660 at 9am PT on Feb 26th. Don’t bother trying to call before 9am on Tuesday, though. No one will answer.
I guess nothing else can be said but “may the force be with you”, “live long and prosper”, and “may the odds be ever in your favor”.
Images courtesy PopCultureGeek.