In This Issue

A Note From David Whitaker, President & CEO

As always, I want to begin by thanking each of you for your continued support and collaboration as we continue to work together to proudly promote something we have always known – but that was recently celebrated by Conde’ Nast Traveler and the votes of their readers – that Chicago is the “Best Large City to Visit.” This was a great accolade for our visitor and meetings industry and all of our partners who host and serve our guests. Each of you are a part of this success.

Speaking of collaboration, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome and introduce you to the newest members of Choose Chicago’s Board of Directors. Joining our new Chair, Glenn Eden, are a collection of outstanding colleagues who many of you may already know. We look forward to their participation and leadership.

They join an equally outstanding group of returning board members who continue to contribute their time, expertise and passion for our community.

The preliminary hotel performance indicators for the month of September have been published by STR. September was one of the stronger months of the year with room demand (rooms consumed) up 4.5%. It was also one of the few months this year that demand outpaced the increase in rooms supply (supply was up another 3.3%).

Now through nine months, year-to-date hotel room demand is pacing up 1.7%. This represents a 4.3% increase in Leisure room demand (an increase of 250,572 rooms consumed) offset by a decline of 3.6% in Group room demand (a decrease of 106,158 rooms consumed).

We will continue to monitor the upcoming key fall months as we conclude toward dare I say it too soon – the upcoming end of the year.

Welcome our new Board of Directors:

New Board Members

Glenn Eden

Glenn Eden
Board Chair

Strategic Communications Advisor

Robert Reiter

Robert G. Reiter, Jr.

Chicago Federation of Labor

James Rondeau

James Rondeau
President & Eloise W. Martin Director

The Art Institute of Chicago

Juan Salgado

Juan Salgado

City Colleges of Chicago

John Wells

John Wells
Area Vice President, Northern Midwest Region

Hilton Chicago

Elizabeth “Betsy” Ziegler

Elizabeth "Betsy" Ziegler

1871/CEC - Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

This group joins our outstanding list of returning members for the upcoming year:

Returning Board Members

Jamie Rhee

Jamie L. Rhee

Chicago Department of Aviation

Christie Tarantino-Dean

Christie Tarantino-Dean

Institute of Food Technologists

As well as Ex – Officio Board of Directors:


Doreen Burse

Doreen Burse
SVP Worldwide Sales

United Airlines

Larita D. Clark

Larita D. Clark
Chief Executive Officer

Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA)

Jason Ervin

Jason Ervin
Alderman, 28th Ward

Chicago City Council

Benjamin Humphrey

Benjamin Humphrey
Vice President of ORD Operations

Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly
President & Business Manager

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399

Rich Levin

Rich Levin
Managing Director, Consumer and Retail Corporate & Investment Banking

Bank of America

Kristin Richards

Kristin Richards
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

In Memoriam

David Jacobs

David Jacobs

General Manager, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

Myrna Salazar

Myrna Salazar

Co-Founder & Executive Director, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance



2018% Change2019% Change
Room Supply1,305,0001.6%1,347,9903.3%
Room Demand1,084,9231.9%1,126,0343.8%


KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS | January – September 2019

2018% Change2019% Change
Room Supply11,662,7643.6%12,148,4844.2%
Room Demand8,917,7705.2%9,058,9561.6%


Choose Chicago Welcomes 18 New Partners

Chicago Children’s Choir

Catering Services
Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Dining: American
Chick Fil A

Dining: American Contemporary
90th Meridian

Dining: French

Dining: Italian
Il Culaccino

Dining: Korean Fare
PERILLA korean american fare

Dining: Mexican
Old Pueblo Cantina

Dining: Pan Asian
Indie Café

Dining: Seafood

American Bocce Company, LLC

Event Management/Production
Give to Get

Restaurant Venue
Joy District

Special Event Venue
Bridge 410

Specialty Store
Transit Tees, Inc.

