Hotelpocalypse 2017 Recap: Hurry Up and Wait

Oh, Hotelpocalypse. Thank the Comic-Con Gods you only happen once a year.

Thanks in large part to Comic-Con International’s decision to actually inform attendees this year about more of the process behind the hotel sale (thanks, CCI!) — the actual day of the 2017 General Hotel Sale went pretty smoothly. Sure, there’s the take-ten-years-off-your-life stress of worrying about what hotel you’re going to wind up at, but in general, actually knowing how the sale operates causes a lot less panic.

Attendees entered the waiting room at 8AM PT, where they waited until 9AM. There was a very brief period while we were all randomly sorted — and then the race was on! Most reported the process being quick, efficient, and easy to understand, and most enjoyed QueueIt’s little walking man.

Of course, it’s not a San Diego Comic-Con General Hotel Sale without some kind of error, glitch, or general malfunction. A few minutes into the sale, we began seeing reports of some strange things happening — including users being kicked out of the form and sent back to the waiting room, or after hitting “Submit”, being taken back to a blank form rather than the normal confirmation screen.

We reached out to onPeak, and Director of Product Development Kristina Simkins suggested that the issue in some cases may have been that “each user’s session was valid for ten minutes. If a user did not submit the form within that time, their session expired and they returned to the queue.”

While this would have been good information to know ahead of time (maybe next year’s hotel guide, CCI!) and likely accounted for some issues, it didn’t fully explain all of the issues people were having. Many reported still having problems, despite it being under that ten minute time.

But all in all, compared to the last two years, this was a relatively minor setback. Attendees were left to sit around and wait, and then wait some more. New this year, onPeak is sending out confirmation and rejection e-mails in batches, with the first confirmations happening on May 1, another round happening on May 8, and those who couldn’t be placed at all receiving word “no later” than May 15.

As for what would cause one person to find out their hotel on May 1 rather than May 8? Well, that’s something only onPeak and CCI know – though there are a few trends we can see after May 1 e-mail confirmations started to go out today.

For the most part, those with the earliest timestamps began to hear first.

The trend continued, with some later time stamps also getting hotels.

However, several attendees reported being confused at seeing those with a later timestamp than when they entered the form receiving hotel confirmations, while they got no e-mail today.

 

Were people just confused on their timestamps? Is the difference in timestamps and hotel placement what you chose, room type, and days? There does seem to be some pattern, even if there are plenty of exceptions to it.

It’s impossible to say how this all really will shake out until May 8 (or possibly May 15). As always with these sales, it’s a lot of, “Did they just throw darts at a dartboard or…?”. But so far at least, let’s recap:

The Good

  • Communication and a technical guide from CCI was greatly improved
  • Fewer overall glitches

The Bad

  • Still some glitches/errors
  • Still some communication issues – would have been helpful to know about the ten minute timeout ahead of time
  • Reason for placement in May 1 group vs May 8 group not clear

The longer we do Hotelpocalypse, ultimately, the less sense it makes sense to continue doing things this way. If we’re all just being randomized anyway, why do we need to jump through hoops and waiting rooms at this point? We wish onPeak and CCI would consider opening the form up for something like 12 or 24 hours, stating up front that the time you fill out your information doesn’t matter, and then they randomize all the entries on their end after the window closes.

Sure, it might feel like losing some “control” because you’ll have absolutely no idea where in the randomization you wound up, but really, you have no control now. The best that you can do is compare to others and stress about why your experience was different. There’s little need to put attendees through this year after year at this point. Unlike badge sales, where there’s live inventory on the other end of the waiting room, it’s just added stress for no reason.

And Hotelpocalypse is stressful enough.

About Kerry Dixon

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

  • Alpha_Ryvius

    I got access to the form at 9:01am and none of my downtown choices were available, got a non-downtown hotel 🙁

    What confuses me is that a friend got access to the for around 9:06am and he got his third hotel choice, Embassy Suites City View.

    So if this is time stamped by when we get access to the form? Shouldn’t I have gotten a downtown hotel? This is some what confusing. Quite honestly I’m beginning to think it’s a random lottery or something.

  • Michael O

    No email for me either. I have 3 of us get nothing today. One person got in at 9:00, another made a phone call at 9 as well and got in right away. I had to wait till 9:10 to get in and submit. Nothing yet.

