Chicago Epic Video

On behalf of the Choose Chicago team, it is our pleasure to share with you the details of Chicago Epic, Chicago's new leisure multi-media campaign! "Epic" describes something large and impressive, something beyond the ordinary in size or scope, and stories about legendary events or adventures. All of which describe Chicago and how we do things. This is the first campaign that provides a narrative for the Chicago experience. Beyond new creative, Chicago Epic is Chicago's first advertising brand campaign highlighting the city as a tourism destination outside of the Midwest, and marks a new chapter in the way we are promoting the city to potential visitors.

We are thrilled to share with you the following 80-second "anthem" video (above) and encourage you to share on your business and personal social media channels. You may access the video via this link:

Chicago Epic is based on the idea that there are countless epic experiences that Chicago offers both downtown and throughout our vibrant neighborhoods, and the sum of those experiences makes for an extraordinary city to visit. It is a reflection of Chicago's spirit.  We want to encourage visitors to choose their own adventure with the guarantee that each visit will be different from the last.

We hope that you share our excitement for this new campaign. Without your continued support and commitment, the opportunity and privilege to market and sell this amazing city we are so proud to call home would not be possible.

How can you support the new campaign? It's easy!

  • Lead with your most impressive accolades: What makes you the best? What do you have the most of?
  • What unique aspects do you have to offer? The only... The first...
  • How do you push the limits and expectations?
  • Consider interesting numbers/facts that tell the story of your extraordinary aspects.

Make sure your tonality is bold, adventurous, forward-thinking and proud yet approachable.

Please make sure to tag @ChooseChicago on Twitter so we can retweet your supporting messaging!

Sample social posts:

  • WATCH @ChooseChicago's new #ChicagoEpic campaign video: You'll be booking a trip to #Chicago before the video ends.
  • Need 80 seconds filled with reasons why you should visit #Chicago? @ChooseChicago has you covered. WATCH #ChicagoEpic
  • Be part of something bigger than yourself. Plan your epic adventure today. #ChicagoEpic @ChooseChicago
  • Make no little plans. Visit @ChooseChicago. Have an epic adventure. #ChicagoEpic



2015 NFL Draft

Fifty-one years after it was last held in Chicago, the National Football League (NFL) will present the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, April 30-May 2.

Round 1 will take place on Thursday, April 30 while Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday, May 1. The Draft will conclude on Saturday, May 2 with Rounds 4-7. Round 1 festivities will include incoming prospects walking the red carpet on Michigan Avenue, while 32 former players who are members of the NFL Legends community, one representing each team, will be on hand for Round 2 to announce selections.

Draft Town

The 2015 NFL Draft has been completely re-imagined so that NFL fans from across the country can experience longtime traditions, including the process as to how the future of their team will be decided over three days. Gather with fellow fans at Draft Town located in Chicago's iconic Grant Park, just steps away from the Auditorium Theatre and watch all the excitement unfold.

Draft Town is a sprawling, free fan festival in downtown Chicago's Grant Park open to the public all three days of the Draft for family-friendly fun. Though Draft Town is the hub for all Draft action, the footprint is about more than just football. Draft Town features live music, food, player appearances, interactive games, photo opps, places to view the 2015 NFL Draft on television and more action than ever before. No ticket is required. Draft Town showcases how the NFL and Chi-town have collectively re-imagined the Draft experience.

Want to get involved with the 2015 NFL Draft? The Chicago Sports Commission will be managing a volunteer program for the 2015 NFL Draft and will be sending out information in the upcoming weeks. To be sure you don't miss any of these updates, sign up for CSC's volunteer communications.



ChicagoMade SXSW

If you joined us in Austin this year, we want to say thank you for making our second appearance at SXSW a huge success!

From March 15 - March 18, the ChicagoMade crew was stationed on the trade show floor at the Austin Convention Center promoting Chicago's creative industries and the artists, entrepreneurs and visionaries who bring these industries to life. From film to fashion, to technology and music the response to Chicago's presence was overwhelmingly positive.

