Another year of pain and suffering for me at least. I had the first slot at 7am so I was up and ready way before. Out of curiosity, I began checking the site only a minute before 7 and already the entire hilton was booked out and some of the Marriott as well. I find this extremely irritating that even before the supposedly first choice people are allowed to make their bookings that the website allowed people to make reservations ahead of everyone else. If this is what they let happen, then honestly what is the point of even having booking windows? Despite always having a great time /during/ the convention, the entire process leading up to day 0 has my frustration levels at maximum.
Not only was this allowed, but of course the website couldn't handle nearly all the people trying to book rooms during their GIVEN time and constantly crashed for about 45 minutes for me. During this time, I was making reservations for a room at the marriott without hassle actually until after I had already put in my credit card information. That's when it crashed the first time for me. In my frustration and impatience, I closed the tab and opened a new one. How I wish i hadn't done that. I realized in time that had I just kept refreshing it, I would have gotten back to where I left off and gotten my two double bed room at the marriott. But alas, I lost that the moment I closed the tab. By the next time the page loaded for me, Marriott and several other hotels wouldn't even show up (instead of just saying unavailable) to which I attribute people like me closing the page before finishing a reservation. Thus I made the rest of my efforts toward a room at the Hyatt, which in the end was successful but only after 45 minutes of the site crashing and much frustration on my part. I shouldn't really expect anything different even after 7 years of attending Fanime at least until there is some actual organization at the core level (ie an actual company keeping some consistency for more than one year in more than one or two areas of the planning), but whatever part of me hoped this year might be different and hotel booking might not make me want to pull my own hair out was completely shriveled up. I'm pleased to have gotten my slot from when I registered and having the opportunity to get a hotel so close compared to many others, don't get me wrong. But if even I didn't have a chance to get the Hilton when I was supposed to be in the first slot, then I can only imagine the frustration of anyone in a later booking window.
Overall, I don't think Fanime housing is working on what needs to be changed. Yes, this is a new and different system with pros and cons of course, and I'm happy to see the effort being put in to improve it. But if the website can't even handle these new changes, then what has really improved? Fanime attendance is only growing. Thus the number of people trying to book a hotel at the same time is growing, and the website should be able to handle that many people without crashing AS MUCH (I know I can only ask so much). I'm waiting for the day getting a hotel actually seems as fair as it is advertised to be, and some part of me is still hopeful for that day.
In the end, I booked a room with two double beds at the Hyatt from Thursday to Tuesday (I cosplay and have a friend who does artist alley, so we always have so much stuff. Checking in a day early and out a day late honestly saves so much hair pulling and strokes) with my window at 7am.