If your San Diego Comic-Con passes are secured, all that’s left to do now is find a hotel room. Comic-Con vets will no doubt be aware that this is much easier said than done.
Luckily, Comic-Con provides its own housing program, setting aside a pretty substantial chunk of rooms each year for its attendees.
How does it work?
On Tuesday, March 24 at 9:00 AM Pacific Time, registration for these hotel rooms will begin. At that time, you’re going to want to be on the registration website here, or on the phone with them at this number: 1-877-552-6642
And I do mean at that time, these rooms will go frighteningly fast, so be ready at 9:00 AM sharp.
Once it’s live, you’ll be directed to choose six different hotel options, ranking them in order of priority. The system will automatically attempt to give you your best option, but this isn’t guaranteed, so make sure you’d be willing to take any of the six choices on your list.
In previous years, you would receive a follow-up email later that day telling you if you got a room, and if you did, at which hotel. To confirm the reservation, you would then need to put down a deposit equal to two nights’ room rate plus tax.
How quickly do the rooms go?
Very. Expect for them to be completely sold out in under an hour. If you aren’t there right when they become available, your odds for snagging a room at a price you like drops pretty dramatically, so set an alarm!
What can I do to prepare?
To make sure this goes smoothly for you, you absolutely need to check out the list of hotels in advance, so that you’re ready to go on Tuesday with your six choices. If you wait to look over your options until registration begins, you’re going to be in for some disappointment!
In terms of specifics, here’s what you’ll need to be looking for in a potential hotel:
- Price! This one is obvious, but make sure you have six choices that you can afford.
- Shuttle route! If you’re a first time attendee, do not underestimate how important the complimentary shuttle is. You absolutely do not want to be driving to the convention center each day, as traffic and parking are going to ruin your week. If your hotel choice isn’t within walking distance and isn’t on the shuttle route, reconsider!
- Space! Make sure you know in advance how large the room is, and whether your entire party will fit comfortably. Don’t leave this to chance, a crowded room or a lack of beds can spoil your visit before it even begins.
- Smoking vs. Non-Smoking! Some of the rooms are not available as Smoking or Non-Smoking, so make sure you check ahead of time.
Additionally, before 9:00 AM, make sure you have your list of hotels written out somewhere that you can easily reference, and just in case, have your credit card ready (you probably won’t need it, but better safe than sorry!).
Are these rooms refundable?
Yes, your deposit is completely refundable up until April 15, 2015. After that, you can’t get your deposit back, so if you are still on the fence about whether you are attending, the official Comic-Con hotel registration might not be the best option for you.
What happens if I don’t get a room? Am I screwed?
Don’t panic! You’ll be fine. I’ve missed the room registration window in previous years, and that didn’t stop me from attending. While Tuesday will be your best shot at a reasonably priced room, there are other options.
First, check around in areas near those hotels for other room options. Sometimes you can snag a room at a hotel that wasn’t participating in the Comic-Con hotel program, but is actually within walking distance of a shuttle stop. That’s best case scenario.
Additionally, you can also use the city’s trolley system to get to the convention center each day. It’s surprisingly convenient, and only costs around $20 or so for the full week. If that’s your plan, you can find a room near any of the trolley stops, including as far away as Qualcomm Stadium, around which there are a lot of hotels. The trolley is a little slower (usually) than the shuttle though, so keep in mind it might take you up to an hour to get to the convention center each day, and plan accordingly.
Finally, deposits for the official Comic-Con rooms are non-refundable after April 15. That means a lot of people are going to change their minds before then, and give up their reservation. Be vigilant and check often for room openings at the hotels you’re interested in, especially after April 15.
One more time, when is hotel registration this year?
Tuesday, March 24 at 9:00 AM Pacific Time. Don’t be late!