The ChicagoMade trade show booth offered meet-and-greet opportunities with "Chicago Ambassadors" - a "who's who" from Chicago's technology, music and film industries, along with performances by a variety of Chicago's musical acts.  

Visit our ChicagoMade website for a full recap and photos of Chicago at SXSW. 

Photo by Adam Alexander



John Gibbs

John Gibbs is Founder of Chicago Water Sport Rentals, offering premium jet ski, hobie kayak, paddleboard and flyboard rentals at 31st Street Harbor. Chicago Water Sport Rentals, in addition to offering rentals and classes, provides on-the-water fun to various groups, socials, corporate events and team-building activities.

Gibbs talks about joining Choose Chicago as a partner and how the industry network has benefited his business.  

How would you describe your position with Chicago Water Sport Rentals? What do you do?  

As the founder of Chicago Water Sport Rentals, I have many responsibilities such as guest and employee safety, customer experience, operations and marketing.

What are your current projects?

Currently we're implementing an online reservation agent that will allow guests to book online. This will be beneficial to our guests allowing them to schedule their recreational activities anytime, day or night. Also, concierge and meeting professionals can see what is available for their guests last minute.

What are some of the goals of your organization?  

We're always looking at new water sport activities that will allow any and all people to enjoy Chicago's beautiful lakefront. We're in talks with a wildly fun offering and if things fall into place I think we'll have this secret product available in July 2015.  Also, we offer rental products that are on the higher end of what is available in the category - basically, we look for uniqueness, fun activities you won't find anywhere else in the world. 

What projects are you most proud of?  

We're going into our fourth season and we see people smiling when they leave and when they come back they have even bigger smiles. In many situations our guests have just done something for the first time and they have a sense of accomplishment and they can take that with them for the rest of their lives. After college I worked for Nordstrom & The Ritz Carlton so the guest service knowledge I retained from these stellar companies I drill into my staff and that makes me proud of how we treat each and every guest.

How has your relationship with Choose Chicago benefited your business directly?  

Overall we're a small company and we appreciate when Choose Chicago shares our company offerings while on international trade missions and through their international sales offices. Choose Chicago also helps look for public relations opportunities and watches for growth opportunities. 

What would you say to a business owner or organization that is considering joining Choose Chicago?

Initially I thought it was going to be only a social networking opportunity, but it's so much more. I feel that Choose Chicago really looks out for my business.

Why did you join? What were your expectations?

I joined to help get the word out about Chicago Water Sport Rentals and to help build awareness for the new 31st Street Harbor to the Chicago hospitality industry and to inbound leisure travelers.

Since joining, has the organization lived up to your expectations?  

Absolutely - well beyond my expectations!

Of all that Choose offers, be it networking, advertising or otherwise, what has been most the greatest benefit to your organization?  

I'm confident that Choose Chicago is always looking out for my best interests related to growing all aspects of my business. Choose Chicago has come to me with fabulous public relations efforts and the value of the exposure gained alone could pay for a lifetime of membership dues. Shortly after we launched Chicago Water Sport Rentals, a group of Choose Chicago executives came to visit 31st Street Harbor to see what the buzz was all about and everyone left in awe of how beautiful and welcoming the harbor is.

Please provide one or two concrete examples of how partnering with Choose Chicago has helped you continue to grow your organization.  

Choose Chicago is looking out for me, the group has forwarded RFPs about growth opportunities and business seminars. We were especially helped by tips on how to have an effective social media strategy and gave me ideas that I hadn't previously thought of. I was subsequently able to correct things I previously wasn't doing correctly.



Recently, the City of Chicago and McCormick Place welcomed the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) 2015 and America's Beauty Show & Face and Body 2015. These major annual conventions brought thousands of attendees from around the world and were huge successes. Please join us in congratulating the NSTA and America's Beauty Show on their conventions in Chicago!

