Three weeks has passed since the San Diego Comic-Con International hotel lottery aka the Hotelpocalypse (Hotel Apocalypse) happened on Wednesday 26th April, 2017. On Monday 1st May 2017, some of those that took part in the hotel lottery learned of their fate, some succeeded in obtaining one of their top 6 choices and some managed a downtown hotel that wasn’t part of their top 6. On Monday 8th May 2017 the second round of hotel notifications went out, some more got downtown hotels while others didn’t get downtown or none at all. On Friday 12th May 2017, those who didn’t get a hotel received an email to inform them that they had been waitlisted and to wait for an email with a link to the waitlist hotel sale on Monday 15th May 2017.
While the hotel lottery itself went smoothly and without technical hitches as seen in previous years, the process of how they handled the requests either remained vague or contradicted itself last year. In this year’s hotel lottery however they did clearly state how hotel requests will be handled which meant that everyone wasn’t in a state of panic trying to fill in and submit their request forms as fast as they can possibly type. Although once the hotel notifications went out, it was looking more likely that when you submitted your form did have an impact on which hotel you got. How else can you explain how someone with a later timestamp into the hotel request form beat someone with a earlier timestamp for a downtown hotel? Also since a time wasn’t mentioned for when the waitlist emails would go out, it was a last minute scramble for some as they didn’t have time to schedule work around it. It also didn’t help that those with a booking link from cancelled rooms could access the waitlist hotel sale before the waitlist emails with link had even been sent out. It meant those without a room at all could only watch hotels disappearing from the inventory by those who had access and didn’t have to wait for the waitlist link.
Some suggested the hotel lottery should be open only to badge holders, while this may increase the success rate of a hotel room for badge holders it simply may not be that easy for onPeak. Many people who failed to get a badge attend San Diego Comic-Con International to be able to experience all the outside events and they too bring money to the San Diego economy. At the end of the day it’s money that matters, San Diego itself fights to keep Comic-Con International in San Diego because it brings millions of dollars into its economy. In fact the hotels in San Diego have even admitted that the profit they make from Comic-Con International alone helps keep them afloat for the rest of the year. It’s why they don’t currently have a hotel lottery for badge holders only, they know that if badge holders and non badge holders want to attend San Diego Comic-Con International badly enough then they will pay anything to stay downtown. The San Diego downtown hotels know this all too well which is why they charge extortionate rates for their rooms that weren’t part of the hotel lottery. It’s why onPeak has a limited amount of rooms they can offer during the hotel lottery as the hotel themselves reserve their own block to charge at a higher rate. Unfortunately not all of us have that kind of money to burn.
Some suggested priority of the hotel lottery should be given to press, professionals and those that work in the industry. As a member of the accredited press for San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 I can understand the convenience having a downtown hotel would provide, after all who wants to carry their photography and video equipment for long distances. However we’ve already been provided complimentary badges to an event which is notoriously hard to obtain badges for in the first place. It would be greedy to ask them to provide you a downtown hotel as well and it wouldn’t be fair to other regular badge holders.
However it’s not all doom and gloom, for even if you didn’t manage to get a hotel from the lottery or through the waitlist, the early bird hotel sale or even managed to bag yourself a room well in advance before any of the sales happened there is still hope. San Diego Comic-Con International and onPeak have made the remaining inventory of hotels available to the general public, which means you no longer have to be on the waitlist to access it. There is no downtown hotels left but at least it’s a roof over your head.There is also a community out there of great people willing to trade or exchange their hotels to others who may need them. One such community is the Friends of Comic-Con forum which you can check out by clicking here.
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