If you thought getting a badge to San Diego Comic-Con was tough, you better buckle in for the bumpy ride that is the General Hotel Sale, or, as we lovingly call it, Hotelpocalypse. On Wednesday, April 4, attendees will try for a hotel, and just like with badge sales, some attendees will walk away disappointed.
Back again this year is most attendees’ least favorite words: randomized waiting room. Yes, the hotel sale will utilize a randomized waiting room again this year – which means that speed is no longer a determining factor in getting a hotel.
According to onPeak in 2016, the order in which they process your form is based on the timestamp when you gain access to the form from the waiting room. This is clearly stated on this year’s page, “At 9:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), everyone in the waiting room will be assigned a random place in line. Guests will then be moved from the waiting room to the request form based on this order. Randomization will not take place until 9:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) and is not based on the time in which you enter the waiting room. No further randomization will take place throughout the process.”
So how does all of this work? How can you help make sure that you get the downtown hotel of your dreams (and if you’re wondering why staying downtown is so great, check out our Case for Staying Downtown and In the Gaslamp Quarter)?
So here’s a look at how it works (on the sample form), as well as how the randomization process will work.
You can view the list of hotels and prices by clicking here, with prices ranging from ranging from $178/night for one person at the Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle South, up to $439/night for a Grand King at the Pendry San Diego. Most attendees will be trying for a downtown hotel in the Gaslamp, but the General Hotel Sale also includes hotels at both the airport and in Mission Valley.
onPeak lets you submit up to six hotel choices in each Downtown and Non-Downtown areas, for a total of 12 hotel submissions total (though you only have to select one hotel total in order for your submission to be valid – so you don’t have to choose more if you don’t want to). These submissions are ranked, in order of preference, for both Downtown and Non-Downtown sections. You are allowed to select a minimum of one hotel in either section, up to a maximum of 12 (six each in both). Research which hotels you’re interested in before the sale begins, so you’re not wasting valuable time. Before the sale begins, plan on having the following information handy:
- Your list of hotels for each section, in order of preference (write the name exactly as it appears on the Comic-Con hotel list)
- The amount of people staying in your room
- The names of any roommates who are staying with you
You should have received an e-mail with a link to onPeak’s SDCC site on Friday, March 30, though it won’t go live until 8AM PT on April 4. These links are not individual to the person receiving them.
Here’s where things get interesting. Just like last year, that link will take you directly to the onPeak Waiting Room. You can enter anytime between 8AM-9AM PT, though there’s no advantage to arriving early. At 9AM PT, you’ll be sorted into a random order.
When it’s your turn, you’ll be taken to the form. Here’s how the form will look:
You might be greeted with this screen:
You’ll need to select the Click Here to Start Your Request button. You’ll then be taken to the actual hotel request form, which will first give you a rundown of all the hotel options again:
Once you’ve scrolled down past this info, you’ll begin filling in your information, including your first and last name, address, phone number, and e-mail address.
You’ll then be able to enter your hotel choices, with a drop-down menu for each section (Downtown or Non-Downtown). Put them in your order of preference. So if the Hard Rock Hotel is your first choice, select that hotel first.
You’ll also have the option of selecting a box to indicate that if the con rate at your hotel is unavailable, if you’d like to be upgraded (at an unspecified amount) to a “higher nightly rate” room. If you don’t want to select this option, simply don’t click anything.
You can select up to six downtown and/or six non-downtown hotels. You only have to submit a minimum of one hotel total (and you don’t have to select from both groups if you don’t want to) — so if your heart is set on the Horton Grand or nothing, for instance, that’s all you have to request.
Once you’ve entered all of your hotels, you’ll have to choose the worst case scenario: If none of your hotel choices are available, what would you like to happen? You have four options:
- Book me at a hotel that is closest to the convention center, regardless of rate and shuttle availability.
- Book me at a hotel with the lowest available rate, regardless of location.
- Book me at any hotel that is on the shuttle route, regardless of rate or location.
- If none of my preferred hotel choices are available, disregard my request completely.
Choose the option that makes the most sense to you, but it is worth mentioning that typically, some downtown hotels do open up after cancellations, though there’s no guarantee that will happen. You can also choose whether or not you’d like to be placed on the waitlist, if a better hotel opens up down the road:
The next step is filling out the information about the kind of accommodations you’ll be needing. You’ll select the number of total rooms you’re requesting, and then for each room, the amount of beds/people. You can choose between Single (One person with one bed), Double (Two people, one bed), Twin (Two people, two beds), Triple (Three people, two beds), or Quad (Four people, two beds).
Once you’ve selected this, you’ll be prompted to enter in the first and last name for each occupant. In years past, you’ve even been able to make changes to the names and amount of occupants in a room even after paying a deposit, but there is no guarantee it will be the same this year. You’ll also need to enter your arrival and departure date. You can arrive as early as Sunday, July 15 and depart as late as Tuesday, July 24.
Finally, you’ll need to checkmark all three boxes at the bottom of the screen:
- I will provide a deposit equal to two (2) nights’ room rate by the published deadline on my reservation confirmation email or my reservations will be automatically cancelled.
- I understand the number of beds in a room cannot be guaranteed.
- I am submitting one form for all of my rooms.
All reservation requests last year were processed in order of the timestamp that you gained access to the form, with phone reservations being processed in a random order.
Once the maximum number of requests have been received the form will shut down and callers will no longer be able to submit a request.
Then comes the waiting game. Confirmation emails will go out in two groups on April 9 and April 16. If you choose to accept the hotel, you’ll need to pay a full two nights’ deposit plus tax before the following deadlines:
- For reservations confirmed on Monday, April 9, 2018, the required deposit must be provided by Thursday, April 12, 2018, at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).
- For reservations confirmed on Monday, April 16, 2018, the required deposit must be provided by Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).
In the past, if you and a roommate each received a reservation, and your names are on both forms, onPeak will alert you that one of these reservations needs to be canceled, or they will cancel one for you.
Last year was the first year in several where the process went much smoother – and we’re hopeful that 2018 will continue in that direction.
It’s also important to note that each year, after the hotel sale, some hotels do open back up as there are cancellations. Those on the waiting list are placed first – and these usually don’t include many downtown options, but there’s always some hotels in Mission Valley or by the airport, and every year, some report being waitlisted to downtown hotels.
If Comic-Con International or onPeak reveal additional information about Wednesday’s sale, we’ll update. For right now, have all of your information on hand prior to the sale, and maybe start praying to the onPeak hotel gods.
Also be sure to read all of Comic-Con International’s FAQ.
And the most important thing you can do? Use the sample form.
Will you be trying for a hotel? Let us know in the comments.