For four days in July, 2015, the San Diego Comic Con International will be a mecca for every aspect of the comic book industry. And leave it to that particular facet of popular culture to bring about a new, over-the-top term to describe the lay of the land in SoCal as the big event grows near. Call it “hotelpocalypse,” a clever portmanteau that juxtaposes the San Diego area’s growing dearth of comic con-related accommodations with the end of all life as we know it. The term even has its own hash tag (#hotelpocalypse), and its presence is growing in prominence throughout the Twitterverse as those who plan on making the trek to the big event start feeling the pinch.
Michael Cavna of the Washington Post recently chronicled his own “hotelpocalypse” travel woes in a humorous online article. In the piece, he contemplates taking a trip out West for the comic con and asks his aunt and uncle if he can crash at their place, only to learn that they’re now dabbling in the livery business themselves. In fact, he eventually learns they want $601 per night to rent out an air mattress in their garage. Sure, it’s funny. But if you’ve ever taken a close look at the driveways and front yards on a parade route, you know how many homeowners turn into shrewd entrepreneurs every Fourth of July.
Bleeding Cool suggests that attendees visit the Travel Planners Housing landing page or contact the organization to look at booking options. The stakes are high, as San Diego hotels are requiring a non-refundable deposit that covers two nights plus tax in order to book a reservation. Nevertheless, Bleeding Cool notes that this year, there are more hotel options available in the area than ever before.
Comics are a huge business, to be sure. Major motion pictures, like the forthcoming Deadpool movie, are financial powerhouses. The comic con scene is a huge source of buzz and commerce for the industry, as well. A report by the San Diego Workforce Partnership states that the city’s comic con will bring between $160 and $180 million into the local economy, with a respectable portion of that revenue going to the hotel industry. The report describes the comic con’s impact as “far-reaching—beyond the outlandish costumes and celebrity sightings.”
It’s a safe bet that necessity could well bring about some interesting solutions to the imminent “hotelocalypse.” If comic con faithful decide to shun brick-and-mortar accommodations en masse and decide to rough it in the great outdoors, there would be an interesting dynamic in downtown San Diego. Imagine happening upon a park at dusk in which you’d spy a legion of camping cosplayers sprawled out in full, four-color regalia. Avid comic fans would think they had been plucked from earth, landing on the Marvel Universe’s “Battleworld,” circa 1984. Not entirely a bad thing, but not really a good thing either.
Where strong attendance indicates high levels of demand and interest from consumers, San Diego Comic Con organizers may have to contend with a major hole in this year’s lineup as Marvel Studios may sit out this year’s event. U-T San Diego reports that there’s been unofficial word that Marvel won’t send anyone to the convention, adding that the company will not confirm this. David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations, told U-T San Diego that he didn’t have any information about the matter.
Nevertheless, once the dust settles, San Diego’s annual comic con will likely deliver lots of the kind of excitement that denizens of the comic book universe crave. And hey, whether it’s a “hotelpocalypse” or the real Armageddon, there’s probably no better way to kiss the universe goodbye than standing in the middle of a comic con wearing a brightly colored leotard and cape with a satchel full of back issues, RPG dice, and a fully-articulated action figure or two.
[Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images]