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SDCC’s Nightmare Hotel Situation Could Push Comic-Con Out of San Diego



SDCC’s Nightmare Hotel Situation Could Push Comic-Con Out of San Diego

Even if you’ve never attended San Diego Comic-Con, you’ve probably heard how hard it is to get a hotel for the event. Every year fans enter an online lottery that’s long been dubbed “Hotelpocalypse” hoping to get a room close to the con at a reasonable price. However, in recent years, many fans—including the staff of this very website—have found the lottery increasingly difficult. Now, we may know why, and Comic-Con isn’t happy about it.

Speaking to, David Glanzer, Chief Communication and Strategy Officer for Comic-Con International, said that several hotels in the area have made fewer rooms available during the online lottery—which features pre-negotiated rates—knowing they can get guests to book rooms directly, outside the lottery, at a greatly increased rate. “Many of the hotels downtown have been incredibly wonderful to us,” Glanzer said. “They’ve allowed us to use meeting space, they’ve given us huge room blocks, they’ve kept their rates very competitive. But it’s tough when those hotels offer a competitive rate and then a hotel that chooses not to be in the room block charges an exorbitant amount of money. That means the people who work with us end up losing out.”

Here’s an example. Comic-Con is currently two weeks away and, you’d assume, all hotels would be completely sold out. Well, as of 9 a.m. PT on Wednesday, July 10, a search for a one-person room from July 24-July 28 didn’t turn up many results, but it did turn up some. If you book today, rates in the immediate downtown area range from $548 a night to $1,184 a night. That higher number is at the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter which, during the lottery, charges only $326 per night. The most expensive hotel in the entire lottery is $420 per night.

“If attendees opt not to come because they can’t afford to stay at a hotel here, they’ll go to another convention,” Glanzer continues. “And if that starts to happen, the studios won’t be able to make as big an impact, and it becomes a downward spiral that no one wants to go down. If we can’t accommodate the people who want to attend the show then we’re in a pretty bad situation.”

Comic-Con’s lease with the San Diego Convention Center ends in 2025 and Glanzer thinks, if this practice continues, the convention may have to seriously look into relocating. “We would never want to leave, but if push came to shove and it became untenable for us, it’s something that we would certainly have to look into,” he said. “As event planners, we’re always contacted by different cities and it would be reckless for us to not at least acknowledge that.”

Read more about the situation over at and, if there are any major updates, we’ll let you know here. For now though, San Diego Comic-Con is full steam ahead for 2024 and io9 will be on the ground. Check back for coverage starting next week.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest MarvelStar Warsand Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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