I’m in!

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200802061231 Im in!

Did you get a room?

UPDATE 12:50 E.S.T.: The Travel Planners site has crashed and you can’t get through to the San Diego Hotel Con Room Blog either. We’re hearing nothing but anxious, frustrated messages from people who seemed to get through but then never got a confirmation.

UPDATE 1:03 E.S.T.: The site is working and I’m looking at an availability chart for all the hotels. Rooms are available for different nights at different places. Try to get this chart and get a few nights at your preferred hotel. You can get on a waiting list for the nights you need later.

Rooms for all nights still available further out.

UPDATE 1:48 E.S.T.: Looks like many people finally got through, but the Travel Planners website seems to have been a royal pain in the butt. From the SD Hotel blog:

We’ve been in touch with our travel agency, Travel Planners, numerous times today about the ongoing problems with their website. They’re trying to fix the problems you’ve all been having, but they’re also in the midst of processing phone reservations. We urge you to try again online, or call Travel Planners directly at 1-877-55-COMIC (1-877-552-6642) or 212-532-1660 if you cannot get through online.

Our Board of Directors expects an answer from them as to what went wrong, but that answer may not come today. And we can assure you: we’re NOT moving to Vegas.


Many, many comments from would-be hotel reservers in the post before this.

Looks like it all over but the crying.

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Comments

  1. this website makes me want to throw things.

    41 minutes in now, and i’ve almost made it to the availibility page (page 3). all i’m getting now is “server too busy” messages.

    lame.

  2. Jim Livesay says:

    I’m stuck too. I’m on the page where you choose a hotel, I chose “View All” and now I’m waiting.

    Should I have chosen View All or should I have picked an individual hotel…? Does it matter as far as getting through…?

  3. I…I don’t understand – I got to the ‘enter your credit card page’, entered the info, and the pop-up kinda disappeared after a coupla minutes. It didn’t say I got a room and I haven’t gotten any confirmation emails. *cries*/*huddles*/*cries*/*huddles*…

  4. Same thing with me. I had everything all filled out, and the server took a BIG FAT F’in DUMP ON ME!!! Now, I can’t get it back. Forget calling. I just kept redialing for 30 minutes strait and it was a busty signal every time. I guess we’ll be staying with my mom this year, but I would have like to have a room, so I could work the bar con. I’ve been really hard at work at stuff this year, so this would have helped the pay-off along. Still, I knew this would happen. I tried getting a hotel on my own, months before, but they were $300 a night. I do long for the good old days, when there was a retailer convention before opening day.

  5. Right now, after 55 minutes I’m in the homestretch. Waiting for my credit card to process (for 20 minutes). Picking individual hotels just came up with unavailable rooms.

  6. Jim Livesay says:

    Garrett: thanks, I just needed a sanity check… :(

  7. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I got in at 10:02 on the phone, and 10:04 on the site pretty easily. I got choice 1B instead of 1A, but I’m happy. Canceling back-up rezzos now.

    If it helps, I remember last year the credit card page kept disappearing on me until I went from Mozilla to Explorer, after which it worked fine.

  8. I was using multiple browsers for about an hour – it took three tries getting to the “enter credit card number” page, but I finally got a confirmation. At that point, I didn’t even bother wasting my time on choice 1A. Still, I’m in.

  9. The credit card hangup happend to me too. After a half hour, I just kept redialing on the phone and was able to book a room.

  10. 62 minutes of waiting on the site and constant redialing on the phone, and I still don’t even have the Travel Planners site loaded. GAH.

  11. Tom Spurgeon says:

    That’s mountain time (MT).

  12. Sean D says:

    Still fighting.

  13. Jim Livesay says:

    It. Does. Not. Work.

  14. Jim Livesay says:

    maybe i’ll just go to another con this year…

  15. The Beat says:

    Spurge, you and I seem to have had the easiest time of ANYONE I know. Does God smile on Bloggers? Or are our connections just trained to race horse speed by our constant blogging?

    Weird.

  16. Edward Ward says:

    I’m just wondering what the significance of making reservations today is? I’m going for the first time in a looooooooong time this year and booked a room nearby a couple of weeks ago. Are there discounts on rooms that apply if they are made through the con? Invites to sweet parties? What am I missing out on by having made my reservations independently?

