San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Early Bird Hotel Sale Now Open

Screen shot 2016-03-03 at 6.57.11 AMNow that you know whether or not you have a badge to San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the next question on your mind is inevitably: Where am I going to stay? As of this morning, we’ve got some news on that.

The Early Bird Hotel Sale is back for 2016, with reservations now open through onPeak, the company which merged with Travel Planners back in October 2014, though now TP seems to have joined the onPeak family.

Just like in previous years, the Early Bird sale is not for downtown hotels, but rather for hotels in further-out areas, like Mission Valley or the airport. These hotels are typically a little cheaper than the downtown offerings (rates run from $170-$239 per night for a single occupancy room), which will be available later this year, but attendees have to use transportation in order to get downtown to the convention center.

In recent years, this has become easier than ever, in part thanks to an improved Shuttle Service offered by CCI. Nothing has changed from last year as the shuttles will run Wednesday from 3PM-10PM, with 24 hour service beginning on Thursday at 7AM and running through Sunday at 7PM.

The Early Bird hotels sell out much slower than the regular hotel sale (which we dub Hotelpocalypse), but each room requires full prepayment at the time of booking, and there will be no refunds or exchanges on rooms – so for those even hoping for a downtown hotel room, this might not be the hotel sale for you. There’s also a two-to-four-night minimum stay on each room, which for some hotels must include both Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23.

The Early Bird rates will be available through April 5, 2016 – which falls in line with what we reported several weeks ago: That the General Hotel Sale will take place on April 5, 2016 (last year’s Early Bird Hotel Sale also closed on March 24, mere hours before the General Hotel Sale).

Here’s a closer look at some of the Early Bird rules:

Screen shot 2016-03-03 at 6.23.10 AM

Hotel rates on their own are exorbitant, which is why one of the biggest sticking points for Comic-Con International to stay in San Diego continues to be the hotel block. These are locked-in, negotiated rates that CCI has secured for attendees, so that you aren’t paying $1,000 per night. That’s why we highly recommend booking within their system for the best rate, even if last year’s General Sale was a mess.

Want to know more about the difference between the Early Bird Hotel Sale and the General Hotel Sale? Check out our simplified comparison. For more information on the sale visit the CCI Early Bird page.

Will you be purchasing a hotel in the Early Bird sale? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site's resident panel guru.
  • Flinkman

    This will be my first time booking a hotel for SDCC via “official” means…honestly, the $170 Days Inn 5 miles out from the convention sounds good to me since its on the bus route, but I have no idea what the cost for a downtown room will be. Anyone have an idea of what hotels on the expensive end of the downtown spectrum run??

  • Devon Baltz

    Downtown hotels will run 200-350ish for a standard room. Last year my room at the Wyndham was like 263? A night after tax resort fee etc.

  • Annabella G

    I thought there would be an announcement or an email about the sale prior to the sale taking place. Just found out about this. Will there be an email sent out to badge holders for the general sale?

  • Clark

    This early bird sale ends before the general sale, if you don’t get a hotel in the general sale, are the early bird hotels price gone then and you’re SOL?

  • Devon Baltz

    Yup that’s the point they want the hotels further out to have some sort of edge. Like a discounted rate and early and direct availability. Usually they’ll open up back later on for more booking. But take your shot or just book a room now.

  • Clark

    Thanks for the info.
    You mean the early bird hotel would open back up later? But at a higher price I assume?

  • jm5150

    Something interesting that some forum users have pointed out….

    1st, the earlybird is run “exactly” like the NYCC hotel sale. NYCC doesnt sell out since theres more rooms than people but its identical. interface, fonts, style… everything.
    2nd, there is some code, and it was seen by some mobile users, that the earlybird sale incorporated some new Javascript by a company called “queue-it” which funnels website traffic into a queue as to not crash sites. Seeing as onpeak is now running both hotel sales, and trying to avoid last years disaster, theyll most likely scrap last years process and use one of a few options

    1. queue-it funneling followed by the same form as years past
    2. queue-it funneling followed by the same interface as the EarlyBird and NYCC hotels
    3. queue-it funneling followed by a totally new process

    I personally love the old way, weather it worked great or not. I can fill out the form fast and rarely had issues getting my top pick. Knowing that i can control weather I get a hotel by getting faster and faster means the world to me. Leaving it in lucks hands is just depressing beyond belief. That being said, I hope its option # 1 if anything. A queue which still leads you to a form you have to fill out fast. time stamps can be from the time you got to the form to the time you hit submit. practices can still pay off. (of course that could not be the case, time stamp is still based on fastest but the funneling spreads them out over more time. If you happen to get screwed and thrown far back in the queue, youre done for. Might as well make it a plain ole blind luck lottery.. same thing)

    Anything else and your stuck at the mercy of the gods, like everything else SDCC related which has REALLY become a chore.

  • jm5150

    correct. theyre cheap now, but once downtown sells out, they raise the prices of the far off hotels to almost the cost of downtown hotels. I think last year the Bayfront was $299 and I then saw Town and country for $280 after the early bird closed

  • Kerry

    We know nothing more than you do about how it will work this year, but did want to point out two things:
    1. It’s not so much that onPeak is running it instead of TP – they just merged, under the onPeak name. But it’s still at least some TP people.
    2. We do know that exhibitors used the regular form, which if they were going to test queue-it, would have been a good time/way to do it.

  • Kerry

    Believe there is for general sale – but keep an eye on everyone’s social media. The General Hotel Sale should be April 5.

  • Oliver

    I’ve seen a lot of discussion about hotel circle vs gaslamp for after con parties and such. But with free shuttles running 24/7 now do you really need to stay in the gaslamp to enjoy the after con action?

  • jm5150

    Correct, I just say onpeak since they were front and center of this years earlybird and even tailored it to run like other hotel sales they run. Exhibitors sale did remain the same, through TP. For this reason, I hope they will use the queue system AND the TP hotel form. Im just thinking the queue is unavoidable. The system supposedly only kicks in when there is too much traffic on the servers, so if the exhibitors sale didnt have a huge flow of traffic it wouldnt be necessary, therefor they cant test it. Plus some people that have inside scoops at Onpeak/TP have said theyve been told the system will see big changes this year, just havent been told “what”. Supposedly an announcement may be coming in the next few weeks. (take that with a grain of salt).

    Simply, with the “queue-it” SaaS located inside the Earlybird sale and knowing its designed to prevent the exact issues we had last year, its safe to say its a shoe in for this years sale.