Tomorrow morning at 9:00 PST, rooms in the convention block go on sale for this year’s Comic-Con International. I was going to write up a bunch of tips last week, but CCI beat me to it by launching their own blog, Staying In San Diego. Visit it today, because it’ll probably be swamped tomorrow. (Though if it’s actually hosted by TypePad, direct visits may not take it down.)
Update Wednesday Morning: Well, I made it through. Oddly enough, in exactly the same amount of time as last year. I had the confirmation number at 10:04. Weird.
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. (end of update 2)
I’m going to repeat some of my criticisms about the actual website, which seems designed expressly to make it bog down under this load:
First, it’s got way too many images. Every image takes extra bandwidth that they don’t have, and it requires another round-trip for the browser to request it. And that really slows things down. People trying to get a room for Comic-Con don’t care whether a header is in a nifty font, or the borders are rounded, or the button looks nifty. They want it to work. Replace all those text images with actual text, and do any borders or backgrounds or colors using CSS. If it only takes 3 hits to load the page instead of 20, that means they can serve 6 times as many pages with the same number of connections.
Anyway, enough ranting for now. I got the reservation, and that’s the important part. Time to get some rest and see if I’m feeling well enough to go into work later (I’ve been fighting a cold the last few days).
See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups