PCMA microsite newsletter

On January 11-14, Chicago takes an important step toward achieving its goal of welcoming 55 million visitors annually. In one month, Choose Chicago and the city's entire hospitality community will welcome PCMA Convening Leaders 2015 back to Chicago following a two-decade hiatus. 

If you haven't yet registered, please do so to secure your blueprint for 2015. If you have already registered, we look forward to seeing you in January! Don't forget to secure your spot for the site visits and tours on Sunday, January 11 and Wednesday, January 14 (restricted to registered PCMA attendees). Please get involved in this incredibly important event for our city! 

PCMA's annual Convening Leaders meeting is the premier event for meeting and event planners to learn new strategies, discover innovative solutions, and share best practices. More than 4,000 meetings industry colleagues gather each January for 70+ cutting-edge education sessions, inspiring general session speakers, panel discussions, and numerous outstanding networking opportunities.

Chicago's goal in serving as the host city for PCMA Convening Leaders is simple - to increase our share of meetings and conventions, thus producing new jobs, new tax revenue and significant spending throughout Chicago.

Hosting 2,000 meeting planners who each plan an average of 34 major meetings and events per year, along with an equal number of industry suppliers will only further support Choose Chicago's efforts. For example, the opportunity to secure one significant medical convention as a result of hosting Convening Leaders could mean an economic boost to Chicago of over $100 million. 

Securing strong investment from the corporate community is essential to PCMA Convening Leaders 2015's success. Corporate partners who support this important event will have the opportunity to position their brand in front of decision makers who represent the global meetings and conventions industries. Not only will you invest in Chicago's future, you will be aligning with the best of our city while also driving new economic growth from key corporate, association and third-party meetings markets.

For more information and to secure your partnership, please contact Nina Winston, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, at nwinston@choosechicago.com or 312.567.8561.

Please also read our PMCA Sponsorship Opportunities booklet for details on sponsorship packages.

Choose Chicago would like to thank all of our PCMA Convening Leaders Host City Sponsors and Partners who have committed to supporting our efforts to date, including Presenting Sponsors, Chicago Department of Aviation and McCormick Place. Click here to see the full list of Host City Sponsors.

All PCMA Convening Leaders volunteer shifts are filled at this time. If you are still interested in volunteering please contact events@pcma.org and you will be added to a waitlist. If any shifts do open up, a member of the PCMA events team will contact you with additional information. Thank you for your support of PCMA!

For more information on volunteer opportunities and registration, visit the PCMA microsite.



Chicago Restaurant Week 2015

Chicago Restaurant Week is just a little over a month away! More than 250 restaurants will be participating in this annual culinary celebration, offering a taste of the city's rich, epicurean diversity. Between neighborhood favorites and downtown hotspots, you can feast on delicious multi-course menus all across the city and suburbs.

The official Chicago Restaurant Week website, EatItUpChicago.com, will officially launch on Monday, December 15. You'll be able to view a full list of participating restaurants, menus and make reservations. Seats fill up fast, so be among the first to book a lunch or dinner! 

Chicago Restaurant Week is first kicked off by First Bites Bash, produced by Choose Chicago. Join us inside the magnificent Great Hall at Chicago Union Station, where you will enjoy savory and sweet tastings from over 50 of Chicago's most celebrated chefs and restaurants. Restaurateur & master sommelier Alpana Singh will host this year's event, from which a portion of the proceeds will benefit Inspiration Corporation - this Chicago-based non-profit provides social services, employment training and placement, and housing to people affected by homelessness and poverty. 

First Bites Bash

Thursday, January 29 - 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Great Hall at Union Station
500 W. Jackson St.

Admission: $125
Tickets on sale now at firstbitesbash2015tix.eventbrite.com

This year's sponsors are 101.9fm THE MIX, Goose Island, NBC5 Chicago, OpenTable, MICHIGAN AVENUE magazine, Serious Eats, and Terlato Wines.


Chicago Restaurant Week 2015

Friday, January 30 - Thursday, February 12

For more information on your restaurant's participation in Chicago Restaurant Week, please contact us at RestaurantWeek@choosechicago.com.



Brittany Gonzalez headshot

Brittany Gonzalez is Tourism Marketing and Development Manager at Macy's. Gonzalez talks about joining Choose Chicago as a partner and how the industry network has benefited her business.

How would you describe your position with Macy's?

I am the Tourism Marketing Manager for Macy's North Central Region based in Chicago. 

What do you do? 

I am responsible for developing marketing partnerships with Chicago tourism entities, planning niche advertising campaigns, and creating unique shopping experiences promoting Macy's as the ultimate shopping destination. 

