san diego hotelAs always, the day after San Diego’s Hotel Stampede left the internet dazed and shattered by disappointment.

But before we get into it this person has a room available!:

That said, a friend of mine made a big goof and thus she has rooms to sell:

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Wed, Jul 25, 2007 to Mon, Jul 30, 2007
Non-smoking, Late Check-in

The hotel is on the shuttle route.

There are two rooms available, $1,514 each.
All taxes and additional costs are included in that amount.

My friend accidentally booked these through Cheaptickets without reading their fine print (*sigh*) and she can’t cancel them without forfeiting $605 and she had to pay in advance, so I’m trying to help her offload them. We’re not trying to make any money off of this, not trying to sublet or anything fishy. The price is literally exactly what she paid for them. They’re causing us no end of hassle, so I’m trying to find a solution that will be beneficial to all involved.

Go to the link for the contact incase you are interested in the room.

Elsewhere, it’s the same yearly misery and kvetching over how it Used To be:

A few years ago, there were three big events happening the same weekend: Comic Con, Del Mar horse racing, and a tennis tournament. A good friend had a reservation at a Motel 6, but when he got there they demanded $600 a night. And he had a confirmed reservation!

Hotel reservation time is the worse part about the con. Once you’re past this part, it’s downhill all the way. That is,until you get to the registration lines, of course. But you make friends in line. I’m also a dealer, so I arrive a day early to set up and avoid most of the lines.

I’ve been going to Comic-con for about 27 years, back when it was still held at the El Cortez Hotel. You could sit and have a leisurely cup of coffee with Jack Kirby (though Roz really saw to it he did not overdo the caffeine), or have a conversation with Ray Bradbury. Attendance was, maybe, a thousand. Someday, I’ll write about some of the old stories–meeting Osamu Tezuka, Kirby’s surprise party, Sergio Aragones serenading everyone at poolside at 2 am, and the dilapidated San Diego Hotel across the street from the tattoo palors and bail bondsmen.

Jeff Marriotte sees a larger pattern:

As far as I can tell, the con thrives on chaos and madness. They want it to look “exciting.” Having attended since 1983, I can safely say that it’s far beyond exciting, and far beyond fun. It’s a professional necessity, it’s great for networking and for seeing friends (but hard to have an actual conversation because of the noise and the constant ebb and flow of the crowd). But I go because I have to, not because I want to. And I look forward to it almost not at all. It’s dread, not pleasant anticipation, like having an annual appointment with a dentist who hasn’t actually been to medical school and has a toolkit of hammers and pliers.

A few relatively easy steps–some lottery systems, capping attendance at a more comfortable 80,000 or so, cutting it back down to 4 days instead of the too-long 4+–might make it fun again. They might also reduce the money earned by the non-profit that runs it, and the salaries paid, including those to some friends of mine. But it it was genuinely fun again, maybe people would be willing to pay more to go. Maybe a little exclusivity would be better than the mob scene they have now.

Or maybe–crazy, I know, but I’d love to see it happen–it could be split into several different, smaller conventions, or held in multiple facilities like some other big conventions are. Movies and TV shows in one building, comics in another, action figures elsewhere, gaming someplace else.

downtown san diego
Even Tom’s longstanding “I’ve always gotten a room for cheap” attitude is crumbling in the face of the new reality.

What that says to me is that San Diego may not have enough hotel rooms for those who want to stay in them. Telling someone to book miles and miles away seems justifiable if they’re booking in June, but it’s not the kind of thing you should be telling someone trying to find a place six months in advance. While most discussions of the show potentially moving have been about exhibition space, and a few about parking and other city-type services, this is the first year that housing has seemed like a major league factor, too. People used to joke about Las Vegas, but I bet there are a lot of people out there that would have loved to close down the slow-opening convention travel site yesterday with the option of firing up a room at the Orleans. It should be an interesting few years ahead.

MAY NOT HAVE ENOUGH HOTEL ROOMS????? Hello, we’ve been saying this for years! It’s not a may, it’s a fact. Please go to this link and read the numbers on how many hotel rooms are in downtown San Diego and the city’s own awareness that they do not have enough hotel rooms to support the size of their convention center.

Look, back in the 80s we worked for The Hollywood Reporter, and part of our job was making travel arrangement for the Cannes Film Festival for the staff. It was a constant worry about getting in to the right hotel and paying ghastly amounts once you did get a room. It seems that hoteliers are aware that when a big once a year event comes to town that attracts lots of rich people, they feel perfectly justified in jacking up hotel prices.