The NSTA'S National Conference (March 12-15) held more than 1,500 innovative presentations, sessions and hands-on workshops; 400+ exhibits; and invited speakers, short courses, an all-day NGSS event, educational field trips and exciting social events. Speaker highlights included U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; educator, comedian and TV host, Bill Nye; and University of Chicago professor and author, Neil Shubin. For a brief recap, visit the NSTA Blog.

Big. Bold. Beautiful. The America's Beauty Show held its annual event, March 21-23 at McCormick Place West and welcomed more than 65,000 salon professionals, owners, aspiring students, teachers, headliners and educators. Delegates accumulated an estimated expenditure of approximately $119 million while in town. For a photo recap of the 90-years-young show, visit the America's Beauty Show website.




American Educational Research Association 2015 Annual Convention
4/16-20 14,000 McCormick Place
The American Educational Research Association returns to Chicago for its 2015 annual meeting. The meeting will offer over 2,600 sessions to be held at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Hyatt Regency Chicago, InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Swissotel Chicago and Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park.
American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting
5/29-6/2 33,000 McCormick Place

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting will bring together over 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world. 50% of the attendees to the meeting are international.

Microsoft Ignite   5/4-8
 20,000+ McCormick Place
This first-time signature technology event for Microsoft is focused on helping businesses succeed in the new era of mobile and cloud computing, combining five previously separate events - topics will include cloud management, big data & analytics and unified communications.



Choose Chicago Facebook Group header

Come one, come all! Join us in our new private Facebook group:

We have made the move to a private Facebook group and left our partnership Twitter behind to provide more value for YOU, our partners. Our goal is to always find a way to provide the most value to you and the same case is true with social media.

After getting much feedback we learned that you wanted a place to ask questions as yourself and not as the brand (like on Twitter), interact and network with other partners. We encourage you to join our private group and invite all of your co-workers (ex: marketing, business development, sales, meeting & event planners) that would benefit for staying in touch with Choose Chicago.

Representatives from the partnership department and our Social Media Specialist will monitor the group and share updates, answer questions and help stoke conversation among partners. And don't worry about privacy - if your account is private people will still not be able to see the content on your Facebook page. They will only see the comments you post in the group. We look forward to seeing you in our new Facebook group!



Drop by and see us during our monthly office hours! Choose Chicago will offer one-on-one walk-in hours for our partner organizations at our downtown office located at 72 E. Randolph. Office hours provide an opportunity to meet with the Choose Chicago Partnership team as well as a representative from Miles Partnership to discuss:

  • Questions or concerns regarding your partnership
  • Benefits and resources available to help grow your organization
  • How to enhance your online profile including a tutorial on the Partner Extranet
  • Choose Chicago's educational and marketing opportunities
  • Ways to build stronger relationships with the Choose Chicago team

Date: First Thursday of every month:

  • May 7, 2015
  • June 4, 2015

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Place: Choose Chicago Loop Office Conference Room
72 E. Randolph Street - 3rd Floor
Please sign in at the security desk

For more information about Choose Chicago office hours:
Please contact Mayela Hobbs, Manager of Partner Relations & Outreach, at or 312-567-8462.



Join us to learn about Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and the important role they play in helping to create the Chicago experience for our meeting and convention clients. More importantly, learn how to increase your sales by building stronger relationships with DMC partners and working closely with them as they develop, manage and execute meetings, events, accommodations, transportation, tours and more for their clients. A distinguished panel of DMC professionals will share their insights and best practices.

Jay Weidner, Managing Partner for On The Scene, will open the session with an overview of the DMC industry. Rose Horcher, VP of Client Services for Choose Chicago, will moderate this lively discussion with the following DMC panelists:

  • Jillene Szostak, DMCP, President
    Chicago Travel Consultants, Inc. (CTC)
  • Lesley Barnett, CMP, Director of Sales
    Hosts Chicago
  • Michelle Castady, DMCP, Director of Sales, Chicago
    360 Destination Group

For more information on the panelists, click here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

8:00am - 8:30am: Registration
8:30am - 9:30am: Program
9:30am - 10:00am: Networking

Union League Club of Chicago
Main Dining Room - 6th Floor
65 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60601

Partners Price: $25
Non-Partners Price: $30

Parking Information:
A parking facility is located at 318 S. Federal for $26 and valet parking is available for $33. Parking validation required at the Clubhouse front desk. Visa and MasterCard Only, $1 surcharge will apply.

