Generally, we associate the largest San Diego Comic-Con hotel sale (the one that took place earlier this month) with Hotelpocalypse, because thousands upon thousands of attendees are vying for an even smaller number of hotel rooms. However, this afternoon, the re-opening of non-downtown hotels may have taken both the title and the crown as this year’s real Hotel Hell.
At 9AM PT, Travel Planners quietly re-opened hotel reservations for a number of Mission Valley and airport hotels, in a sale similar to the Early Bird sale that had been offered prior to April 8. However, demand was now much higher because many attendees had been shut out during the general sale but still needed a place to sleep. So when the site launched, it was instantly met with gateway errors, page timeouts, and frustration (and for those still having problems, we recommend calling Travel Planners at 1-800-221-3531).
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to do except to keep refreshing – over and over again. On all stages of the room booking process, users reported receiving various error messages and screens.
— ConShark (@ConSharkNews) April 23, 2014
— Henry (@Henry79123563) April 23, 2014
— Karen Veazey (@MeKarenV) April 23, 2014
Currently on 45 mins of wasted time attempting to get a hotel for #sdcc it's ridiculous the website can't cope at all
— Lucy Pitchford-Todd (@lucyep) April 23, 2014
— Ashlee (@msdiscolady) April 23, 2014
And just like Felicia Day in the General Hotel Sale, even celebrities like Paul and Storm were not immune from today’s hotel insanity:
[P] Well, *that* was a complete fucking waste of an hour. Thanks, SDCC hotel reservation process!
— Paul and Storm (@paulandstorm) April 23, 2014
Travel Planners had also listed two phone numbers to call for issues, but at least one was disconnected even before the sale.
Hotelpacolypse continues. Couldn't get either phone number to work. Finally got web to work. Disappointing. #SDCC
— Scott M (@ultraboy72) April 23, 2014
— Stargazyrr (@stargazyrr) April 23, 2014
While a handful of attendees reported being able to book their room despite the onslaught of glitches, it wasn’t until 70 minutes into the sale that Travel Planners’ site finally started to work for a majority of users.
@SD_Comic_Con It took a while and there was a server error while trying to put in credit card details but I just secured a room in Sheraton
— MissDaria (@DDarjaS) April 23, 2014
GOT A ROOM! It was my first choice and it *only* took an hour and seventeen minutes and countless error messages! #sdcc
— Ashlee (@msdiscolady) April 23, 2014
@SD_Comic_Con 45 minutes and 1 total fail right at the confirmation screen (had to redo the process) but I got the same hotel as past years.
— Bill Lehecka (@billlehecka) April 23, 2014
— Chris Corpus (@chriscorpus) April 23, 2014
— Toni (@Badwolf626) April 23, 2014
At the time of press, nine of the 26 hotels reserved for this sale were still available when searching for a Thursday-Sunday reservation – though more than half, like the Coronado Island Marriott Resort, Courtyard by Marriott SD Mission Valley, Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, were already booked up. There is no end date for this sale, so after the initial rush for hotel sales, we expect those nine hotels to be available for booking for a few days, at least. You can try for your hotel here.
For those who were unable to get the room they wanted today, or who are still hoping to stay downtown, don’t forget to check out our Room/Roommate Finder on reddit.
CCI also announced that all hotel reservations (except those booked during the Early Bird Sale) are fully refundable if cancelled by April 30. For cancellations made between May 1 to June 1, “a cancellation fee equal to one night’s room and tax will be charged per room. The cancellation fee will be deducted from your deposit(s).”
While there’s a lot of stress that comes with the General San Diego Comic-Con Hotel Sale, that sale is all about being the fastest, and then the rest is up to Travel Planners and the Hotel Gods. Today’s sale, meanwhile, required a lot of patience and more closely resembled badge sales from previous years, when EPIC Registration and Comic-Con International had underestimated the initial demand.
So which sale was the worst? We leave that up to you, but we think this tweet from user Ryan Anthony Martin best describes the entire hotel sale process:
I wouldn't wish the SDCC hotel lottery on my worst enemy.
— Ryan Anthony Martin (@mrryanamartin) April 23, 2014
Were you able to get a hotel today? Let us know in the comments.