    I’m interested in the phone call entry. My father made the call. We all had the same choices so we’ll see next week. Cross fingers

  • epic_skyline

    I wonder what effect the extra choices at the end have on what hotels you get. Like if you picked “get me into the cheapest place, regardless…” does a person who only wants a downtown hotel get ahead of you so that onPeak can technically accommodate something that everyone wanted? I mean, I know those choices are only supposed to be for if your top six are sold out, but I’m just trying to come up with some reason for the discrepancy that some experience.

  • Hector Flores

    I was in the form at 09:02, my wife at 09:05, my brother in law at 09:10. None of us received an email today.

  • Randy Nickel

    I was in at like 10 seconds after the thing started. There was barely a delay between the wait room and the form. Freaked me out so bad I spilled my coffee because I had sat back to wait. I sped through the form and hit submit with only one glitch, I forgot to put in my membership id. I frantically called OnPeak and they let me know that was not a concern and everything should be set. I got the confirmation first this afternoon and got my first pick of the hotels. 🙂

  • Lord Zardoz

    I think it’s pointless to speculate about the why’s and how come’s with this beast. There were just two many variables involved to really get a grasp on a pattern: number of and which nights you selected, top choice order, room size and beds, form submission time, etc. It’s Con – all that can be done now is wait.

  • Carlos Balgos

    I’m curious to know what days people are staying for those that have received the confirmation as that may be a factor of what was sent today.

  • Albert Einstein

    I like the “submit at your leisure” option, but I love this one better: Send us an admission time at random wherein you let a few people at a time to make a live selection of their hotel the same way you would on Expedia or Hotels.com. Make the down payment a non-refundable payment.

  • kikichanelconspiracy

    My time stamp was 9:01 and I haven’t heard :-/

  • Investigatin Detective

    I will never understand why hotels aren’t tied to badges. I know tons of people go and you don’t need a badge to enjoy the weekend. However, it makes no sense that the form is open to literally anyone. I have no issue with the randomization/time-stamp aspects, but if they’re going to do that it should at least be for people who have a verified badge. I know professionals who whiff on hotels annually. If you can’t accommodate the people in your convention it’s a bit weird.

  • Investigatin Detective

    Tues-Sun

  • Justcurious

    I am curious did anyone apply via phone? I had to because I had no access to a computer or cell at the time. The rep I spoke to took down all my info (contact, email, etc.) Was I supposed to get an email verifying my choices. How can I contact onPeak to ensure my info was correct.

  • Alpha_Ryvius

    Didn’t apply via phone. You can call Onpeak at 1-877-552-6642 if you have questions about your hotel form.

  • TK421

    I know last year that the time stamp didn’t matter, they double randomized everything (so you got in random & then later they just randomized everything again). I would not doubt for a second if they did the same thing again. If you were in a 9:01 bar none you should have gotten a DT hotel.

  • Michael O

    My father called via phone, got in right away. No email confirmation after call. I’m still waiting for confirmation.

  • Kylora

    man, this waiting game is scary. I thought second round of emails went out today and panicked. Why wait a week between emails??

  • Rathael

    Does anyone know aproximately what time the emails are being sent out?

  • Jennifer

    I submitted my form and was kicked back to the blank form. I called and asked if I needed to resubmit and was told, “NO, this is happening to a lot of people and we ARE receiving your original request.” The official interviewed for this article seems to think that is not the case. Sooooo, even though I went into reservations by 9:10 it looks as though I may not have actually submitted my request…perfect.

  • garfeimao

    So I’ve got a problem with the way OnPeak handles ADA requests, which is to pass them on to the hotel once they give each hotel their name list, 2 weeks prior to the convention. They want us to pay a deposit that becomes partially non-refundable on May 16, and fully non-refundable on June 7, but they won’t be sending the name list, with the ADA requests until the first week of July. So if that hotel has 10 ADA compliant rooms, and 11 requests, someone will get a room they can’t use, and it’s non-refundable.

    OnPeak will not work to confirm the ADA requests in advance, and claim that anyone booking with them should just be happy to have a room and we always have an option to book in another way. Anyone out there think there are any rooms available during SDCC that are less than $600 a night or so?