SDCC ’15: Comic-Con is staying in San Diego! Plus next year’s dates and this year’s wristbands

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Life as we know it is going back to normal next year as the dates for SDCC ’16 have been revealed and it’s back to the normal third week dates of July 21-14. Thank god. None of this post Fourth of July hell.

In even better news that will shock everyone, it looks like Con will be staying in San Diego, at least through 2018. It seems SD mayor Kevin Faulconer has been meeting with CCI peeps and hotel owners to personally make sure they can stay. The biggest issue was getting hotels to agree to setting aside large room blocks at discounted rates.

Comic-Con International and the San Diego Tourism Authority, which oversees convention center bookings, declined to comment this week on when a new two-year contract would be inked. Hoteliers, however, confirmed that they have been responding to a recent request from Comic-Con organizers that they write up addendums to their 2016 room block contracts committing to not raise their rates for 2017 and 2018 and to maintain the same number of discounted hotel rooms for the convention.

“We support the mayor’s efforts to keep Comic-Con in San Diego and have worked cooperatively with our hotel members to come to a reasonable agreement between the city and Comic-Con,” said Namara Mercer, executive director of the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association. “By and large, the majority of the hotels are on board, and the only delays were with a few hotels that were evaluating the proposal.

According to Hilton sales and marketing dude Donovan Henson, “We feel like we’re in a very good place with Comic-Con on the hotel side for ‘17 and ‘18. And we know that in their hearts they want to stay so we have to work together to extend out as long as we can.”

Ya hear that Las Vegas? In their hearts, they want to stay!

I should note here that these “discounted rates” are sort of discounts. For instance, at the Hilton Bayfront, the con rate is is $299 a night. I did a random check of Hilton rates and found this on their own website for dates later in the summer:

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However, to be fair, when I checked other rates  at other hotels, they were all around $300 a night for  summer weekends, which is a high demand time for what is, after all, a popular travel destination even without Trigun cosplayers and Travis Fimmel. When you add in supply and demand, $300 a night isn’t cheap but it is well within the market price. Keeping these rates for the next few years is definitely a good deal for the CCI folks and hotels, and by 2019 I’ll be too old to go so I won’t care.

As for other convention data, the Unofficial SDCC blog has news that last year’s wristband system will most likely be in place this year. This new policy was instituted to cut down on “line jumpers” who send a pal to camp out and fight off zombies during the long, hard night, and waltzed in as a gang of 12 or so to get in line for The Walking Dead panel as dawn breaks. Once again, I an by nature unable to understand this line waiting impulse, but the comments on the USDCCB post are full of complaints that the system made lines longer…why, yes. That was their intent. Some people also complain that the new system is dangerous because now children have to sleep outside in line instead of having dad wait for them, and the children are hungry and oh, papa why? My question is, WHY ARE YOU MAKING YOUR CHILDREN CAMP OUT TO SEE SOME DUMB PANEL ANYWAY?

Once again, I’m sure the kids are excited to see the cast of Kiss Meets Scooby Doo, so I’m not accusing anyone of bad parenting. The comments indicate that there was actually quite a bit of confusion over last year’s wristband system, so I’m not sure if these are just comment complainers or a general sentiment. Peanut gallery what say you?

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I actually thought the wristband system was a much-needed improvement last year. They were distributed around 9AM on Thursday and 7AM on Friday. The color coding gave you peace of mind that you would get in. I didn’t camp out for either day, but managed to have thoroughly pleasant line experiences because the wristbands cut a lot of the tension people have about getting in. I fail to see how it forces children to sleep in the cold or go hungry. The only thing forcing that are people with misguided priorities.

  2. I’m not surprised.
    CCI has a great relationship with the City of San Diego.
    They get a 63% discount on convention center rent this year, and next year, that discount will be 67%.
    Local hotels are eager to give them meeting space and rooms, as this is one of the few annual opportunities hotels have to charge the legal rack rate, as rooms are scarce during the Con.
    (Guys… when you check in, take a look at the emergency instructions on your room door. It should include the maximum rate the hotel can charge for your room.)
    I’m certain that CCI will re-up for a few more years, and give the city time to refinance the convention center expansion.
    Meanwhile CCI is testing both Anaheim and Los Angeles, either as a replacement city, or as a means of flipping a smaller but growing WonderCon to San Diego and Comic-Con to Orange County.

  3. BTW, the Westin has a room for Thursday: $739.
    Hotel Indigo: $933.
    Travelodge (!): $600

    My recommendation has alway been the AYH Hostel. Rent a private room (still available, $260), or get a group of friends together and take over a dorm room (with the bath down the hall). There’s a kitchen, so you can save on food. And you’ll meet some cool people.

  4. Heidi, I’m pretty sure that you will also be there for the convention in 2019 (as will I), as it is the conventions 50th anniversary!

    Then a break might be in order!

  5. I appreciate, Heidi, your instinct to be fair about hotel room rates. But these rates demonstrate the CCI’s abysmal ability to negotiate. The Comic-Con is the city’s biggest annual business. It’s worth millions—MILLIONS—to the city. And the city is eager to keep it—witness the steep discount on fees for the Center. But the hotel rates are out of sight. At the hotel I’m staying at, it’s $300/night. But the hotel’s “average rate” (according to its website) is $244. Okay, San Diego is a summer destination, and the Con goers are competing with tourists for hotel rooms. But the Comic-Con represents 4 big nights of revenue for hotels. And to get that, the hotels should be convinced to discount deeper, offering a discount off the “average rate” not the summer rate. Incidentally, the room rate at “my” hotel this week, Wednesday through the weekend, is $244-259/night. How come we can’t get that the next week? Greed and opportunity. (By the way, I don’t normally drag this into a conversation, but I spent 30 years as a convention director, negotiating hotel rates many times every year; I’m not just blowin’ smoke.)

  6. Even if you’re not actually going to the glory that is Hall H this year, you can still have fun without a badge. Come check out the offsite events at McFadden’s on 5th Ave. Nerdioke wednesday night with Almost Famous Karaoke, come take jell-o shots with the band Green Jelly on Thursday, Hassel the Hoff on Friday, and meet heroes and villains on Saturday. See you there….

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