So you are one of the chosen few who has a badge for San Diego Comic Con this year but you are in need of a hotel for the event. You and 125,000 others were in the same boat this morning in the Geek Hunger Games for a hotel room in downtown San Diego. The goal is to score a hotel in the downtown area and to get that you have to submit the form in less than 5 minutes and as soon as 2 or 3 minutes. The submissions are supposedly time stamped.For some reason SDCC has been using Travel Planners for years now and every year it seems they find a new way to screw the whole process up. Here is a bit of history on the fiasco with Travel Planners
It used to be getting a room was not difficult but Travel Planners always seemed to not be able to handle it back before the lottery of disappointment. There were a number of times the reservation was wrong with the number of beds or one time they didn’t get the credit card number right and the hotel nearly canceled the reservation but Travel Planners never contacted us about the problem with the credit card. It was the hotel that contacted us.
Up until about 2004 or 2005 getting a hotel was first come first served. And usually the server crapped out in seconds and you had to keep hitting the refresh button to attempt to get in. But at least back then you knew that you had a room at the hotel of YOUR choice. Then they had the brilliant idea to hold a lottery and you would choose up to 10 hotels and hope for the best. Rarely did it work out and many times you were either aced out of any room or you had the unfortunate pleasure of staying in Mission Valley (A.K.A Butt F%$K Nowhere) without any shuttle service.
This year hit a new low in that there were many people who simply could not get the site to load. There were quite a few that got the site to load but the page wasn’t working properly. The whole point of the landing page and hotel request was that their servers could not handle the load. Now apparently that doesn’t work now either.
There were quite a few people who submitted forms but later in the day received emails from Travel Planners that the form didn’t have any hotel selections.
There was apparently two forms that people got from the Travel Planners website (Thanks to SDCC Blog for this info).
There was the correct form:
There was the incorrect form:
One user discovered what might have been the problem with the website.
This is a MAJOR screw up by Travel Planners and it’s not as if they have never experienced the massive crush of users trying to get on to the site. Now this brings up a very big problem. When you submit the form it has a time stamp on it. So the people who had bad forms was able to submit it in just over a minute ahead of most correct forms. How will this affect people’s request for hotels. It’s not fair that people who got an early time stamp because of a glitch and they shouldn’t be ahead of the people who filled out the form correctly that took them a few more minutes. This is a real Cluster F$%K and once again a huge fail on Travel Planners not being able to handle taking reservations for SDCC.
After you submit then the waiting game begins. It can take up to 48 hours for Travel Planners to give you good, bad, or completely F$%KED news.
The sad part of Hotelpocalypse is that it’s so screwed up that making fun of the whole thing has become a sport.
SDCC needs to find a new service to handle the hotel sale for the convention. Every year at SDCC Con Talk Back beyond the badge sale problems the number one complaint is Travel Planners and the constant screw ups that happens every year. There are a lot of companies that do the same service and can’t be any worse. My opinion is that there is some sort of kickback from Travel Planners to SDCC and that is why they still use them. There is no other rational explanation considering the problems have been going on for nearly the entire time that Travel Planners has been used for SDCC reservations.
So will SDCC Hotelpocalypse ever get any better? Doubtful but there is always hope that now merged with a company named On Peak and maybe they will be better in the future. But I certainly will not be holding my breath.
Why is a convention that hasn’t increased the number of badges in years experiencing more and more problems with the hotel system?
The reason is that people without badges are allowed to use it along with badgeholders. The growth of offsite events like NerdHQ and Nerdist performances has a bunch of people coming to San Diego even though they don’t have badges.
The simple fix is to have two hotel sales. One for badgeholders, professionals, and exhibitors only. The second “leftover” sale would be for anyone else. I guarantee demand will ease up for the early sale
After all, SDCC negotiates these hotels for SDCC…not for offsite events.
The bigger issue is that it seems the group that runs SDCC doesn’t seem to accept that there needs to be major changes in how things are done. While the convention grew faster than they were able to handle it, they don’t appear to be changing things or coming up with better solutions for the problems. You come up with some really good ideas that maybe SDCC should look into.