Author Topic: CCI 2015 Guide to getting a Downtown Hotel Room (Travel Planners Hotel Lottery)  (Read 72074 times)

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2015 Guide to getting a Downtown
Hotel Room
Travel Planners Hotel Lottery
San Diego Comic Con
By Jopari from You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Guide Creation in Progress. Please view in a Web Browser for best experience.

Disclaimer:
This guide is the personal work of an individual, and in no way represents any official views of Comic Con International,
Travel Planners, or the Friends of CCI Community. Remember that FriendsOfCCI is a community of Fans, with content
created or repeated for other Fans. We are not an official news or media outlet for CCI, TP, or Any other organization.
Please refer to those organizations official news outlets first, to ensure your news is as accurate as possible. Any
information and most images contained within this guide, are modified from old screenshots of the pricing and form
from past years, and is merely an educated guess at what the 2015 prices and form will look like. If and when official
2015 screenshots are released, this guide will be updated to include them. Thank you for your understanding.



    Getting a hotel room for Comic Con is actually fairly easy. It’s when you want a room that
is within walking distance of the convention, that things get a lot more difficult. Most of the
convention area hotels have a contract with a booking company called Travel Planners,
which reserves those rooms at a “low” rate, so that we attendees can get a good room
without spending a fortune. Though you can sometimes get lucky and find a direct booking
through the hotel, or through a 3rd party booking site like Hotwire.com, your best bet is to
go through Travel Planners.


To Start things off, here is a Map of the Downtown Hotels for 2015




EARLY BIRD SALE

          If you are ok staying further away, Comic Con International has an “Early Bird” sale, where you can reserve a
room on the shuttle or trolley route (busses and trains that can take you right to the convention center). Here is the
link to 2015’s early bird sale You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login . It will
be active until the Hotel Lottery starts on March 24th, 2015. Here is a Map of the Early Bird Hotels so you can get
An idea of where they are located. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

          Remember that the Early Bird sale is only a small portion of the non-downtown hotels. Review the full list of
available hotels through travel planners (full list available via the screenshots later in this guide) to decide if you might
want to wait and go for the Hotel Lottery Form. There is a larger selection of non-downtown hotels available in the hotel
lottery, it is not just for downtown hotels. Also note that in past years, any hotel rooms left over from the Early Bird
and Hotel Lottery, will likely be available through Travel Planners Booking link (Will be added later).

HOTEL REQUEST FORM

          The rest of the hotels, and specifically the downtown hotels, can be booked by filling out a Request Form from
Travel Planners on March 24th. A link to the hotel request form will be emailed to everyone with a Comic Con member
ID a few days before the Form becomes accessible. Or you can find a link to the form on You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, likely
the same day the links are emailed.

"A link to the Travel Planners website will be sent via email to badge holders 72 hours ahead of the hotel reservations
opening. This link will not be active until Mar 24 at 9:00 AM PACIFIC TIME (12:00 PM Eastern Time). Starting at 9:00
AM Pacific Time on Mar 24, 2015, you will be able to access the reservation request form via the link in your email or
at the top of this page or by calling 1-877-55-COMIC (1-877-552-6642) or 212-532-1660. PLEASE DO NOT CALL
BEFORE MAR 24 AT 9:00 AM PACIFIC TIME."


PURPOSE OF THE FORM AND THE PROCESS


          The purpose of the form is to prevent a bottleneck of 200,000 people all trying to book the same few hotels as
the same time. By making everyone fill out a form, Travel Planners is able to slowly book each room at their own
pace. The process is that you open the form at the designated date and time (Mar 24th, 2015 9AM PST most likely),
and fill out the form as fast as possible, enter your personal information, your top 6 hotel choices, and guest
information and then press the Submit button. A few days later you will receive an email with the hotel that has been
chosen for you. You then provide a credit card that will be charged two nights plus taxes. They process the forms in
the order received, so the faster you are, the more likely you are to get one of your top choices.




PREPARATION AND IMPROVING YOUR CHANCES

          The rest of this guide will concentrate on how to use the travel planners’ form, and increase your chances of
obtaining a (downtown) hotel booking. Before you read the rest of the guide, please skip to the end to view a
representation of the 2015 form, so you understand what I am talking about.

PREPARATION

          It is important that you understand what information is required in order to submit the form, and have all that
information memorized NOW. Having to spend time after the form goes live, calling your mom to ask her how to spell
your last name is not going to be a good idea. Nor will pausing to call up your friends to determine which hotels you
should pick. Get that information ready now, weeks before you need it.

Task #1. Determine which 6 hotels you want.

