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Partner Insights & Updates

JULY 2021

A Note from the President & CEO

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on the remaining six months of the year with regard to major conventions, meetings, and shows. We all are extremely pleased to see McCormick Place reopen again and celebrate the first major event back — the Nike Tournament of Champions (July 10 – 12), with over 13,000 attendees representing talented female high school basketball athletes (along with coaches and families) with hopes of winning a college scholarship. This will be immediately followed by the return of the Chicago Auto Show (July 15 – 19).

There are encouraging opportunities on our horizon. In total, McCormick Place and our partner host hotels will be welcoming (in addition to Nike and Auto Show) 12 major conventions/trade shows between now and Dec. 31. This is welcome news as perhaps now, more than ever before, the economic impact generated by this activity is vivid and needed for our full recovery.

I’m also pleased to share that the sales team is once again experiencing significant momentum. In June, the team was able to confirm 10 future major conventions/shows adding two additional events for 2023 (a major focus for us) and two for 2024 with the remaining six secured for 2025 or 2026. It is noteworthy that of these wins secured, five will be convening in Chicago for the very first time and a sixth has not met in Chicago since 2012. 

With this success in June, the team has secured 16 major city-wide conventions/shows this year toward our goal of 20 events booked in 2021. And speaking of the future, the chart below illustrates the pace of major conventions for the next several years and how they compare to 2019. The team will remain laser focused on pursuing additional major conventions, shows, and events as well as the important in-house meetings we help secure with our partner hotels as we work and collaborate to fill the convention calendar.

Welcome back to McCormick Place and welcome back to our current and future meeting attendees. We are so grateful they have chosen Chicago.


Partner Engagement & Advocacy

Spotlight on New Partners to Choose Chicago

Welcome new partners of Choose Chicago! We’re excited to work with you to help promote your organization and Chicago as a world-class business and leisure destination. 

Associations/Organizations
CoStar Group

Attractions
Chicago Electric Boat Company

Boat Tours
Tailgate The Lake Boat Charters

Bus Tours, Special Interest Tours
Chicago Hauntings

Catering Services, Gifts & Promotional Products
Crepes a Latte, Experiential Hospitality

Conference Facility/Special Event Venue
Mox.E Coworking

Dining: American
Batter & Berries 

Dining: American Contemporary
Fatpour Tap Works
One North Kitchen
The Northman Beer and Cider Garden

Dining: Bakery
Brown Sugar Bakery 

Dining: Fast Food
Flippin Flavors 

Dining: Mediterranean
Rose Mary

Entertainment/Talent/Speakers
Island Dreams Music
TwoGuard Media
Shall We Wine 

Event Management/Production
PC Events & Experiences
Studio Sage

Gifts/Promotional Products
Tee Mart Decorated Apparel

Hotels
Canopy by Hilton
LondonHouse Chicago Hotel 

Marketing, Media & Communications
Clear Channel Airports
Clear Channel Outdoor
Dine-It-4ward Chicago
The Celebration Society

Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions
The Art of Banksy Exhibit
Gallery Guichard 

Recreational Sports
Chicago Action Sports

Rentals
Mobile Lux Lounge
SmartSource

Security
AGB Innovative Security Solutions

Shipping, Fulfillment, Warehousing
Envision3

Shopping
Semy App 

Special Event Venue
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Symphony Center
Gallery Guichard
Guild Row
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Symphony Center
The Penthouse Hyde Park

Special Interest Tours
eATLAS 

Specialty Stores
Essential Elements-Chicago
Essentially Noir
The Silver Room

Sports Bar
AJ Hudson’s Public House

Theater & Performing Arts
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Symphony Center
Mandala Arts

July Partner Networking Event

Join us for our first in-person networking event of the year as we explore one of Chicagoland’s newest outdoor adventures, The Forge: Lemont Quarries. 

The Forge: Lemont Quarries is a first-of-its-kind adventure park designed to deliver unique year-round outdoor activities. From ropes courses, ziplines, and climbing walls, to mountain biking, hiking trails, and adventurous dining options.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

  • 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Activities – Includes Towers Adventure & Soar Experience (limited availability)
  • 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.: Networking 

This event will be fully outside so please dress appropriately for the weather. 

If you are selecting to take part in activities, please see below details regarding the requirements. 