  17. Tom Spurgeon says:

    another of my friends got in immediately, but both my brothers were trying to get rooms, and they didn’t get close to getting on. It’s too bad. I wish there were more rooms. It was only five years ago this was pretty easy.

    TP owed me for last year’s horrific experience.

  18. Jim Livesay says:

    I’ve been at it for an hour and 19 minutes, just trying to figure out how long to keep at it, before choosing another con for this year!!

  19. Tom Spurgeon says:

    “What am I missing out on by having made my reservations independently?”

    A headache.

    The con arranges with a convention hotels service to make available several dozen hotel rooms at generally reduced prices.

  20. Jim Livesay says:

    So, anybody ever been to the con in Charlottes– HeroesCon, I think it is…?

  21. I’ve had my rooms reserved since last year. I get my reservation on the last day that I’m in San Diego. I’ve done this for six or seven years now and never had a problem. Most hotels will let you cancel up to the day of your reservation, or with 24 hours notice, so it’s not even risky.

    –ek
    http://www.silent-k.net

  22. i finally got through to the end before the website died. now most everything is gone.

    after last years terrible booking experience, why did i even turn on the computer this morning?

  23. Tom Spurgeon says:

    It’s tougher to book rooms at a good price after today, but it’s not impossible. I booked a room at the Hilton last year in May and found two different rooms for friends around the same time. It can happen.

    I’ve also stayed as far away as 40 minutes outside of town. You can’t get drunk, or you have to get drunk in the morning (the Harry Potter dress-up people are about 80 percent in the tank by 10 AM), but it’s sort of nice to have breakfast in a room where people aren’t wearing badges and looking deeply unhappy the way on con people can look, and even with a car and parking it’s cheaper.

  24. I got in by continually calling after the web page died on me after entering my CC information. I lucked out and got the jackpot with the hotel right next to the convention center. That wasn’t even my first choice since I’d rather have the delicious free breakfast buffet at the Embassy, but I figured it was worth a shot.

    Travel Planners and the con organizers really need to get off their asses and fix the registration page though. There’s no excuse to have endless clickthroughs and javascript and images that all lead to even more unnecessary load on the server. One screen with a form is all that should be there for when registration opens and then they can put back the “fancy” page later in the day or the following day, when server load returns to normal levels.

  25. I got in right away. From log in to entering cc data took 20 minutes.

    Been hanging on a confirmation page for the past 40 minutes plus two sql errors. Don’t think I got my room.

    I’m leaving this hung page up just to see how long it’s going to stay hung.

  26. Torsten Adair says:

    Unless I had business to engage in, I probably won’t attend another SDCC. From a marketing viewpoint, it is best to vary which conventions you attend. While a con with a smaller attendance might not generate the sales of a huge convention, you can balance that by spending more time talking with fans and creating a stronger bond with your readers. Since it is less hectic, you will also be able to socialize with other people.
    heh. someone could make some serious coin by renting out their hotel shower to those who sleep in cars, under bridges, or who do not sleep at all. Or one could turn the room into a co-op, where people sleep in shifts. Get a bulletin board to help people wake up other people. bribe the cleaning staff for extra towels, soap, and keeping it on the downlow.
    or you could sleep on the beach. Black’s Beach if you sleep in the nude.

  27. Since we’re getting married there, we rented a house and have a nice suite at the Hard Rock for our wedding night! Yeah, we’re excited, makes up for some years of shit rooms we’ve had.

  28. I’ve been stuck on the Personal Information page for about 45 minutes now. I actually got through three times for different hotels, but by the time it got through, each time it told me that the hotel was booked for Friday and Saturday nights.

    MY first time there back in 1996, I stayed at Hotel Circle and parked at the one of the many parking lots near the convention center. Now all those lots are hotels and apartments.

    So where’s the roommate matchup page?

  29. yays i got in! for those of you waiting at the dissapearing credit card pop-up stage – you still have to confirm and check like 2 cancellation/payment agreements before getting an actual confirmation number.

  30. Jim Livesay says:

    I just got my reservation. Took over an hour and a half– got through finally online.

  31. Hi Jim,

    We went to HeroesCon last year in Charlotte for the first time. One of the best show experiences we ever had. The show that Shelton Dunn and his crew put on is very well organized and some of the nicest people to work with. I highly recommend it!