          Review the price list, and other info gleaned from pictures in this
document. Read reviews on the hotels. Also refer to last this year’s PDF of
the hotel list, which has even more information.
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The Form has as dropdown list of all of the hotels that you pick from.
The hotel names on that list can be slightly different than what is shown on the PDF file.
Here is a Spreadsheet that I'm updating periodically that shows the difference in 2014,
and my guesses at what they will be for 2015
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Write down the hotels, with the exact spelling Travel planners is using,
in the order of preference. You need to pick exactly 6, no more, no less.   
Task #2. Synchronize your Clock

     If your computers clock is off by just a few seconds, that could spell
disaster and ruin your chances of getting a downtown hotel room.
Set your clock to You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login,
or some other military/government time
source.

Task #3. Personal and Guest Information


Make sure you have your personal information ready (notepad to copy/paste is great).
Have the following information ready (either in a notepad,or just be really fast at typing).


  • First Name
  • Last name,
  • Address,
  • City
  • State(for USA/CAN)       
  • Zip
  • Country
  • Phone Number and
  • Email Address
  • Room Type
  • Arrival Date
  • Departure Date
  • Occupant 1 First Name
  • Occupant 1 Last Name
  • Occupant 2 First Name
  • Occupant 2 Last Name
             
Improving your chances

          Travel Planners will process the forms in the *cough* *Cough* order they are received. Thousands of forms
come through every second. Forms received within 3 seconds of each other are considered to have arrived at the
same time. At least that is how it is supposed to happen. So the faster you get your form submitted, the more likely
your chances will be. Also, if you pick larger hotels that are not as popular, there is a better chance that when your
Form is processed, your hotel choice(s) will be available. It all depends on popularity of the hotel. If you are quick,
then it won’t matter. You can pick the Hard Rock, or the Hilton Bayside and not have any problems getting your
reservation.

So..be FAST!! The closer to 9:00:00am you COMPLETE the form, the better your chances of getting a room you want
will be. Don't waste time reading or deciding on different options. Have everything planned out ahead of time.




How to fill out each section of the Form and Tips to be faster



Reservation Information Section


          The is the first Section that requires typing. This is where you type
in your name, address, phone and email I mentioned earlier. Again, I
recommend copy/paste from a notepad document, unless you are crazy
fast at typing. Click the Image to the right for a larger view. -->

Methods to fill this section out faster:
  • Type really fast
  • Copy/Paste from a Notepad
  • Use WebBrowser Autocomplete (Completes words as you type)



Hotel Preferences Section


          For the next section of the form, you will need to select 6 hotels (no more no
less). Select the dropdown Box (the hotels will be listed in alphabetical order). When you click on a hotel in the
dropdown box it will appear just below the dropdown box in a re-arrange able list. Each time you left-click a hotel from
the drop-down box, it will appear in the list below the dropdown box. Continue selecting the dropdown box
and clicking on the hotels you want until you have 6 total hotels.



          You can re-arrange the Hotels if you accidentally selected them in the wrong order. Just left-click, Hold and drag
The hotel to the position you want it in. Keep in mind that you will be wasting precious seconds if you do this. Try
Not to make any mistakes in the first place, if at all possible.

Some tips about hotel selections:

          You can type the first letter to go hotels that start with that letter on the dropdown list. Makes selection go a
little faster. It seems to have trouble hopping down to a hotel that starts with the same letter of a hotel you have
already selected previously (hope that makes sense). So be prepared to use the scroll bar to get to the hotel you
want. The quicker and more accurate you are with the hotel selections, the better your chances will be to get one of
the hotels on your list.



Next you have to decide if you are willing to pay more per night for one of the hotels on your list. If you do, check the
box under:

Please check the box below if you would accept an upgrade/higher rated room:

If the only room(s) available at my specified hotels are at an upgraded/higher
nightly rate, book my reservation into those room(s). NOTE: Nightly rates can
be substantially higher than the rates posted above. Checking this box DOES
NOT guarantee a room at your requested hotel(s).
I am not sure what the criteria is, on whether or not you get offered a Suite, or other more expensive room.
My guess is that if the hotels you chose are all out of normal rooms, yet they have some suites available,
they may offer one to you. Prices for a suite can range from $600 to several thousand per night. We are not
certain if this helps or hurts your changes of getting a standard rate room.




“If None of my specified Hotels are available”

Now for the "If I am too slow or just have bad luck, and don't get one of my 6 hotels" options. It will look like this:

If none of my specified hotels are available...
Book me into any available downtown hotel. If NO downtown hotels are available, discard my request and
do not waitlist me.

Book me into any hotel that is on the shuttle route. If NO hotels on the shuttle route are available,
discard my request. NOTE: if we are able to book you into a hotel on the shuttle route, you will also
automatically be waitlisted for your original, specified hotel choices above.

