If you’re planning to go to Comicon International: San Diego this July (known as the San Diego Comicon to us relics who’ve been going there over a decade), I hope you logged on to the Comicon Housing site today at Noon EST (9am San Diego time) to reserve a hotel room. Well, actually, I sorta hope you didn’t, cause if you did, you were one of the untold thousands (millions? billions?) who were keeping me from getting one of the relatively few hotel room reservations available that week. I know I logged in right on time, and when the overloaded website finally took me to the page that actually listed the hotels, it was 12 minutes later, and there were only three hotels with rooms left (all far from the convention center).
I think Comicon does an absolutely fantastic job putting on that enormous convention; the con itself runs remarkable smoothly, especially since they’ll probably have upwards of 125,000 there this year. But they’re a victim of their own success, and they have got to come up with a better hotel and commuting solution. There’s been all kinds of talk about moving it to Anaheim (which would be great for me, cause I take our kids to Disneyland every trip out to California anyway), but I’d really miss San Diego, which is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful cities I’ve ever been to.
The other problem is getting around and eating. With that many people there for the con, the waits for food are ridiculous. And exhibitors like us pretty much have to stay at one of the (very expensive) hotels really close to the convention, or we can’t get to our booths in time to open up, due to traffic. The con runs a great shuttle bus system that stops at all the major hotels, but the last couple of years, the buses get full at their first or second stop, and even if you get a seat on the bus, the traffic makes a 20-block ride last over an hour during peak times.
I don’t mean to be spouting sour grapes here; the huge attendence makes it feasible for us to spend the big bucks it costs for booth space, airfare, and hotels, cause we know we’ll sell enough stuff to cover our expenses if we plan carefully. It’s a boon for the industry as a whole, and I hope it gets even bigger, and lasts a whole week! But if it grows much more, where o’ where are they gonna put everybody?
I’ve even considered trying to buy a downtown San Diego condo, and rent it out 51 weeks of the year, so we’ll have a place to stay. But with those puppies going upwards of $1.5 million these days, I think we better sell a whole lot more magazines before we go that route.