  32. Sean D says:

    One of the roomies got us in at the Coronado Mariott. Was geting processed for the Marriot Marina when the first crash happened. Server load killed me for the Doubletre as well.

    GAAAHHHHH!

  33. http://www.tphousing.com/res/availcal0.asp?EICode=1579&AttTypeCode=72&EventHotelID=0 can be used at any time to check full hotel availability rather than having to go through TP’s awful page.

  34. How does one get on these mythical waiting lists?

  35. The Beat says:

    YIEKS! Matt H that there is the greatest link ever!!!! That would have saved a lot of heartache earlier on.

  36. Randy Lander says:

    After several false starts and a long hang at the confirmation page in Mozilla, I finally got my registration in using Internet Explorer.

    Thank you very much for that tip, Tom Spurgeon, because it definitely made a difference and probably wouldn’t have occurred to me.

    Turns out there’s at least *one* thing IE does better than Firefox. :)

  37. Two hours later, and I finally got a hotel. Had a family member on the phone the entire time. Never got through.

    Found a secondary hotel through expedia and called them directly. Their website said they were sold out, but wrong-o. They gave me a room rate that was cheaper than convention rate, but just as we made the phone reservation, I finally got through to the convention site and finally got a reservation.

    Might be worth it for others to check expedia. You have to pay in advance, which sucks, but follow up with a call directly to hotel. there are some bargains out there.

    My convention hotel is farther away than I would like, but at least we got a really nice room.

  38. Well, I didn’t even start until 30 mins ago, but lucked into a smooth ride for 5 nights 1.5 miles away at the Holiday Inn…until I realized that hotel bookings don’t count the sixth day you chose initially as a “night.”

    So, when I got to the confirmation reservation page, and it said “Edit Reservation,” I made the laughably common sense assumption that clicking on the link WOULDN’T take you right back to the front page of the site, losing your reservation completely, with no going backwards in your browser. Just gone.

    So I got stuck with 5 miles out. Nice job, booking web site! They pay people actual money to design this stuff, you know. Makes me want to buy more comics because I at least can assume the money goes to people who put in effort with the idea of equal reward to me, and they probably test drive their own books for errors before going public.

  39. I also found it interesting that when you came to a listing of all available hotels for the dates you picked on the previous screen, they had a “BOOK IT” tag and then a “Details” tag if your choice of hotel didn’t have all the nights you wanted.

    Made sense then that if you clicked “BOOK IT” you then wouldn’t get messages telling you that hotel was short a room for one or more nights. But no, no sense here; lots of “BOOK IT”s with no availability on some of the nights you chose.

  40. Weirdly enough, it took me exactly the same amount of time to get through as it did last year. I’d written down the time I got my confirmation number when I blogged the experience — 10:04 PST — and that was exactly the time I got it today.

    I’m more relaxed now, but it was nerve-wracking for those 64 minutes. And more than that, I was really annoyed at Travel Planners for not taking any front-end steps to make their site load faster. Even without adding more servers, they could easily have streamlined the site so that it would use less bandwidth, and need fewer back-and-forth requests.

  41. A very tense battle today on the phone- but after 35 minutes of busy signal I did get a room.

    There must be a better way!

    The price of a successful Con, I suppose.

    I hope everybody got a room…

    m.

  42. Took two hours of online lockups and foibles and I had to confirm via phone with the booking agency’s home office in NY using their 212 number.

    At least I’m on the shuttle route!

  43. Over two hours now, still hung up on the “enter your personal info so we can reserve a room for you” screen. I don’t even remember which hotel this was for anymore. I’m not optimistic.

    At those prices, the only way I’d stay in walking distance would be to go with a roommate, so since that’s out I’ll try to find a place a few miles away that’s on the trolley, or maybe I’ll just drive and park somewhere near a shuttle stop.

  44. No problem with getting on the site now, although the selection is kinda limited. :)

  45. This obviously isn’t going to apply (much) to pros who need to be at the hotels closest to the con whether the hotels in question have official Con rates or not, but for fans, most of the hotels on Hotel Circle North and South are available through priceline.com (and no, William Shatner was not an incentive). The Hotel Circle hotels that border both sides of I-8 are along major bus routes that stop at the nearby trolley stop at the Fashion Valley mall and further away in the opposite direction, to the Old Town Trolley stop.

