Comic-Con uses a system that seems convoluted but apparently works. They release the block of rooms to the general public at the same time. We fight tooth and nail to get through on the set day by internet and phone. It's bloody - bloody frustrating. I actually can't complain; I really lucked out last year and got the fifth hotel on my list. I read about plenty of issues getting through and lost information though. This year, hotel rooms go on sale Wednesday, March 9, at 9am PST (2013: It's February 26 at 9am PST). I don't have any magical solutions to help you get a room at the Hilton, but here are some tips that will make your life a little easier next Wednesday morning:
- Read all the information on the Comic-Con hotel page about how registration works. They even have a handy, downloadable PDF documenting the process.
- Don't wait until an hour before tickets go on sale to do your hotel research! You can find a premlinary list of all hotels in the block here. The list shows the rate, mileage from the convention center, and whether there is a shuttle to and from the convention. Remember that the rate only includes the room. If the rate is more important to you than proximity, visit each hotel's website. Look at parking costs (it can range from $10-$30 a night), internet costs, nearby food, etc. Look at the trolley route to see if it's an option when the shuttle isn't.
- After you've looked at hotels, make a list of twenty in order from most preferred to least preferred. You will need to enter these or pick them from a dropdown menu when you make your reservation.
2013 update: it's now 6 hotels instead of 20
- If you are planning to share a room with friends, don't leave it to just one person to book the room. You should all try to increase your chances of getting what you want (or getting anything at all). You do not have to pay a deposit immediately, but even if you commit to a room and pay a deposit, you can cancel the room and get a refund until May 10.
2013 update: the refund date is April 30
- The buddy system in general isn't a bad idea. The positive is that the more people that try to book one room, the greater likelihood of success. The negative is that you're adding even more people to an already busy queue.
- Have all the information you might need for the reservation saved in a document and ready to copy/paste before registration starts. Include your name, address, email address, phone number, names of all people that will be sleeping in the room, your list of hotels, credit card number, expiration date, CVV code, and the dates you want to stay. It's less stressful and a little faster to just copy/paste everything in rather than typing.
- If you can't get through on the website or phone (though I think the internet is the best way to go) try, try, and try again. Once you get into the online registration do not for the love of all things holy click Back or Refresh.
Go in with reasonable expectations. Lots of people will get screwed, and you could be one of them. Chin up though, lots of rooms do get canceled - especially around the last day of refundable cancellation. In 2009, I scored a room at the Hilton across the street from the convention center in June. June!!
If you still don't get a room, use Twitter to make a friend in San Diego!