What are your current projects? 

One of my current projects is re-developing our social and digital presence to better reach travel trade and domestic/international tourists. I recently helped launch VisitMacysUSA.com including our tourism blog and @macystourism twitter handle. 

What are some of the goals of your organization? 

The goal of Macy's Tourism department is to elevate Macy's brand so that tourists include shopping at Macy's as part of their travel itinerary.   

What projects are you most proud of? 

In April 2014, I successfully opened a co-branded Visitor Information Center at Macy's on State Street in partnership with Choose Chicago. This new space provides visitors with concierge services, the ability to purchase attraction tickets and make dining reservations, and of course pick up the Macy's 10% Visitor Savings Pass.

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

The relationship between Choose Chicago and Macy's has been integral in the opening of our new Visitor Information Center and our ability to better cater to the international and domestic visitor. Choose Chicago also has the resources to help us plan ahead for the business traveler to make sure we are providing the best customer experience to our tourism guests.

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

Joining Choose Chicago gives you the opportunity to learn about the Tourism industry in Chicago and network with influential members of the community whose partnerships are key for continuing to drive tourism to the city.

Why did you join? What were your expectations? 

As a Tourism Marketing Department, we join all major CVB's in key cities to stay relevant with the tourism climate and trends in that market. It is also very important to meet members of the Tourism and Hospitality industry whose partnerships are essential for driving business to our organization. 

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

It has been a great organization to be a part of because it provides Macy's Tourism with a great network in the tourism industry and the tools needed to better drive visitors to Macy's.

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

The networking events and quarterly Educational Seminars that Choose Chicago host have been the greatest benefit to Macy's. They allow us to meet new people in the industry and better educate ourselves on the tourism climate in Chicago.

What is an example(s) of how partnering with Choose Chicago has helped you continue to grow your organization?

The best example of how partnering with Choose Chicago has grown Macy's Tourism is opening an Official Chicago Visitor Information Center based in Macy's on State Street.



chinese new year parade

February 19 - March 5, 2015

Chinese New Year 2015 will be celebrated citywide, with special events from February 19 through March 5. The celebration includes a kickoff event on February 19 at the Chicago Cultural Center presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society, along with a Chinese New Year Parade on February 22, and a Lantern Festival on March 1 at Navy Pier.

Last February, the City of Chicago and Choose Chicago set out to develop a citywide celebration of the Chinese New Year to drive awareness of the tradition and to also drive tourism during a low travel period. This year, Choose Chicago is leading the effort to promote the Year of the Sheep, February 15 through March 5. If you are planning any events or special promotions, or have questions regarding plans for 2015, please email the Cultural Tourism department at cny@choosechicago.com.

Chicago has the second-largest Chinatown in the United States, and will welcome visitors from around the country as well as from China, where Choose Chicago is giving the event heavy promotion. Cultural performances and demonstrations, along with special hotel, retail and restaurants promotions are all part of the festivities.

For a full round-up of the wide variety of Chinese New Year festivities, visit choosechicago.com/chinesenewyear.



RSNA 100

Congratulations to the Radiological Society of North America which completed their 100th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting last week at McCormick Place, November 30-December 5. By the second day of the meeting, RSNA was already seeing record-breaking attendance for international professionals, which was up 15% over last year, at over 10,000 people. Attendees came from more than 125 countries. Overall registration grew at least 5% from last year with over 54,500 people coming to Chicago for the Centennial meeting.  For Chicago, this represents an estimated delegate expenditure of over $130 million.

This meeting marked the 72nd time RSNA has met in Chicago. RSNA will continue their Centennial in 2015 when they celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the organization.

Choose Chicago warmly thanks our partner organizations for their hospitality in welcoming RSNA attendees, making the Chicago Centennial a memorable one.



A huge thank you to the entire 2014 Ambassador Task Force.  Any amount of volunteering, big or small, was greatly appreciated.

At the close of 2014, the ambassadors will have volunteered for 61 events, including 41 beverage services , for a grand total of 735 hours of volunteer time committed to welcoming guests to Chicago.

2015 is shaping up to be a very busy and exciting year. Therefore, Choose Chicago is seeking more ambassadors than ever to join the 2015 Ambassador Task Force.

The purpose of the Ambassador Task Force is to make conference and convention attendees, exhibitors, show managers and special event attendees feel welcomed and appreciated during their visit to Chicago.  The Ambassador Task Force helps add a personal touch to their Chicago experience by providing friendly, face-to-face personal interaction.