Staffing Services
Productions Plus

Partner Profile: A Taste of Taste 222

Chicago is a city that feels like home. ‘Home’ is another word for the dining experience at Taste 222, a full service restaurant and event space on North Canal.

Global Development

September Familiarization Trips

United Airlines & Barrhead Travel UK FAM, August 31-September 4

Familiarization (FAM) trips are a key component in our efforts to market Chicago as a global destination. Through September, Choose Chicago’s Global Development department has hosted 20 familiarization trips from around the world in Chicago. The goal of these trips is to better educate travel trade professionals on Chicago as a leisure destination and showcase its available tourism products. The attendees are key decision makers often sourced through airlines, Brand USA, or major tour operators. The Global Development team customizes itineraries, taking the client’s needs and market into consideration.

FAM trips offer a first-hand experience to encourage the participating travel trade professionals to recommend Chicago to their clients. They are better equipped to sell our destination and offer suggestions having experienced some of the city’s offerings. These relationships are important in keeping Chicago top-of-mind. It is often their first time visiting Chicago and they leave in awe by how much Chicago has to offer for the leisure traveler & eager to share the destination with their clients.

The Global Development team maintains relationships with FAM attendees by assisting these travel trade professionals with all the necessary steps in developing Chicago programs & generating leisure sales to the City of Chicago. The department acts as a resource in providing training programs and tools to assist in promoting Chicago.

The Global Development team would like to thank our partners for their ongoing support in hosting FAM trips and offering an exceptional Chicago experience. If you are interested in working with our team for an upcoming FAM, please email Jodie Bodeker, Coordinator Global Development, at

September FAM highlights:

United Airlines & Barrhead Travel UK FAM
August 31-September 4
8 agents
Participating partners: Cambria Magnificent Mile, M&M Rental Services, Navy Pier, Riva, Chicago Greeter Program, Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago, Uno Pizzeria, Blue Man Group, Barcocina, 360 CHICAGO, Bobby’s Bike Hike, Portillo’s, Shoreline Sightseeing, Old Town Pour House, The Second City, Big Bus, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago Food Planet, Macy’s, Shore Club, Kingston Mines, Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, & Sophy Hyde Park.

United Airlines Japan FAM
September 1-4
5 agents (H. I. S. Co., Ltd., IACE Travel Corporation, KNT-CT Web Travel Co., Ltd., Tabikobo Co., Ltd.)
Participating partners: The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago, Millennium Park, Beatrix (River North), Wendella Boats, Chicago Architecture Center, Politan Row, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Greeter Program, The Magnificent Mile Association, Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, Art on theMART, Field Museum, Bobby’s Bike Hike, Chicago Cubs, & Kingston Mines

United Airlines Monterrey Mexico FAM
September 4-6
10 agents (Viajes Intermex, FEL Travel,, Lozano Viajes, Viajes Excelsior, Vesta Continental, Viajes Trayecto, Ferrara Viajes)

Participating partners: Andy’s Jazz Club, Giordano’s, Skydeck, CityPASS

Meetings & Conventions

McCormick Place and In House Meeting Updates

Major September Bookings – McCormick Place (2020 – 2024):

Event MonthEvent YearMeeting NameAttendanceRoom Nights
June2020Diversified Communications 2020 ABC Next and SPAR3D5,0001,630
June2020Nutanix 2020 NEXT Conference7,50012,100
Dec2020ZJ Events 2020 USA CBD Expo15,000915
Mar2021International Antiviral Society – USA 2021 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)4,00016,200
Oct2022Kao Germany GmbH/Goldwell Global Zoom 20213,0004,500
Oct2023American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Conference Nursing Excellence 202310,00021,800
Oct2023LinkedIn 2023 Talent Connect6,00012,440
Aug2024American Public Works Association Public Works Exposition 2024 (PWX)7,0009,780

Upcoming McCormick Place Programs (October 2019):