The same thing — only WORSE — goes on in Angoulême every year, where 200,000 people descend on a medieval hamlet. Staying at hotels 30 kilometers away is not unheard of — in fact, it’s expected! People stay in farmhouses and garages!

Sigh. Every year the stampede and Mark and Us say pretty much the same thing.

This show is popular and there are empirically not enough hotel rooms. The new Hard Rock may siphon off a few high rollers, and the Hilton — opening in time for the 2009 con — may help a wee bit. But San Diego’s civic problems are the root cause here, not anything the convention folks have any real control over.

As for those who want a lottery…well, maybe that would seem fairer, but wait until you LOSE the lottery.


  1. Holy price gouging, Batman! I’ve never been to Comicon, so I don’t know what’s reaosnable. Is that what people actually pay for these sorts of things?

  2. Saw where one of the “roach motels” between the airport and Convention center was charging $266 for the week on Expedia. Checking the same place a half hour later on Orbitz resulted in “no rooms available on dates requested.”

    I’ve tried to be optimistic about ’08 with the Hard Rock opening roughly a week after this year’s con (Great timing), but yesterday pretty much confirmed for me an extra 420 rooms (assuming they’ll work with TP) won’t mean Jack.

  3. A lottery would be lame. I think they may just start limiting on-site registrations and start selling 1/2/3 day passes online or by phone.

    I would hate for the con to leave San Diego, it’s so convenient considering I live there ;) There were murmurs of going to Anaheim, but you don’t want to be outside in Anaheim in July/August.

  4. Yow, Kathleen, I never saw that quote before but it’s going in my meme file for every time someone complains about getting a hotel room in San Diego!

  5. A large of part of Downtown San Diego’s hotel shortage can be laid directly at the feet of the Padres (baseball team not the metaphorical founders, though I’ve plenty of bile for them too). Well, not so much the team, but their owner- John Moores.
    Back in the late 1990s when the city decided to buy the Padres the downtown stadium, a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ was made between Moores and City Hall (particularly Mayor Golding). The city would take on a lot of additional funding and clear the way for Moores’ to develop Downtown so long as he paved the way for a lot of hotels to go up in the immediate area.
    Well, this being San Diego and Mayor Golding being corrupt (see Pension Scandal), the city honored its part of the bargain and Moores preceded to build condos as opposed to hotels.
    So, for those who choose to journey to SDCC this year, look around- every steel and glass eyesore (San Diego taste in architecture is terrible) you see SHOULD have been a hotel.
    Other matters: for penny pinchers, there’s a hostel on Market between 5th and 6th Aves. I’ve not met anyone who’s ever stayed there and it’s Hostel-living, but it is only 2 blocks to the convention center (yeah, I know, a place like Vegas would never shunt people to a hostel…)

  6. I would not want the convention in Vegas because it would be so hot during the summers there. It would probably bring more adult entertainment to the convention. We still need kids and teens to get into Comics and manga for the artform to be viable business. We would lose the Hollywood angle, so that may bring down attendance a bit also. It is that this year’s con will be about the same numbers wise or they will implement a cap. I think they should make only those who have four day badges be allowed into the con. That would change the numbers, but would encourage people to pre-register.

  7. Requiring everyone to buy 4-day passes would also discourage kids from attending the con. As neeb explained, San Diego really screwed the pooch on this one.

    Yes, Vegas is really hot in July — during the daytime, when everyone is going to be in the air-conditioned Convention Center. At night the dry air cools down quickly to a pleasant 70-80 degree range.

  8. People who buy full access to the convention should be allowed advanced access to the hotel room reservations. Pre-sell to them for an entire week before opening it to everyone else. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to book a hotel for 5-6 nights and having friday or saturday nights be the only unavailable nights thereby preventing you from getting a room or being forced to stay at two different hotels.

    The hotel rooms there are already overpriced because it’s a major tourist destination. Moving the convention to a different city or a different part of the year with less tourist traffic could only help this whole ordeal. People cramming into a convention hall for the entire day don’t much care about the beach and whatnot. Also, would it kill them to add more shuttles to hotels farther away? In the grand scheme, those additional buses shouldn’t add much more to the cost when you factor in how many more people would attend the convention. or just go to Heroes-Con in Charlotte instead.

    I forgot about the hotel reservations, and when I did remember, I knew there was no way for me to have made one anyway because I was at work for 9am PST. I have to say that I was disappointed for 2 seconds before I remembered that I would see posts and news items like these detailing how hellish the process was. (10, 000 rooms for 100, 000 people?)

    Comics professionals must make a whole lot of money there to keep putting up with that crap. As as attendee, not being able to go SAVES me a lot of money. I’m not masochistic enough for SDCC.