Cost: 

$35: Networking only

$50: Activities & networking

Register now

Activities details

  • Soar at the Eight Towers Adventure:
    • Experience speeds of up to 30 miles per hour as you zip 1,000+ feet across The Forge Quarry. Enjoy climbing on 100+ elements on the 90-ft East-X Tower or the legendary Skyscraper Tower before taking your quarry zip! 
    • This experience includes access to climbing elements on the East X Tower and Skyscraper Tower and 1 zip across The Forge Quarry. 
  • Requirements for Soar Experience:
    • Weight: Minimum weight of 70 lbs; Maximum weight of 250 lbs
    • Height: Minimum height of 52 inches; Maximum height of 6-feet, 6-inches
    • Important Note: Head coverings (bandana or baseball cap) and full-finger gloves (with a reinforced palm to protect your hand against the cables and ropes) are required. These are NOT provided as a part of your reservation.
    • Required to sign participation waivers.
Update your partner listing and contacts

With Chicago’s continued reopening and more and more business and leisure travelers visiting the city please take a moment to update your partner listing to ensure you are properly marketing your business to this lucrative market. In addition, please make sure that your contacts are up to date so we can continue to effectively communicate industry news, partner opportunities, events, and more with your organization.

And if you have any special events coming up this summer, be sure to submit them to our events calendar. See below for more details on how to make these quick and easy updates.

Submit your events

The Choose Chicago events calendar, which includes both live and virtual events, is a popular resource for locals and visitors to see what’s happening in and around the city. It’s one of the highest viewed areas of our website and offers a great opportunity to promote your organization’s happenings.

You can easily submit your event(s) for consideration by using our events calendar form.

Submit your events

Update your partner listing

Your partner listing, which is integrated throughout the site, is a comprehensive way to increase awareness of your products and services and drive business to your organization.

Please take a moment to review and update your information and photos, including the following:

To update your Partner listing, log into the Partner Extranet.

Update your partner listing


Meetings & Conventions

July marks the return of in-person events at McCormick Place, kicking off with the Nike Tournament of Champions, who will be bringing 650 teams to Chicago totaling 13,500 athletes. Immediately following the basketball tournament, Chicago gears up for our first large-scale trade convention and a local favorite, the Chicago Auto Show. This year’s Chicago Auto Show is open to the public through ticketed sales, and will be uniquely laid out not only in the West Building, but also with an outdoor pavilion for ride and drive activities. We are anticipating thousands of attendees gathering safely on our campus.

Fall gears up!

Once McCormick Place’s doors open to our first event in over 15 months on July 7, there will be no slowdown in sight. There are eight large-scale conventions planned at McCormick Place in July and August alone. September will find the return of our mega conventions utilizing multiple buildings on campus. Long-time customer, FABTECH will be the first multi-building event returning with an estimated 40,000 attendees. We are anticipating a very busy fall with back-to-back conventions through the end of the year. For detailed information please reference our convention calendar located in the Partner Extranet.

Leads increasing

Our Sales Team is experiencing week over week growth in the number of meeting and convention lead opportunities and the outlook for confirmed events by year end is on track to our goals/target. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any member of our sales team. Chicago convention season is BACK and we look forward to seeing our center and our community filled with convention badges soon!


Storytelling & Neighborhood Engagement

Chicago Alfresco

The City of Chicago approved plans for 16 neighborhood locations and Choose Chicago awarded $2.3 million in grants to local partners, thanks to the generous support from Diageo North America. The Chicago Alfresco program will create new community-designed spaces for outdoor enjoyment, including cultural performances, food vendors, education, and local merchants. Ribbon-cuttings are expected to begin later this month. Neighborhood partners and locations will include:

  • Austin Chamber of Commerce (West Madison Street and West Chicago Avenue)
  • Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (West 47th Street & South Honore Street)
  • Greater Chatham Initiative (East 75th Street, East 79th Street, and East 71st Street)
  • Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce (North Broadway Street)
  • Little Village Community Foundation (Perez Plaza)
  • Logan Square Chamber of Commerce (Woodard Plaza)
  • Morgan Park Beverly Hills (103rd Street & Wood Street)
  • Northwest Side CDC (West Fullerton Avenue & West Grand Avenue)
  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center (West Division Street)
  • Rogers Park Business Alliance (West Jarvis Avenue and North Glenwood Avenue)
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce (East 71st Street)
  • South Chicago Parents & Friends (South Commercial Avenue)
  • Uptown United (West Argyle Street)
  • West Ridge Chamber of Commerce (West Devon Avenue)
  • Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce (East 62nd Street and South Ingleside Avenue)

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