It turns out getting Comic-Con to stay in town for 2017 and 2018 is more about discounted hotel rooms than the size of San Diego’s Convention Center.
Comic-Con and the Convention Center Corp. both told Voice of San Diego that some hoteliers’ unwillingness to sign off on agreements to discount blocks of hotel rooms for attendees is what’s keeping the massive comic and entertainment convention from committing to San Diego.
Comic-Con’s learned to live without the promised Convention Center expansion for now, instead relying on event spaces at downtown hotels to address its needs outside the facility.
But it needs rooms at a reduced price for the tens of thousands of visitors the event brings to the region — even though San Diego’s already flush with tourists in the summer months.
“There are not enough rooms discounted and attendees are not able to get into the room block,” said Steven Johnson, spokesman for the Convention Center. “That’s why Comic-Con isn’t booked right now.”
Getting into a room block can be the difference between paying $299 per night and $499 per night for the same room, Johnson said, though specific discounts vary among hotels.
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It's too bad that the pitiful civic leaders of this city can't see past tourism as a viable economic direction for this city. So right now big tourism is basically black mailing the city into getting what it is they want and it is the same thing that the owner of the Chargers wants. That is they want the city to spend billions of dollars on a tourism infrastructure to promote their own selfish needs while taking the tax payers dollars which are needed for public infrastructure and improvements. Now they are fighting among themselves for this control. All they seem to want is to thrive off of low paid tourist jobs that can't produce enough income for a huge portion of the population who must now depend on public services for their basic needs. Creating even a bigger burden for the taxpayers of this city and state. Look at Greece ... it can't pay it's bills and is on the verge of a major default which will affect the entire European continent all because their only industry is tourism. The honest people of this city must realize this mess and try to elect responsible people who can understand the needs of the people. Instead we elect the typical idiot ass-kissers who only want to take whatever is not nailed down and then some.
The Convention Center is a subsidized entity that takes up a portion of the city budget. Discounting rates to Comic-con and others increases the likelihood of increased subsidies. Discounting hotel rates eats into the Tourist Occupancy Tax that supplements the city budget, so the city's general fund takes a hit on what it would normally get, especially during the busy summer season. I don't think the restaurants and bars in town discount anything, so the sales tax is collected, but a lot of that ends up in Sacramento to be disbursed in various ways. Seems to me we are trading what we would normally get in TOT for a portion of sales tax.
And isn't it odd that the city (big government) is telling private industry what to do? And isn't government "interference" with the private sector a major rallying cry of the Republican party, both local and national? And what party is the mayor in again?
@Robert Cohen It's nothing but greed and corruption for the bottom feeders who continue to offer nothing new but the same old crap and slogans. Tourism here is the low lying fruit that embraces low wages and no real economic growth, But the locals here are on it like flies on sh*t. What else is new? It's not big government telling private business what to do. It is both local government and the big takers coming together over things like campaign contributions and the old boy network of crooks and thieves. An it has been going on forever in San Diego because the average voters appear to be idiots or just to apathetic to care.
@Robert Cohen Isn't it all quite simple to understand? The Convention Center people think the only thing that's important is to fill the building and, to that end, they will give away whatever it takes because they can always go to the municipalities and beg for money. The hotels, on the other hand, know what their costs are and how much revenue they must generate to keep the doors open. If large conventions aren't here during high season, perhaps visitors who can afford non-discounted rooms will fill the gap..
I think you have it exactly backwards. Why do you believe the Convention Center wants to fill the building for free, instead of charging reasonable, competitive rates which would allow adequate maintenance of our public assets? It is the hoteliers who profit from Convention Center giveaways, because
that allows them to have a constant stream of hotel guests with more
money available to pay higher room rates. This is why hotels want to control the Tourism Authority and disempower taxpayers' interests. There is no reason to believe that the Convention center wants to lose money, or would do so if they had more power relative to downtown hotels.
Convention budgets take into account the total cost of hotel rooms and convention center facility costs. The convention center gains nothing by giving away space space that taxpayers have invested in. On the other hand, this provides hotels with a captive customer base and permits them to charge higher prices, as more money is available for rooms.
Also, the transient occupancy tax is abysmally low here, which also benefits hotels at the expense of taxpayers, not just by allowing hotels to charge higher rates, but also by reducing funds available for San Diego infrastructure and maintenance costs. Essentially, the city subsidizes downtown hotels at every turn.
@profundis @Myron Shelley The CC does not want to give anything away for free; I never made such an allegation. What the CC does is discount their rates because of competition, as they see it, from other facilities who are going after the same customers. In the real world, businesses do not give away their products and/or services at prices that do not allow them to prosper. The Convention Center was never presented to the public as being formed as a non-profit organization for the common good. It is a business and should be run like one.
The context for my quote "Realizing talks led by the San Diego Tourism Authority were taking longer than desired, Johnson said, “We explained the situation we were having and sought help from the mayor.” gives an inaccurate characterization of what I said. The request was to then Mayor Sanders to assist in leveraging his position to get the hotels to cooperate with our 2010 bid to renew Comic Con for 2013-2015. At that time, SDCCC handled all marketing and was lead in negotiating. Mayor Faulconer campaigned on keeping Comic Con in SD and has taken a leadership position to do so on his own initiative, not because we asked or expressed concerns with the SDTA's effort in this latest round of negotiations. Thanks.
Someone came up with the great idea to bypass the greedy San Diego Hoteliers by docking Luxury Cruise Ships in the North Embarcadero to create temporary Cabin Hotel State Rooms for Comic Con. Just like what happened in San Francisco for the 4 night Salesforce convention last April 2015, using the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship to add Hotel rooms.
Comic Con has been saying for years that excessive Hotel Room costs, not necessarily a Convention Center Expansion, was their main concern with keeping Comic Con in San Diego.
@La Playa Heritage Perhaps they should try Anaheim or LA. Do you think that they are less greedy there? Good luck with that. Is it actually greedy to ask for market value for a hotel room during a peak tourist season? In general, I think that hotel costs everywhere are totally outrageous which is why I don't travel often. That doesn't necessarily mean that the hotel owners are greedy. If others are willing to pay high prices; oh well.
@La Playa Heritage What's stopping Comic-Con from arranging a "Cruise Ship" hotel? I'm sure the hotels will do their worst to kill that from happening here, but are there any specifics?
If I am reading this correctly, one of the primary justifications of the Convention Center expansion (that it was needed to accommodate and retain Comic-Con) was completely bogus.
@Chris Brewster --Which would also mean that a stadium/convention center combo is not necessary.
@David Crossley @Chris Brewster Comic-Con is the one convention that doesn't need a contiguous center because the attendees like to show off their costumes. Just don't mess with any deaf drivers, another San Diego police blunder and cover up.
I can't believe anyone is still mentioning the ridiculous "Convadium" idea.