Dress Code:
Business Casual Attire is allowed throughout the Clubhouse.

Men: Collard shirt (including turtleneck) and slacks (no dress denim).
Women: Slacks or skirt with blouse or sweater (no dress denim).

Register Now



Table Is Set Concierge Preferred trade show

Concierge Preferred is excited to announce that their 14th annual Convention and Trade Show will take place on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens.

The theme of this year's convention is "Chicago Tourism: The Table is Set," capitalizing on several major events coming to Chicago including the NFL Draft and James Beard Awards, as well as a record year for tourism on the horizon. 

This year, the event kicks off at 11 a.m. with a panel discussion moderated by Choose Chicago's President and CEO Don Welsh. The discussion will touch upon new developments in Chicago's culinary scene, events with a focus on live music, and the NFL Draft's impact among other high-profile events. The panel will include: 

Mark Campana, Co-President North America Concerts for Live Nation
Peter O'Reilly, Senior Vice President of Events for the National Football League
John Colletti, Managing Partner of Gibson's Restaurant Group

The Trade Show is designed to forge relationships between the concierge community, the meeting and event planning industry, and businesses that cater to Chicago's visitors. The event offers a look at the best Chicago has to offer both business and leisure travelers with over 120 booths and over 1,700 hospitality industry professionals expected to attend throughout the day.  The Trade Show runs from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.

RSVP to attend, here:



Discover the best ways for your organization to connect with our Choose Chicago team. Meet one-on-one with representatives from across Choose Chicago to share information about your products and services during our informal and energetic networking event.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

8:30am - 9:00am: Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:00am - 10:00am: Network with Choose Chicago team

More details coming soon.


Chicago Golf Classic

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cog Hill Golf & Country Club

Pricing and availability will be sent shortly.  Please contact Lori Adlesick at with further questions.



Join us in welcoming the newest partners this year to Choose Chicago:



Chicago Gospel Festival

Gospel got its start in Chicago in the early 1900s in the Bronzeville neighborhood. This year, the annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival will continue to keep that tradition alive for its milestone 30th year at Millennium Park, May 29-31. Get your fill of inspirational tunes over this three-day event featuring the best in local, national and international gospel music performers.

The event is free and family-friendly, so settle in for some powerful performances. Help support this outstanding music festival by promoting it to your clients and visitors any way you can. The Gospel Music Festival kicks off Chicago's big lineup of summer festivals, and what better way to do so than with extraordinary vocalists, lively choral groups, and the best in traditional and contemporary gospel.



Broadway in Chicago

The irreverent, smash-hit musical The Book of Mormon returns to Chicago for a limited run through May 17. From the creators of South Park, The Book of Mormon has won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and hits the Bank of America Theatre once again. 

Purchase tickets for this one-of-a-kind musical today! 





As Chicago's official destination marketing organization, various Choose Chicago team members travel the world to share our story and encourage visitation to our city. Here's where we'll be connecting with our customers/partners over the weeks ahead:

4/20-4/23, 2015
ConferenceDirect Annual Partner Meeting 2015
Dallas, TX
4/28-4/30, 2015
SGMP 2015
Minneapolis, MN
4/30-5/03, 2015
PCMA Partnership Summit 2015
Desert Springs, CA 
5/18-5/20, 2015
HelmsBriscoe Annual Business Conference 2015
Las Vegas, NV
5/19-5-21, 2015
IMEX Frankfurt 2015
Frankfurt, Germany
6/09-6/11, 2015
IBTM 2015
Chicago, IL

Choose Chicago has several upcoming opportunities for our partners to participate in shows and events around the world. Please email for more information - more details to be released soon.

For more information, please contact Lori Adlesick, Vice President of Industry Relations & Special Events, at