In May 2014, Choose Chicago launched Beyond the Loop – a new web series that ventures outside of Chicago’s striking downtown loop to explore the city’s many diverse neighborhoods. The show’s hosts, Holly Laurent and Edgar Blackmon of The Second City Mainstage, set out on a quest to delve into the culture, history, art, and cuisine of some of Chicago’s most vibrant communities. Join them as they go beyond the loop! Featured neighborhoods include Old Town, Hyde Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Uptown, Bronzeville, Chinatown, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood, Lincoln Park, Little Village, Bridgeport, Logan Square, and Pilsen. Visit our website to discover these great neighborhoods. Special thanks to Goose Island Beer Company and The Second City for their support of this project.
Neighborhood Tourism Grant
Choose Chicago has partnered with the City of Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) department for the Neighborhood Small Business Challenge. Choose Chicago’s main role is to partner with the four neighborhood agencies that were rewarded a grant to develop a neighborhood tourism development plan for each corresponding area. The neighborhood tourism plan’s goals are to market and attract visitors to Chicago’s neighborhoods; develop tourist-ready neighborhoods, promote economic vitality for businesses, and engage leaders and stakeholders with a shared vision for tourism.
Working with BACP on this initiative is aligned with the cultural tourism strategy for Chicago released in January 2014. One of the strategic objectives of the cultural tourism strategy is to develop and implement a multi-year neighborhood tourism development plan to drive repeat visitation to Chicago and extend the length of stay.The four agencies that were awarded the grant and will work closely with Choose Chicago to develop a proposed plan. Organizations include the 51st Street Business Association focusing on the greater Bronzeville neighborhood, Rogers Park Business Alliance, Uptown United, and West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce.
PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIESFall Cultural Preview
Join Choose Chicago on Thursday, July 10, at the Spertus Jewish Institute for Learning and Leadership for a fall cultural preview. We are partnering with Chicago Shakespeare Theater to provide an entertainingly unique Shakespearean preview of the city's major arts and cultural events this fall. At this event, Choose Chicago will also share a high level summary of how it is developing a brand for Chicago.
Access to these events are just a few of the benefits of a Choose Chicago partnership. If you’re not already a partner, consider joining. Choose Chicago’s partner organizations are the backbone of our visitor industry, which generates $12 billion in direct spending annually. Dues start at $99 annually from the date you join, and include a customizable listing on ChooseChicago.com, listing on visitor mobile app, invitations to partner events, access to research, directories, event/convention calendars and more.To attend the fall cultural preview, register here. For more information on becoming a partner please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 567-8461.
Visitor Services has kicked off the summer by launching the Chicago Information Guide (CIG) and Millennium Park InstaGreeter services.
Our CIGs can be identifiable wearing blue shirts and white baseball caps on the street by Pioneer Court, CTA O’Hare Blue Line Stop, and Millennium Park 7 days a week. They will also be at the Taste of Chicago and Jazz Festival. This seasonal program allows us to assist more visitors during the busy summer months beyond our three, year-round Visitor Information Centers (VIC).The Chicago Greeter Service, a complimentary program that pairs up visitors with local volunteers to take them on a customized tour of the city, also launched the InstaGreeter service to provide one-hour guided walks of Millennium Park. This seasonal service is available now through Columbus Day. The walks depart from the Chicago Cultural Center VIC (77 E. Randolph) at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily.
HOW WE ARE PROMOTING CHICAGO
From April 5 – 9, Chicago rolled out the red carpet for IPW, the premier travel tradeshow that attracted over 6,200 travel suppliers and buyers from over 70 countries and 500 members of the international and domestic media. The tradeshow conducted 95,000 appointments – a record number. Choose Chicago alone conducted 303 appointments with national and international buyers.
As the host organization, Choose Chicago presented a variety of events including an opening night party at Cinespace Studios in Pilsen, which featured performances by the cast of Motown The Musical and Janelle Monae. A closing night party was held at the Museum of Science and Industry, headlined by Grammy-award winning Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson. Additionally, Choose organized 21 sightseeing tours to showcase our beautiful city including many of our neighborhoods to members of the international media and travel trade.Nearly 600 volunteers helped make IPW a huge success by completing more than 1,000 shifts. Special thanks to all of you who volunteered your time to show these delegates our great city.
Choose Chicago launched a leisure summer marketing campaign on May 12, to run through August 3. The $2M+ campaign will run for 12 weeks in five domestic markets (Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville) and Toronto, Canada. Choose Chicago is once again partnering with Brand USA in the Toronto market.The main objective of the summer campaign is to sustain and generate top of mind awareness of Chicago by featuring the destination and local events to drive website traffic and ultimately promoting visitation. A sample of the events that will be promoted include Wrigley Field’s 100th Birthday, Chicago Jazz Festival, Millennium Park’s 10th Anniversary, and Taste of Chicago. Additionally, select Chicago neighborhoods will be featured via a series of 2-minute segments and digital advertising promoting the Beyond the Loop web series.
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor destination leveraging the city's unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Read more.
Choose Chicago’s Cultural Tourism department’s six strategic objectives are:
- Develop and implement market-specific positioning strategies and promotional tactics to attract more cultural travelers to Chicago from regional, national, and international markets.
- Promote and support existing cultural asset infrastructure and future cultural tourism product development.
- Enhance tourism sales efforts to further develop existing and new cultural tourism product to help position Chicago as one of the top five destinations for international inbound travel by 2020.
- Elevate visitor services by promoting unique, authentic, and enjoyable experiences.
- Develop and implement a multi-year neighborhood tourism development plan to drive repeat visitation to Chicago and extend length of stay.
- Establish metrics to track growth and economic impact of cultural tourism and neighborhood tourism development efforts.
There are three Visitor Information Centers in the downtown area. They are located at the Chicago Cultural Center at 77 E. Randolph Street, Macy’s on State Street Lower Level at 111 N. State Street, and Historic Water Works Pumping Station located on the Magnificent Mile at 163 E. Pearson Street. For more information, visit www.choosechicago.com/visitor-information-centers.