Book me into any available hotel. NOTE: if we can book you into any available hotel, you will still
automatically be waitlisted for your original, specified hotel choices. If we CANNOT book your requests, you
will be automatically waitlisted.
You will have to pick one of the three choices. I will explain the pros and cons of each.

The first option is for those of you who are in the "Downtown or bust!" crowd. If travel planners cannot find you one of
your 6 picks, or a downtown hotel room, you will be removed from their system. You can then wait until Travel Planners
opens up the direct booking of leftover hotels, and try to get a room that way. They don't let you chose both
DOWNTOWN & WAITLIST because then everyone would just chose this option. They want people to have to make a
choice, and force as many people as possible to settle for non-downtown hotels.

The second option is for if you want to be put on the waitlist (if one of your six choices has availability later on, you will
be contacted and given a chance to book one of those rooms), and for the time being, settle for a hotel room that is
on the shuttle route (buses that pick you up and drop you off at the convention center). This is the safest option if you
do not have a vehicle.

The third option is for those of you with a vehicle. Like the second option, you will be put on the waitlist, and may be
offered one of your top six choices later.

Basically if you want any available downtown hotel, you don't get put on a waitlist. So you are taking a larger
risk than the other two options. If no available downtown hotel is available, you will not get a room OR be put on the
waitlist. So use caution when selecting this option
.





Accommodations needed:


         The first thing you need to do in this section is select the number of rooms you need (1 to 10). If you pick more
than 2-9 rooms, you will need to select the room type, arrival date, departure date, and occupant names for EACH
room separately
. If you pick "10 or more", you will be asked for ONE Arrival and Departure date, as well as how many
of EACH Room Type you need. It is a drop-down selection, and you pick 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10(or more). Next, quickly
pick the Type of room (Number of People and Beds), and Arrival and Departure Dates: Fill in the first and last names
of the people staying with you

If you need more than one Room, and your top pick does not have enough rooms to cover the number you need, They will
check the next hotel on your list. This will continue until they find a hotel that has enough availability to accommodate your request.
Hotel Requests will not be split up between different hotels
.


"Book all rooms on one form. We strongly recommend you do not submit multiple requests as it will delay
processing your reservations."


          This warning is referring to those who need more than one room. That is why they include a dropdown selection
box where you choose the number of rooms you need. It is unknown known that requests for more than one room are not
given a priority. The request forms are processed by the completed timestamp.


Number of Rooms*
          Type of Room*Arrival Date*Departure Date*
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Room 1
            First Name*Last Name*
Occupant 1



When you select the Room Type, it will automatically add Occupants
for each person that you are required to fill in. You will need to enter
the first name and last name for each occupant
(Do NOT JUST USE INITIALS!!). So if you pick "Quad"
you will need to fill in a first and last name for all four occupants.
  Arrival and Departure dates are critical. If you try to ADD dates later,
there may not be availability on the for the dates you need to add. It
is better to book more than you need, and then reduce the number
of days you need, than you find out later that you really needed to
come in on Wednesday instead of Friday, and not be able to stay at
the same hotel the whole time.



The last section:
Acknowledgement confirmations.


Check all three boxes to acknowledge before proceeding:
I will provide a deposit equal to my first and last night's room rage and tax within 72 hours
of receiving my hotel reservation confirmation email or my reservations will be automatically canceled.
I understand the number of beds in a room cannot be guaranteed.
I am submitting one form for all of my rooms. (Submitting multiple requests will only delay
the processing of your reservations.)
You must Check all 3 check boxes
Press Submit.



I recommend getting the entire form complete within 60 seconds to have a good chance.
You should receive a confirmation email that your form was received.

Within 48 hours you will receive the hotel you have been selected (or the bad news that you did not get one, and that
you are/are not on a waitlist for your original 6 hotels).
You will then have 72 hours to pay two nights of the reservation or you will lose it.




PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE


          Now that you have a good grasp on what the form looks like,
the information you need to memorize, and how to fill out the form...
It's time to make sure your time to complete the form is under a
minute. Practice entering all of your information (including selecting
6 hotels) over and over until you can get as close to 30 seconds as
possible. Start a competition with your friends and family to see who
is like.. the coolest form enter..er. yeah. Here is the link to a practice
form created in Google Forms. There are 6 hotel selection boxes
though. remember that the real form has only ONE dropdown hotel
selection boxes, and you just reuse it 6 times.     
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Here is a GREAT Video HowTo made by ConShark. Watch it!
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Hotel Exchange

Each year so far, some people end up with a reservation that they do not need for one reason or another.
Travel Planners has thus far allowed us to transfer reservations to other people by calling them within the
payment window (72 hours after the hotel confirmation emails are sent out). Rather than letting those
rooms go back to the general population, we Trade or Give Away the reservations to other members of our
Friends of Comic Con community.