    I recommend these hotels (and there are something like twenty of them total on either side of the 8 ) for fans because they’re sort of the sweet spot where price meets location. Waaay cheaper than downtown which can be 50-100% more expensive than the Circle hotels, but also close enough to the trolleys and buses that they make the cheaper hotels in outlying areas to the North and East far more trouble than they’re worth, *even* if you’ve got a car (and since I’m flying in, I won’t).

    I decided to go a day earlier this year because I noticed over the past couple of years that arriving on Tuesday means that I’m wiped out by Friday.

    — Rob

    PS: Travelocity has become an unusable pain over the past year. Some idiot apparently decided that breaking it was an improvement.

    PPS: Just curious — what are the room rates for the Con Hotels? I assume that they’re out of my price range, but still, just curious.

  46. My browser is still hung loading the (non-existent) confirmation page.
    Yayz!

  47. What magic powers do you all have to be able to waltz in and grab a nearby hotel? I feigned illness to get out of a meeting so I could sit in front on two computers and a fully charged cell phone. Gave up after an hour never getting close. Then I no longer had to pretend. Don’t get me started on taking the trolley…

  48. I think it’s time to ask the Con heads when will they be dumping Travel Planners after failure after failure after massive catastrophic failure in their system today.

    Having a tiny New York agency run a convention with over 100,000 attendees, pros and guests in this day and age is unquestionable.

    Also, I know it was mentioned in jest on the Con blog, but they really really really need to take a good hard look at moving Comic-Con to Vegas. They’d have more than enough hotels amongst other perks of being in a town that easily could handle an event of this size.

  49. We used three phones and got through at 12:00 exactly. After being told that half a dozen hotels were booked (AT 12:00 CENTRAL TIME) when they opened the lines, we were able to secure a room. Not exactly phone but one less worry. I still can’t fathom how these hotels were booked at 12:00. The website took too long for me to try and book there.

  50. We used three phones and got through at 12:00 exactly. After being told that half a dozen hotels were booked (AT 12:00 EASTERN TIME) when they opened the lines, we were able to secure a room. Not exactly phone but one less worry. I still can’t fathom how these hotels were booked at 12:00. The website took too long for me to try and book there.

  51. Jay F. says:

    It took just about an hour and a half for me to get through online, then amazingly it went through. In the same amount of time a friend got through on the phone. I’ve received a confirmation number but am still weary from this morning. I hope to see all of you in the Hyatt bar area talking shop.

  52. Mayhem says:

    I had my first choice all ready to go and confirm… at 12:50EST. Yeah right when the crash hit and I just couldn’t get it to register. In the end I had to go right through the process again, missing out not only on any rooms in my first choice hotel but all the secondary ones I’d picked as well.

    Thankfully there was one hotel left on a shuttle route (Best Western) with rooms left so I managed to grab one there. Finally finished at 13:40EST or so. Phones were useless of course. Hopefully some random British guy might see you lot in July!

  53. Sean D says:

    We used three phones and got through at 12:00 exactly. After being told that half a dozen hotels were booked (AT 12:00 CENTRAL TIME) when they opened the lines, we were able to secure a room. Not exactly phone but one less worry. I still can’t fathom how these hotels were booked at 12:00.

    Well, at 12 Central the lines had been open for an hour. The fact you got through (I was still fighting the processing glitch at that point) is a miracle.

  54. OK, after 5 hours of the “Personal Information” page waiting for a reply from the server, I’m giving up and going home. I hate to kill the page – what if my reservation for the Doubletree finally goes through?

  55. Booked a hotel room in January, no worries. Why wait for Travel Planners when you can just call and book prior to D-Day?

  56. Convention rates, that’s why people wait.

  57. Torsten Adair says:

    SDCC may not be moving to Vegas (not to be confused with the city of Las Vegas), but the Diamond retailer conference is.
    Given the many reasons for hosting a convention in Vegas (hotels, air service, Star Trek Experience), why isn’t there a more prominent convention already there? It is twice the distance from Los Angeles, but does that affect shipping drastically?

  58. maija says:

    Up until reading this blog entry and comments I was feeling pretty bummed about not going to SDCC this year.

    Now I feel much better.

