Convention hotels! Oh they can be stressful.
Not too long ago, my friend and I were trying to book a hotel for a relatively popular Anime convention. I found it interesting because my friend was not used to the stressful experience of trying to book a convention hotel. Meanwhile, I was a lot more laid back about it and didn’t worry too much. Call it experience or apathy, but I was pretty confident in our ability to snag a hotel. And I was right; we got our hotels for the convention!
In this post, I’ll go over the crazy experience of booking convention hotels and what you can do to make sure you have a smooth experience, no matter the outcome. I’ve been booking convention hotels for myself for the longest time, so I have a lot of experience with this. You’ll find this post really helpful.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
An overview of convention hotel booking
For those who don’t know, Anime and Comic conventions are very popular and mainstream these days. People book off and spend their entire weekends at a convention. Attendees need a place to stay, so the conventions will have a set of hotels reserved for congoers to book for them. This is great and all, but it also means they go really fast. Convention hotels are not only close to the con itself, but the prices are usually much cheaper than usual.
Not surprisingly, convention hotels can sell out really quickly. The moment that convention organizers release their hotel blocks, the rooms can be gone within minutes! That’s why I call it a hotel lottery; sometimes you need a little luck in order to get those valuable hotel rooms for the convention!
Now that I gave you a background of how crazy convention hotel booking can get, I will talk about my experience doing this with my friend.
Oh, the stress!
Since we knew the exact date and time of when this particular convention hotel was going to be released, we called each other and made sure we were on the website right on time. Ideally, all we would have to do is click on the hotel booking page when it opens, enter our name and credit card and we would be done with it.
Unfortunately, that did not happen at all! As soon as the hotel rooms were supposed to be released, the page was already showing “sold out.” How could hundreds (maybe thousands) of hotel rooms sell out within seconds?!
For several minutes, my friend and I were trying to click on the hotel booking page, but to no avail. A few moments after however, we FINALLY got through and the hotel room was showing availability. We quickly entered in our name, address and payment info to get the room as soon as possible. As we were about to click “confirm reservation,” the page glitches out in error. We did not get the hotel room.
Basically, we repeated this process for the next half hour or so. Hotel available, not available. Some days sold out, other days not sold out.
I vividly remember my friend freaking out the moment he saw some of the days being unavailable. He was starting to worry that his plans of going to this convention would be ruined. I could tell he was really stressed out and frustrated with this experience of trying to book a convention hotel.
Fortunately, I was there to calm him down and give him some guidance!
Not to humble brag or anything, but the way my friend was feeling was the complete opposite of how I was feeling. I was pretty calm and nonchalant the whole time. Because I’ve been through convention hotel lotteries before (such as Anime North), I already knew what to expect. Things such as:
- Website not working
- Hotel rooms apparently selling out within seconds
- Slow loading pages
- Pages crashing while trying to book
- Having to spend at least an hour with this
All these things I came to expect when it came to booking a hotel for a popular convention. Best case scenario, you get a hotel room right away when they are available. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to spend 1-2 hours trying to get this hotel room while you deal with technical errors (because everyone else is trying to do the same thing).
So I reassured my friend to relax, that we WILL eventually get a hotel room. It would just take some time to do so. And I was right!
It took us almost 1 hour to finally book a hotel room for this convention. For my friend, it was definitely hectic and stressful for his first time. But because I’ve done this so many times, I didn’t sweat it at all. I knew that we would eventually get a room (a good chance for sure). And if we didn’t, we had other hotel options as well.
While it was pretty annoying to have spent that much time trying to get a hotel room for the convention, for me it wasn’t too bad. My friend didn’t really enjoy the experience, but for me it was pretty normal and expected.
If you plan on going to a popular Anime convention and want to stay at a hotel, be prepared to go through this experience! It’s not pleasant especially if it’s your first time. But I assure you that if you show up on time, stay persistent and keep on trying, you probably will get your hotel room for that weekend. 🙂
If you end up not snagging that hotel room, don’t forget that you usually have plenty of other options in the area where you can stay. In fact, the hotel rooms for conventions aren’t always the best options. Sometimes I’ve stayed offsite and got better deals. All you have to do is simply find a way there and back if you do.
And don’t forget that you have plenty of time to get a room after the hotel is “sold out.” If you check the hotel page every now and then, you may find that rooms will be available again! This is especially true when the convention is coming up; lots of people end up cancelling last-minute because plans change or they’re unavailable to attend. When this happens, you may find a 2nd opportunity to get a hotel room!
Have you ever tried booking a convention hotel and found it difficult? Please let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!