If you have a Hotel reservation you would like to trade for a different hotel (use reason/common sense),
or would like to give one away, please visit our thread dedicated to Hotel Exchanges. Also if you find
yourself in need of a reservation after striking out in the Hotel Lottery, give the Hotel Exchange a shot
to see what we can help you out with.

Keep in mind that most people are after Downtown hotels, so try not to clutter the hotel exchange with
hotel reservations that nobody will likely want. Thank you.

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VIEWING, CHANGING, CANCELING A RESERVATION, PROVIDING
PAYMENT


To Reserve your room, you will need to provide payment equal to 2 nights stay plus tax. You will receive an email from
Travel Planners with your reservation number, and a link to the website where you can confirm your reservation
information, days, room type, and guests, and then submit your payment information

Once you have paid for your reservation, you will receive an email from Travel Planners that includes your reservation
number and hotel details.

They will also include a link to the page where you can review and make changes to your reservation. This is the same
page you used to enter your payment information.

You can freely make changes to Guests first and last names. But to change the billing address, Contact Name, or
Phone number you will need to call Travel Planners directly. Call Travel Planners at 800-221-3531 or 212-532-1660.


OFFICIAL PRICE LIST

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Now for my interpretation of what the 2015 Hotel Request form will look like.


HERE IS MY REPRESENTATION OF THE FORM FOR 2015: REMEMBER THESE ARE NOT
PICTURES OF THE ACTUAL 2015 FORM, BUT JUST MY BEST GUESS. THE 2015 FORM
HAS NOT YET BEEN RELEASED. THIS SAMPLE IS OUR BEST GUESS, BASED ON THE
2014 FORM. SCREENSHOTS OF THE REAL FORM WILL BE ADDED ONCE THEY ARE RELEASED


It starts out with an introduction popup. Take note of everything on this page, especially the cancellation policy.
 









« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 10:00:40 PM by jopari »

Offline Emerald_Mom

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Thanks Jopari.... this helps to give this 1st timer and idea of where the hotels are in relation to the CC.
“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

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Offline retired

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Guide now somewhat complete. Small Screenshots, more details and better formatting will be added throughout the week.

Thank you.
-Jopari
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 04:44:39 PM by jopari »

Offline mlgagne

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Thank you so much for putting this together, jopari! This will be super helpful for me & my group  :)
SDCC: 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019
WonderCon: 2017 | 2018 | 2019
NYCC: 2012 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016
Walker Stalker Con: 2015 (San Diego) | 2017 (Atlanta)

Offline Transmute Jun

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Great work Jopari! It is clear that you put tremendous effort into this, and it is much appreciated!

Offline ironmima

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This is much, much appreciated, jopari!

Offline dolphina

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Thanks Jopari  ;D
A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting”

Wondercon, SDCC, Comikazi, Blizzcon, SWCA, D23

Offline Chris

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Again with the grumpy face icon for the thread.   >:(

Offline Zero

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Wonderful job, jopari!  (As always!)

I have stickied this thread in the meantime.
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Searching for the light known as 'you' in the middle of the night...

Offline Nancy

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You're wonderful, Jopari! Your thread last year helped us to get our first choice downtown and reading this has made me feel somewhat prepared for this time around.

Thank you so much for all the information provided and effort you've gone to  :)

Offline retired

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Thanks all.

Update: added some more info to the early bird section, and added a practice section with a link to the practice for.

Todo: more screenshots of each section on the form, more formatting, adding a couple more useful sections

Offline mightymoose

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This is an amazing help for both newcomers and those who have done it before as a reminder! 
Thanks to you last year I was able to get a hotel right beside the center, fingers crossed your magic helps again this year!

Offline madfly

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Wow! That's awesome! Thanks so much! :)

Offline Sarahharas

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Is it a good idea to check the "accept an upgrade/higher rated room"? Also, with "if none of my specfied hotels are available" option what is the best answer? I was thinking the second option but then it says to discard the request is none are available so then you could end up with nothing?

Offline retired

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Is it a good idea to check the "accept an upgrade/higher rated room"? Also, with "if none of my specfied hotels are available" option what is the best answer? I was thinking the second option but then it says to discard the request is none are available so then you could end up with nothing?


Ive personally never done it, but it refers to special rooms like suites. You could end up paying $600+ per night. But if room availability is running low, they may offer you a suite in lieu of not getting a room at all.

I will do some research to see if there are any documented cases from people who checked that option, and what they ended up with. Ill update the guide with those details if/when i find them.

Thanks.

That 2nd option, they did that to encourage everyone to pick "any" hotel (mission valley, airport, etc). You check the 2nd option knowing that there is risk involved in doing so. I will add more details to the guide in regards to this soon.