  59. You would murder me if I told you the rate that I got, Joe. There is simply no reason to use Travel Plotzers anymore. Online travel sites, personal research, even simply booking your next stay the day you check out will get you a deal close to what you want, if not exactly what you want. Hell, even a personal travel agent would be preferable to the mental exhaustion and malefic bullshit that the jokers at TP put you through. But who ever said anyone in comics listened to reason?

  60. Tony Lee says:

    Utter ****ing joke, Travel Planners. Three times I got to the cc card point, three times you crashed.

    Now the closest hotel I have is 5 miles away and across the bloody bay.

    This is going to be my last SDCC if you’re still involved next year. I’ll be demanding a full explanation of where my three cc details went, as all three times they apparently went through.

  61. Had three browsers open and redial running on the phone for 45 minutes. My wife was hitting redial at home. Got to the billing point twice before each crashed. At the 45 minute mark we gave up and I decided to keep one browser open for kicks, figuring I’d have to do the “wait til someone cancels” thing but luck would have it, I got in, got my number two hotel choice and all is well.

    45 minutes for my first year. Not so bad.

  62. Alan Coil says:

    Travel Planners doesn’t care if people can’t make reservations because the con will be full whether or not their site crashed once, twice, or not at all.

    It’s all part of the mystique of Sandy Eggo Con. And for every person who says they’ll never go again, there are dozens who will take their place. (Sorta like “Hail Hydra!”)

  63. My browser’s STILL hung on confirmation.

  64. I got a room but had to make some changes when the site crashed. I called the number and got a real nice lady to help me. She was extremely helpful. Plus they picked up almost right away. You all should try calling. I was very pleased.

  65. Matt H: I don’t think there’s going to be any chance of the Con moving to Vegas. Can you imagine that many sweaty, overweight geeks in one convention center (much less all the casinos) smack in the middle of High Heat?

    Also, Vegas ain’t a kid-friendly town no matter how much the Visitors’ Bureau might try to say so. If the show were to move anywhere while retaining the third week in July — or, really, any July or August date, I don’t think that any move would be to anywhere but Los Angeles. The Con occurs a couple of weeks into filming of the traditional TV season *and* it occurs smack in the middle of the TCA press junkets. A large part of the reason, IMO, that the studios and actors put up with the 2-hour-ish commute down to San Diego for the Con is due to the weather. Add 20 more degrees of heat in a move to Vegas and it becomes too much of a hassle for *them.* So I think it’d be Los Angeles or nothin’.

    Now watch somebody take this post entirely out of its speculative context and try to start yet another “The Con Is Moving to LA — This Time For Sure!” rumor.

    — Rob

  66. Anyway, they did a con in Vegas a few years back. It was a bunch of pros sitting around selling nothing. They didn’t do it again. San Diego is a beautiful city. If they moved comic con out of it, I don’t think I’d be happy to go anymore.

  67. “why isn’t there a more prominent convention already there? It is twice the distance from Los Angeles, but does that affect shipping drastically?”

    Katherine Keller can give you an earful, but it boils down to the fact that elements that have tried to get cons going in Las Vegas inevitably end up not knowing anything about either comics or Las Vegas. The promotion is notoriously bad and the fees charged to exhibitors and guests tended to be atrocious.
    Such things kill any momentum or motivation to try large scale cons there.
    Not to mention, Las Vegas in the middle of summer is… warm. San Diego has had a few hot conventions, but Vegas is usually 30 degrees worse.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Once again, I was completely unable to get through by phone. The website was hit and miss, and actually crashed at one point, serving up only a “500 Server Busy” error. Right after I entered my name and address for a reservation. Nice. The current blog entry is filling up with complaints from people having similar or worse experiences. Update 2: The Beat has a growing comment thread as well, and notes that the con hotel blog is making noises about trying to get Travel Planners to fix the problems. I think having an official place where they can read exactly what people are going through is helping convey the fact that the reservation system is broken, and that it’s not just the imbalanced supply and demand for rooms. [...]

  2. [...] Update 2: The Beat has a growing comment thread as well, and notes that the con hotel blog is making noises about trying to get Travel Planners to fix the problems. I think having an official place where they can read exactly what people are going through is helping convey the fact that the reservation system is broken, and that it’s not just the imbalanced supply and demand for rooms. (end of update 2) [...]

  3. [...] 2: The Beat has a growing comment thread as well, and notes that the con hotel blog is making noises about trying to get Travel Planners to [...]

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