Participation in the Ambassador Task Force provides volunteers with invaluable exposure to Chicago's hospitality community.  Informational meetings, team building and networking events will be held once per quarter exclusively for Ambassadors.  Participants will also be able to take advantage of various special offers by Choose Chicago partners throughout the year.

Ambassadors are expected to fulfill a minimum of 6 hours of services over the course of the year, and earn points every time they volunteer. Fabulous prizes are given to the Ambassadors with the most points at the end of the year!

If you are interested in the 2015 Ambassador Task Force, please click on the following link to fill out the application.


Again, thank you to our 2014 Ambassador Task Force volunteers listed below:

2014 Ambassador Task Force

Theresa Altgilbers, Park West
Kristin Atlas, House of Blues
Marley Bellwood, The Revel Group
Donna Bliss, Zhou B Art Center
Jennifer Borkowski, GO Airport Express Shuttle
Heather Brown, AlliedPRA Chicago
Courtney Cawley, Levy Restaurants at U.S. Cellular Field
Marie Coffou, Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza
Lynn Falbo, Courtyard Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile
Daniel Ecklund, Hosts Chicago
Sarah Erker, Hilton Garden Inn-Chicago Magnificent Mile
Erin Falbo, The Shops at North Bridge
Katie Gamble, Blue Plate
Karina Gines, Hilton Garden Inn-Chicago Magnificent Mile
Tara Gray, Experient
Fantasy Greene, Homewood Suites By Hilton Chicago Downtown
Monica Grossnickle, Chicago Travel Consultants, Inc.
Melissa Hahn, Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc
Kristy Harvey, Residence Inn & Springhill Suites by Marriott
Jenna Haymond, Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown
Jane Hogan, Chicago Marriott, JW, Renaissance Hotels
Jake Holtz, Conference Chicago at the University Center
Charles James, Luxe Expo Staffing
Onya Jones, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago
Vanessa Kosloski, Hotel Chicago
Rachel Krieger, Blue Plate Catering
Emily Larson, The Mid America Club
Patti Maher, Shoreline Charters
Tracy Malia, Entertainment Cruises
Amanda Masters, Triplex; Aloft Chicago City Center
Mallory McSweeney, fado Irish Pub
Erin Meisner, Park Grill
Melah Miller, Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile
Keri Miller, Food For Thought
Lisa Missner, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Andi Morris, American Airlines
Gemma Mulvihill, Broadway in Chicago
Colleen O'Grady, Lucky Strike Entertainment
Luca Parisi, Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown
Iceseander Pittman, Red Roof Inn - Chicago Magnificent Mile
Tony Pittman, Million Dollar Round Table
Sharon Powers, Crystral Gardens - Phil Stefani Signature Events
Nicole Price, Edwards Lifesciences/Around Chicago
Kelly Rehmer, Metropolitan Club
Tracy Robinson, Amtrak
Alicia Rocha, Texas De Brazil
Hilary Saurer, Levy Restaurants - River Roast
Angela Sciortino, Red Roof Inn, Inc
Becky Shulman, Blue Plate/Tesori
Gia Skiba, Entertainment Cruises
Christie Springer, Hard Rock Café
Christine Stamps, Luxe Expo Staffing
Katy Stopka, House of Blues
Jessica Trevizo, Dana Hotel and Spa
Gina Trombetti, Mid America Club
Sheila Ward, Chicago South Loop Hotel
Kyiana Wheeler, Intercontinental Chicago Magnificant Mile
Lynett Wilson, American Association of Endodontists
Jennifer Worstell, Roy's Restaurant
Michele Worth; Aloft, Hyatt Place & Fairfield Inn Chicago River North
Jody Zagger, Reggies Chicago



Choose Chicago is expanding its social media presence and the partnership team is heading to Twitter as a means of communicating more effectively with our valued partners - and that means you!. Our new @CCPartner Twitter account created expressly for our partners will provide us the ability to share timely and relevant information with you including e-newsletters, partner events, special marketing opportunities, industry news and accolades, upcoming meetings and conventions, and so much more. Twitter is a quick and easy way for us to share important news and updates that we have never gotten to share before.

Head over to www.twitter.com/CCPartner and follow us with your company Twitter handle and your personal Twitter handle!

We look forward to seeing you on Twitter!



Is your property committed to green practices like recycling, water efficiency and alternative energy? Do you train your staff on implementing green practices, or educate your guests?

If so, you may qualify to become a TripAdvisor GreenLeader!

Travelers look for green hotels on TripAdvisor every week, not to mention the countless other venues and attractions that have green, sustainable initiatives. Joining the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program is free, and as a member you'll get special marketing promotions that let travelers know you're green, like a badge on your TripAdvisor page and a TripAdvisor GreenLeaders badge for your website.