Event DateMeeting NameAttendanceRoom Nights
Oct 12 – 21American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 2019 Annual Meeting5,0006,479
Oct 14 – 17EDUCAUSE Annual Conference8,00014,956
Oct 19 – 23Society for Neuroscience 201930,00045,318
Oct 26 – 29International Association of Chiefs of Police – 126th Annual Conference14,00043,715
Oct 28 – 30National Funeral Directors Association 2019 Annual Conference6,5008,034

Upcoming Major InHouse Programs (October 2019):

Event DateMeeting NameAttendanceRoom Nights
Oct 14 – 18Deep Foundations Institute 44th Annual Conference on Deep Foundation 20196001940
Oct 14 – 21The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) 2019 Annual Meeting and Post Graduate Course12002837
Oct 17 – 19NeighborWorks Community Leadership Institute 20199202480


Client Services Update

Starbucks Coffee Company recently hosted their Starbucks 2019 Leadership Experience in Chicago. Over 12,000 Starbucks store leaders attended educational sessions at McCormick Place and the United Center. The Starbucks planning team members and executive staff were elated with the results!
While in Chicago, Starbucks partnered with Chicago Cares to facilitate a community open house for their store leaders, featuring several organizations and recipients of give-back opportunities locally and globally, including women’s empowerment, youth, military and veterans organizations.

“The service and attention from Choose Chicago was outstanding. We encountered a couple of bumps in the road (of our own doing) and they were right there with us helping us solve them. Our event was incredible and feedback from attendees and company executives is that it was “flawless.”

Francesca Peri, Vice President, Operations Services
Starbucks Leadership Experience 2019

The American Society for Industrial Security recently held their ASIS Global Security Exchange (GSX) in Chicago, with an estimated 20,000 attendees. During GSX, ASIS hosted Security Cares, connecting leaders of Chicago area community organizations and small to medium sized businesses with complimentary access to valuable security education, networking, funding opportunities and resources. GSX also partnered with the American Red Cross to hold a blood drive during their convention.

The American Society for Radiation Oncology recently held their 2019 ASTRO Annual Meeting at McCormick Place with an estimated 11,000 attendees.

The Water Environment Federation recently held their Water Environment Federation – 92nd Annual Technical Exhibition & Conference – WEFTEC 2019 at McCormick Place with an estimated 22,000 attendees. WEFTEC is held in Chicago every other year, and shows continual growth in both their technical program and exhibition.

True Value Company recently completed the True Value 2019 Fall Reunion at McCormick Place. At the conclusion of their conference, True Value partnered with Habitat for Humanity, providing exhibitors the chance to donate their exhibited wares to the charity. Historically, over a dozen semi-loads of product have been donated to the local Habitat for Humanity!

Chicago will soon welcome The Society for Neuroscience’s Neuroscience 2019 convention at McCormick Place October 19 – 23, with an estimated 30,000 attendees, and the National Funeral Directors Association’s NFDA Annual Convention, with an estimated 6,500 attendees.


October Site Visits

Client Services team members will be conducting nearly two dozen client site visits in October, as well as promoting Chicago at these upcoming Promo Trips (promoting Chicago one year prior to the convention coming to Chicago)

October 15 – 18
IFMA’s World Workplace Phoenix, AZ

October 19 – 23
AACP CHEST Annual Meeting New Orleans, LA

October 27 – 31
American College of Surgeons
Annual Clinical Congress San Francisco, CA

November 18 – 21
ISSA Show North America Las Vegas, NV

HPN Global’s CVB Supplier of the Year


Please join us in CONGRATULATING Frank Alba on receiving HPN Global ’s CVB Supplier of the Year Award at the HPN Global Annual Meeting last week! This is an incredible achievement … thank you, Frank, for representing our community and city.

A little about HPN Global … HPN Global developed its own sourcing platform based upon efficiency and, just as importantly, to foster relationships between hotels and clients. The company’s philosophy is to have a single point of contact at each hotel so a long-term relationship can be formed, resulting in priority handling of our inquiries. Every group hotel in North America and most globally are preloaded into our system so hoteliers can respond to the RFP in literally less than 10 minutes. Typically, in North America the company’s RFPs have a response rate of 85% within 24 hours and virtually 100% within 48 hours.

