Today is the last day for people to cancel their hotel reservations at Comic-Con International for a full refund. Starting Saturday, they’ll keep a $75 cancellation fee.

So what’s the good news?

If you couldn’t get a room in March, and haven’t found alternative housing for the convention, this may be your second chance!

Even if there were fewer “just in case” reservations this year, there are always at least some people whose plans just fall through. Someone gets sick, their financial status changes, they were counting on a raise that didn’t happen, a cousin schedules a wedding for that weekend, etc. Rooms should be opening up over the next few days as people take their last chance to cancel without penalty.

The question is: what happens to them?

The old reservation process worked like a crowded store, where everyone kept trying to pick a room until they ran out. So when rooms freed up, they were made available to whoever happened to be checking up on the system.

This year, though, was like a massive take-a-number system, with Travel Planners assigning rooms to people in order (even though it’s not clear exactly what order it was). They did cap the line, but there were an awful lot of people who got requests in but no rooms, and ended up on a waiting list. A representative confirmed by email that they will contact people as rooms free up.*

So, what we should see in the next few days is Travel Planners offering rooms to the early part of the waiting list. Edit: Maybe not – see the comments.

It’s a safe bet that some people on the list have already secured a room through other channels, and no doubt some of them will want to stick with their alternate lodging (especially if their alternate hotel is across the street, and Travel Planners hands them something ten miles away). That will probably trigger a second round of free rooms next week.

No doubt the process will repeat itself on June 18, when the rest of the deposit becomes non-refundable.

Of course, it all depends on just how many people cancel their reservations to start with. I doubt anyone outside of the travel agency (and maybe CCI) has solid numbers of just how many con-goers are stuck in limbo.

*The way they put it was that they were trying “to identify any rooms already committed that might not be ultimately utilized.” Gotta love corporate-speak.

See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups

5 thoughts on “Comic-Con Hotel Deadline & Second Chances

  1. I still have no faith in Travel Planners. I’m on the waitlist (and I also have alternative housing), but no one has contacted me. I know you said they’re waiting to see how it all shakes out before offering waiting-list accommodations, but there are rooms showing as available on their website… so how does that work? Have they decided no one on the waitlist wants those rooms? How did they determine that?

    To be fair, I DON’T want any of those rooms (the closest one is two miles out), but someone on the waitlist probably does. Once again it seems that Travel Planners is saying one thing while doing another. As far as I’m concerned they’re either incompetent or evil, and at this point I don’t really care which.

    • Weird: I didn’t even see that when I looked through the site yesterday. But I did some exploring after seeing your comment and figured out how to get to the list.

      To those following along: if you follow the reservation link from the Comic-Con website, then click on the Group Reservation tab, then click on the Individual Reservation tab, you can fill out dates and look up room availability. Just leave the hotel selection on “View All.”

      I’ve talked to two more people who are theoretically on the waitlist, but haven’t heard anything from TP. One of them gave this method a try and was able to book a room.

      So I don’t know what’s going on with the waiting list at this point, unless the waitlist they’re using is different from the list of people who got through in March but didn’t get a reservation.

      • You’re always so even-handed when discussing Travel Planners, Kelson. I will try to emulate your open-mindedness, even though at this point the very mention of Travel Planners causes my vision to tint red with frustration and rage.

        It’s possible they have another waitlist, I guess, although it would have been nice if they had let anyone know how to get on that waitlist, if so. I suppose it’s also theoretically possible they’re not offering me those hotels because they weren’t on my original list of 12… but I can’t say I believe they still have that list or are using it.

        Also, the fact that you have to play games with their website to get it to fulfill its only function is…baffling, is a nice word for it. The empty white space where the “make a reservation” button should be (with no note or explanation anywhere) is a simple yet effective way of discouraging people from actually using their services, I suppose.

        • Eh, I’m sure I’d be spitting nails if they’d managed to screw up my first-five-minutes reservation. (It’s still far from ideal, but it’s close enough.) Since I don’t have a personal stake in it at this point, it’s less infuriating and just plain…well, baffling.

          I’m now wondering whether they didn’t realize the reservation form was still available (not to mention active). If you want to disable something online, you have to actually turn it off or block it, not just remove links to it, because you never know what’s been bookmarked, picked up by Google, etc….but given some of the other design flaws I’ve seen on their site over the last few years, it wouldn’t surprise me much.

          One thing I should add that seems to have gotten lost in editing: When I emailed them, I asked specifically whether simply getting through on March 18 was enough to get someone on the waiting list, or whether there was another procedure. Unfortunately the form response I got this morning didn’t address this issue.

          • Looks like they’ve fixed that little back door now – I was able to look up available rooms as late as 5pm yesterday, but now it takes you back to the buttonless front page. There’s still no note on that page that might help someone who hadn’t been following the whole saga.

            And there were still a number of rooms available yesterday… unless they all sold out last night, it looks like Travel Planners is once again scrambling to fix what they shouldn’t have screwed up in the first place. If your friend booked through the back door last Friday, that means it took them a week to figure it out and start (presumably) offering them to the waitlist instead.

            Once again, they look incompetent – as if they just react to each new wrinkle as it hits them, rather than planning for the situation as a whole. It’s not like planning is in their name or anything.

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