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Home Conventions Hotelier: Why can’t San Diego Comic-Con move to November?

Hotelier: Why can’t San Diego Comic-Con move to November?

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Oh no not again. With the San Diego Convention Center’s expansion plans spiked, and Comic-Con’s contract up in 2016, people are once again asking will Comic-Con stay in San Diego? but the question does seem to have a more perfunctory tone than last time, when negotiations dragged on for over a year and Los Angeles and Anaheim both put in very serious bids to get the show to move.

As Lori Weisberg reports, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is all about keeping Con in San Diego and trying to get local hotels to keep their prices at the 2016 level for 2017 and 2018—and many are going along, but only because pretty much everyone realizes that keeping Comic-Con in San Diego is in everyone’s best interest. Anaheim is trying to jump into the mix again, but after a few WonderCons in Anaheim, I think everyone realizes that Anaheim is not San Diego, and the show would become a very different event if it moved. And besides, WonderCon is developing into a more significant event on its own.

Mayor Faulconer even went to the CCI board meeting this weekend to let them know in person that he wants them to stay. Not only are hotel prices staying low, but the Convention Center itself is offering up a discount rent of $200,000 for the con.

While it seems everyone is acting reasonable over this—and CCI spokesman David Glanzer says even without the expansion the con can stay with more and more hotels offering up space for events— there are a few hotels who point out that July just happens to be the biggest month for tourism in San Diego County even WITHOUT Comic-Con:

Some downtown hotels, though, are reluctant to join the convention hotel block, much less cap their rates because they’re able to command some of the highest rates of the year when Comic-Con is in town. Last July, when the county’s room rates are often at their highest, the average nightly rate countywide during Comic-Con peaked at more than $250, at least $80 a night more than the highest rates during the rest of the month, according to data compiled by Smith Travel Research.

“It’s much better not being in the room block during Comic-Con,” said Thomas Goodwill, general manager of the 190-room Porto Vista hotel in Little Italy. “For us as an independent we can get a lot better rates than the bigger hotels. Comic-Con would have a lot more room for negotiation if they moved it to a month like November.”


Yes, Mr. Goodwill, yes they would. And moving Comic-Con to November is a great idea. SAID NO ONE EVER.

10 COMMENTS

  1. This past week, I used Airbnb for the first time and had a pretty good experience. Now I’m not trying to shill for Airbnb, but I wonder how much of an impact it has on the San Diego Comic-Con. If I lived in San Diego and wasn’t interested in comics, I might clear out and rent out my apartment to some traveling cosplayers for the week. The number of hotel rooms in San Diego is finite, and if I was running a hotel, I’d raise my prices during Comic-Con. But the number of private residences that aren’t typically for rent has the ability to expand greatly at any given time, especially when they know in advance that demand will be up.

    Do many Comic-Con visitors avail themselves of private rentals (whether through Airbnb or via other rental services)? Does this help keep a lid on hotel prices?

  2. Heidi: Didn’t you say SDCC was gonna get the convention center expansion too?
    If October works for NYCC, why not some other time of the year than July or August for SDCC?

  3. Would the Hollywood-types literally explode in joy if CCI was in late April/early May and they could hype their entire slate of Summer movies? Yes, I think they would.

  4. If I had pick a better time for SDCC, it would be April or May. November is too close to NYCC which is held in October. Both shows require a bit of decompression time and maybe an earlier date in the year for San Diego would create a more balanced con schedule. Of course that would mean a few other shows might want to consider shifting…But I could definitely take San Diego in April or May!

  5. The hotels would still up their rates because of the event. They’d also blame conflicting November NFL and College Football/basketball games for increased demand in Hotel space.

  6. Easy solution: Flip the two shows.

    Wondercon is in San Diego in the Spring. The lure of San Diego encourages studios to attend, boosting WonderCon attendance towards 100K.

    CCI is in Anaheim in the Summer. (Yes, there are major conventions in Anaheim in the Summer. I was last there for the American Library Association conference. No problem getting an affordable room, even if it was a bit of a walk. Nice weather, too! And lots of meeting space in nearby hotels! And the conference even sold a discount pass to Disneyland!)

    Now… as far as expansion… It’s not a big concern, as the Hyatt, which tends to snub CCI, has massive amounts of space. (34K, 24K, 30K)
    http://www.manchestergrand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/meetings-and-events.html

    Were I a major exhibitor, I’d rent a 1×2 booth, right on the crossway on the show floor. Use it for promos, and to direct people to the Grand Hyatt, where I would run a mini-con 24/7 (or at least longer than the regular show hours). I control who enters (which could include people without CCI badges), who appears, what the message is, and what is sold. Maybe I have an artist alley, like Boom!, where people sketch and sell their books. (Free table, plus VIP suite, and food vouchers.) I use the meeting rooms for panels.

    Marvel, via Disney, is the most likely candidate. (See: D23 Expo)
    Warners could also drink Disney’s milkshake. (“Disney only offers D23 every other year? We do it EVERY year!”)

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