Last year, Frank and the team confirmed 42,400 room nights for our hotels with HPN associates!

Again, congratulations Frank!

London Roadshow

Sales Mission to Capita Travel & Events, Swindon ENGLAND Oct 2, 2019
Thank you to our hotel partners who participated: Gene Hare, Palmer House Hilton; Marina Braica, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel; Tricia Shangle, Hampton Inn by Hilton Chicago Downtown West Loop

Choose Chicago held our first ever United Kingdom MICE Sales Mission the week of September 30th. This included travel throughout the U.K. from Swindon to Leeds to London with our hotel partners.

Additionally, Blues musician, Wayne Baker Brooks performed during an event for 170 meeting professionals, media, travel agents and tour operators. Chicago chef and restaurant owners, Thai and Danielle Dang of HaiSous partnered with L’Oscar, a historic local venue, in curating special tasting items and cocktails bringing a taste of Chicago’s culture to the U.K.

Danielle Dang, Wayne Baker Brooks, Thai Dang

Hotel partners on the Road Show included:
Dean Lane and Gene Hare from the Hiltons of Chicago
Patrick Donelly and Nick Jokovich from the Hyatt Regency Chicago
Tricia Shangle from the Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton® Chicago Downtown/West Loop
Marina Braica from the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

UK Roadshow participants enjoying the Choose Chicago event at L’Oscar

UNITED Airlines

The Choose Chicago sales team hosted lunch for UNITED Airlines Backstage Meetings Team July 29. Backstage 2019 is United’s initiative to provide customer service training for their 25,000+ flight attendants which brought in around 60,000 room nights for downtown Chicago hotels throughout 2019

AMEX/Accenture Team Fam Trip

Participants of the AMEX/Accenture Team Fam Trip which took place in August 13-15. Guest rooms generously hosted by Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, Renaissance Chicago Downtown and Sheraton Grand


Global Influencer Tour

Our influencers at the Choose Chicago Media Tent at Chicago Gourmet with other journalists

Choose Chicago’s Media Relations and Marketing teams hosted a group of micro influencers from September 26 – October 1, 2019, to celebrate the art, culture and culinary scenes in Chicago. The six Influencers from five of our key markets – Brazil, Canada, China, France and Japan – explored multiple neighborhoods as part of a curated itinerary with unique experiences that would make locals jealous.

The influencers attended Chicago Gourmet, one of the city’s premiere culinary events, helping to show off Chicago chef’s creations in addition to getting their cultural groove on at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago Architecture Center, Art Institute and more.

Collectively, the Influencers reach 348,075 followers (Instagram), and the Chinese Influencer has 1.03 million followers on Weibo and 140,000 on WeChat.

Media Relations

Choose Chicago’s Media Relations team hosted over 90 members of the media on individual media visits and group press tours to Chicago in July and August 2019. The media coverage generated these two months resulted in approximately more than $8 million in media value. A sampling of stories published in July and August 2019 included:

Women’s Health, #Escapes: Uma Aventura em Chicago, Nos Estados Unidos

Casa Vogue, 3 Bienal de Arquitetura de Chicago questiona a ocupação do espaço público ·

The Planet D, 10 of the best things to do in Chicago

Today’s Parent, 12 fun things to do with kids in Chicago

Milenio, Chicago: La ciudad de los vientos,

Arch Daily, Conoce todos los detalles sobre la exhibición “Unraveling Modern Living” de Tatiana Bilbao para la Bienal de Chicago 2019 | ArchDaily México

Architectural Digest, Architecture Marvels to See During the Chicago Biennale This Fall

Wall Street Journal, Why This Fall Is the Ideal Time to Visit Chicago

Glamour, 5 Summer Days in Chicago

Madame Figaro, Chicago, the conscience of art

Evaneos, 48 hours in Chicago