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Comic-Con May Leave San Diego Due To Price Gouging

Published by Slashdot on Thu, 11 Jul 2024

"For 55 years, San Diego Comic-Con has been offering fans and aficionados of all things comic and movie related a place to meet, gawk, show off, and in general bask in their geekery," writes longtime Slashdot reader smooth wombat. "That may be coming to an end. Due to hotels' price gouging the cost of rooms, Comic-Con may be moving." Forbes reports: "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," said David Glanzer, Chief Communication and Strategy Officer for Comic-Con International, the nonprofit group that puts on SDCC and WonderCon, in a phone interview Monday. "As event planners, we're always contacted by different cities and it would be reckless for us to not at least acknowledge that." Asked if the show was locked in to San Diego for 2025, Glanzer responded, "2025 is when our contract expires, unless something happens before the convention this year. And if so, I imagine we would make an announcement during the show." The sticking point for the Convention is the behavior of some of the hotels in the area. For decades, SDCC has negotiated block rates for rooms that they offer to out-of-town attendees, exhibitors, professionals and guests at a discount. Typically, the more deluxe hotels within walking distance of the convention center run $275-335/night, and ones further out can be had for as low as $215 through the Con's hotel site for registered attendees. Competition for rooms in the desirable hotels has become so intense that the day the reservations open has become known as "Hotelocapylse." Recently, Glanzer said some hotels have been making fewer and fewer rooms available in the blocks, knowing they can charge top dollar on the open market. Rates for non-block rooms during Comic-Con weekend at some of the bigger hotels can go for two or three times the ordinary high season rate, and even smaller hotels and Airbnbs in the area charge significantly more to take advantage of the peak demand. Now that opportunistic behavior is threatening to kill the golden goose that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors and hundreds of millions of dollars into the city in a single week. "If attendees opt not to come because they can't afford to stay at a hotel here, they'll go to another convention," said Glanzer. "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." "I think there is a belief that because we opened the Comic-Con Museum here [in San Diego] and we have always had the show here, that we are anchored to San Diego and could never leave. Well, we don't want to leave, but we've run conventions in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, and they were very successful. I think there are a lot of cities that would want to accommodate us. In my experience with other science fiction cons I have attended, cities would bid for the convention."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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