There are four TripAdvisor GreenLeader badge levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. If you qualify as a TripAdvisor GreenLeader, TripAdvisor will place a celebratory badge on your property listing. This badge will also appear on search results for hotels in your area. When travelers click on your GreenLeader badge, they'll be able to see the full list of all green practices currently in place at your property.

Badge levels are determined by a property's overall level of participation in environmentally friendly activities. The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program looks at the variety and impact of an accommodation's green practices, both simple and advanced, during the application process. 

The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program connects eco-conscious travelers with environmentally friendly hotels and B&Bs on TripAdvisor.com. The properties accepted into the GreenLeaders program are leading the hospitality industry with their green efforts. More than 7,400 properties in the United States, Canada and Europe participate in the program.

The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program has been developed by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, along with the United Nations Environment Programme and other green industry experts.

Apply for the GreenLeaders Program at green.tripadvisor.com.

For more information, visit www.tripadvisor.com/GreenLeaders or email green@tripadvisor.com


ANNUAL MEETING - Save the Date

Make your plans to attend Choose Chicago's Annual Meeting of Partnership at the historic Chicago Theatre

Thursday, February 5, 2015
The Chicago Theatre
175 N. State Street 

7:30am-8:45am: Networking Reception

8:45am-10:15am: Program 

Official invitation forthcoming



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. Please note that Office Hours will not be held in January 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 hobbs@choosechicago.com or 312-567-8462.



As a valued partner of Choose Chicago, your organization can take advantage of discounts up to 10% for Translations.com's full suite of translation services and technology.

This new language services program allows for translations of:

  • Document translation
  • In-person and remote interpretation
  • Multilingual typesetting and graphics
  • Website and software localization
  • Global multimedia services
  • Multicultural marketing
  • Global legal support services
  • Language management technology

Chicago's goal is to become one of the top 5 most visited U.S. cities by international travelers by 2020. To welcome these visitors, Choose Chicago strongly encourages partners to incorporate foreign language communications to support the organization's global initiatives and help your businesses capture a greater share of the international visitor market.

How to request services

To request an estimate for any of the above services, simply send an email to ChooseChicago@translations.com.

Translation-related inquiries should include the following information:

  • Brief description of content
  • Language(s) for translation (e.g. from French to English)
  • Deadline

Should you have any questions, you can also reach your Translations.com global account manager directly at:

Rebekah Garbutt, Translations.com
+1 561.687.3331



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



David Bowie Is

The Museum of Contemporary Art is bringing in the year's biggest exhibition, David Bowie Is, with the first retrospective of the career of David Bowie, one of the most pioneering and influential performers of all time. More than 400 objects from the David Bowie Archive will be on display, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork, and rare performance material.

Make sure to grab tickets now for this exhibit, the only U.S. stop on the David Bowie Is global tour. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2015. Tickets on sale now! Experience the work and influence of David Bowie, a cultural inspiration and musical vanguard.



Joeffrey Nutcracker

Robert Joffrey's timeless The Nutcracker returns for its seasonal run at the Auditorium Theatre. One of Chicago's favorite holiday traditions brings Tchaikovsky's classic score to life with battling toys, raucous rodents, swirling snowflakes, waltzing flowers and the splendor of the full Joffrey company on stage with more than 100 young dancers from the Chicagoland area.  

Purchase tickets here!


Chicago Ice Skating in Winter

Visit our Chicago Like a Local blog for the Top 10 Reasons to Visit Chicago Before 2015. Many special museum exhibits are closing, classic holiday events are returning, and dining is better than ever.


Facebook - Facebook will start to censor "overly promotional" content from brands. What is "overly promotional" - posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads. 

Instagram - You can now edit your posts! You have the ability to edit location, tag people and edit your caption. 

Twitter - Twitter has released the entire index of public tweets since 2006. You can now use Advanced Search to find any public tweet that has ever gone out. The Advanced Search option is a great way to enter key words to find potential customers you should be engaging with based on their tweets. 





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 next 90 days: 

1/11-1/15, 2015

PCMA Convening Leaders 2015

Chicago, IL

1/26-1/30, 2015  
RCMA 2015
Birmingham, AL
2/05, 2015
Annual Meeting of Partnership Chicago, IL
3/08-3/10, 2015
ASAE Great Ideas Conference 2015
Orlando, FL

Choose Chicago has several upcoming opportunities for our partners to participate in shows and events around the world. Please see the current opportunities list through 2014 and email eventrsvp@choosechicago.com if your organization is interested.

For more information, please contact Lori Adlesick, Director of Special Events, at ladlesick@choosechicago.com.