Chicago Comic-Con…how to get a cheap hotel room

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With the blisters of San Diego barely healing, a few hardy folks are girding their loins for this coming weekend’s Chicago Comic-Con (formerly Wizard World Chicago). However, folks who booked their hotel through the con website may still have time to save a buck or two. A creator we’ll call “Thunderdome” writes:

I’m staying with an artist in Chicago for the Chicago Comic Con (formerly WW Chicago).  He booked a room at the Hyatt at the “con rate” of $145 per night (booked via Wizard).  I thought that sounded steep (I’ve stayed at said hotel before for about $99 per night).  I got online, hyatt.com, and sure enough, the room was $129 per night on Thurs, $104 per night (!!!) on Fri and Sat.  So I called the hotel directly, told them I was coming in for the con, and they quoted me the $145 per night rate.  I mentioned the online rate, and they said it was correct, and had no idea why the room would be higher for the con rate.  Needless to say, I booked at the online rate and saved $100 for the three days. 

Possibly more disturbing?  I booked a room at the Hyatt (the hotel attached to the frickin con!) 6 days before the con with NO PROBLEM.  Pretty much the opposite of SDCC. 

Lessons:
1. Screw the con rate, book on your own, you save money by NOT MENTIONING THE CON!
2. Look for a sparsely attended Chicago Comic Con. 
3. Bring on the Reed show.  

 Chicago Comic Con...how to get a cheap hotel room

Comments

  1. I don’t think it was the Hyatt, but one of the big hotels across the street, that is having a horror show a month after the con and rooms are only $99 or so a night for the show. Perhaps it could be explained that you’re paying some sort of premium for a high demand period and also to be in a block with others going to the con… or it could just be simple price gouging. Then again, I’m pretty sure the Hyatt has a lot more problems during the show (the bar scene has had some problems in previous years) and may have higher costs they pass on to the con attendees.

  2. Hey there,

    As an event organizer myself, I can tell you that negotiating room rates with hotels is a very, very difficult process. Their group discounted rates, usually predicated on booking a ton of hotel rooms, are usually only 10%-25% off their “standard” rates which are ridiculous to begin with. The thing is if it ends up being a high-demand period, they’re gonna get that ridiculous $200-$300 a night they normally charge, which makes $145 a great deal.

    Given that the U.S. is in the midst of a deep recession and conventions and trade shows are being hard-hit though, hotels (and airlines!) are doing amazing sales right now, trying to keep capacity high and cash flowing.

    At the Toronto Comic Arts Festival we’ve never bothered with an ‘official’ con hotel, because the rates that they quoted us for booking a huge number of rooms were always higher than what I could book online–often using the hotel’s own online ordering system.

    While I do think it’s a little sad that the Hyatt–normally party central for Wizardworld congoers–isn’t at capacity the week before the con, I don’t think the convention’s trying to screw anyone. It’s just the way hotels operate (broken).

    – Christopher

  3. Unfortunately, there’s only one hotel near McCormick Place… everything else is a taxicab or the train or a hike to the El. McCormick’s also “downtown”, so rates will be higher.

    Interesting exhibitors list for CCC…

  4. I think “Thunderdome” may have booked at the wrong Hyatt. The Hyatt Rosemont is in Rosemont and is on N. River Rd. (the same road as the convention), but it’s not the one that’s connected to the convention center. That’d be the Hyatt Regency O’Hare (http://ohare.hyatt.com), which is currently booking rooms at $159-169 a night, according to the website. The Embassy Suites across the street also still has rooms available, but they’re at $179 a night.

  5. michael says:

    wait! So this ISN’T the Reed show? O.o

  6. I did the same thing in SF with Wondercon at the Marriott…

  7. Wizard show = Chicago Comic Con = CCC
    Reed show = Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo = C2E2

  8. I made a bigger mistake… When I attended Heroes Con back in 199…6? I booked a hotel, not realizing that it was out in the posh area west of town. I got “the convention rate” because they were hosting a Western convention (not much different than a comics convention, except for age). Fortunately, the nearest bus stop was not too far away, although the ride took about an hour.

  9. Jason’s right. The Rosemont Hyatt, about a mile from the convention center, has the cheaper rooms available on their Website. The O’Hare Hyatt, across the street from the convention center, also has rooms available on their Website, but they’re about $15.00 per night above the Wizard rate.

    Interestingly, the McCormick Place Hyatt, adjacent to the venue where C2E2 will be held in April, is all booked up this weekend. (I have no idea whether or not C2E2 has identified a convention hotel, though.)

  10. Torsten Adair says:

    The last time I attended CCC was when Men In Black premiered. I saved money by staying at the youth hostel downtown and taking the El to Rosemont.

  11. I’m been doing this ‘trick’ for a while now. It’s not so smooth every year, but always better than the con rate. It also helps if your a AAA member because they’re supposed to give you the cheapest rate available automatically. My only complaint is that they often overbook, meaning that me and my roommates are left with a King, a rollaway and the floor as opposed to double beds.

  12. Chris says:

    I find that most hotels will automatically the lowest rate as listed on websites other than their own, i.e. hotels.com, orbitz, priceline, etc.

  13. Stay out of the Loop/Grant Park during this weekend, since Lollapalooza is happening at the same time as the CCC. If you are driving, then cheaper hotels can be found west of Rosemont/O’Hare. Parking is a bitch across from the convention center ($11.00 last year. Save your cash for the dealers… Pay with debit/credit cards @ kiosk), but you can use the CTA Blue Line Rosemont “L” Station Parking lot, on River Road, north of the convention center for about $2-3.00/day. The walk is slightly longer than the scramble thru the convention center’s Habitrail tubes from the parking deck.

  14. michael says:

    thanks Jason! for the clarification. ;)

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