Today is the last day for people to cancel their hotel reservations at Comic-Con International for a full refund. Starting Saturday, they’ll keep a $75 cancellation fee.
So what’s the good news?
Even if there were fewer “just in case” reservations this year, there are always at least some people whose plans just fall through. Someone gets sick, their financial status changes, they were counting on a raise that didn’t happen, a cousin schedules a wedding for that weekend, etc. Rooms should be opening up over the next few days as people take their last chance to cancel without penalty.
The question is: what happens to them?
The old reservation process worked like a crowded store, where everyone kept trying to pick a room until they ran out. So when rooms freed up, they were made available to whoever happened to be checking up on the system.
This year, though, was like a massive take-a-number system, with Travel Planners assigning rooms to people in order (even though it’s not clear exactly what order it was). They did cap the line, but there were an awful lot of people who got requests in but no rooms, and ended up on a waiting list. A representative confirmed by email that they will contact people as rooms free up.*
So, what we should see in the next few days is Travel Planners offering rooms to the early part of the waiting list. Edit: Maybe not – see the comments.
It’s a safe bet that some people on the list have already secured a room through other channels, and no doubt some of them will want to stick with their alternate lodging (especially if their alternate hotel is across the street, and Travel Planners hands them something ten miles away). That will probably trigger a second round of free rooms next week.
No doubt the process will repeat itself on June 18, when the rest of the deposit becomes non-refundable.
Of course, it all depends on just how many people cancel their reservations to start with. I doubt anyone outside of the travel agency (and maybe CCI) has solid numbers of just how many con-goers are stuck in limbo.
*The way they put it was that they were trying “to identify any rooms already committed that might not be ultimately utilized.” Gotta love corporate-speak.