Bring your laptop, iPad or smart phone and be prepared to talk social media with Nycole Hampton, Choose Chicago's social media specialist. Learn how to better manage your social media to more effectively engage your customers and grow your business. Nycole is eager to share her knowledge and experience with our partners and help you to:

  • Learn best practices
  • Better manage your brand online
  • Create engaging content
  • Develop fun promotions
  • Generate great buzz and word-of-mouth
  • Drive greater awareness and increased sales
  • Leverage Choose Chicago's social media efforts

Stop in anytime between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29 at the Chicago Cultural Center's 1st Floor Garland Room, to meet with Nycole. 

Don't miss this opportunity to engage with Choose Chicago and other partner organizations in a casual and informal environment.

If you can't make the meet up at the Chicago Cultural Center, social media tips and tricks will now be a regular feature in the partnership newsletter. Each month, we will be providing regular updates with information on how partners can utilize social media to their benefit.

Here is how partners can utilize Choose Chicago's social media to promote upcoming events and exciting news:

Choose Chicago wants to help our partners promote all of the exciting things you have going on via social media and we have come up with an easy process to help you best understand how to do that!

1. Tag @ChooseChicago on tweets so that we can retweet and spread the word.

2. When you have a big event, milestone, item for a giveaway, or general great news you'd like Choose Chicago to consider sharing on social media, email Nycole directly at Send the email at least one week in advance for editorial calendar consideration. In your email please include all details, photos, links and your social media handles and hashtags. Photos are very important!

3. If you'd like live event coverage from our social media channels, contact Nycole with plenty of advance so she can attend if her schedule permits. At the event photos and videos can then be shared from Choose Chicago.

4. There is an opportunity for Nycole to stop by our partners establishments to take photos and Instagram videos to share on social media. For example at a restaurant we can schedule time to come out and get photos or Instagram videos of your chef creating a masterpiece, or a hotel that has unique features.

*Choose Chicago has the right to choose which materials are shared and appropriate for our social media audience.

For more information please contact the Choose Chicago Partnership Department at 312.567.8461 or




You've by now seen people cruising by on those unmistakable light blue bikes around Chicago, later checking out or returning them to the docking stations throughout the city. Divvy bikes have become the most popular and trendiest transportation option in Chicago, letting riders get out in the sun, explore the city, and get in a little exercise.

The Divvy bike sharing system boasts more than 3,000 bikes and 300 stations across the city, offering a convenient and affordable way to get around. Simply walk up to a Divvy station kiosk and purchase a $7 24-hour bike pass using a credit or debit card to begin a trip, giving you unlimited 30-minute trips within that time frame.

Divvy is a great means for residents and visitors to access your business and explore Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods further. Consider Divvy as another means of transportation to your business and include nearby docking stations and other Divvy information on your website, in collateral materials, and other promotional information.

While Divvy bikes are a great new option for visitors to explore the city, Chicago boasts many fantastic guided bike and Segway tours. These hosted tours offer a fun and unique way to learn more about Chicago's rich history, architecture and points of interest including time for some great photo ops along the way.

These tours include #1 Chicago Tours, Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours, Bike and Roll Chicago, Bobby's Bike Hike, City Segway Tours, Segway Experience of Chicago, and WanderBikes Electric Bike Rentals and Sales.

Click here for additional Divvy pricing and annual membership information.



Amy Hartnett

Amy Hartnett is Director of Sales and Marketing at Shoreline Sightseeing, Chicago's largest boat touring company. Shoreline Sightseeing offers architectural tours, classic lake and river tours and water taxi services, as well as special events like brew and wine tasting cruises. 

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Shoreline Sightseeing is in its third generation of family ownership and operation. It began with one vessel giving Lake Michigan boat tours and has since grown to 10 vessels and nine water taxis. 

Hartnett talks about joining Choose Chicago as a partner and how the industry network has benefitted her business.

How would you describe your position with Shoreline?

I am very lucky to have an exciting and diverse job with Shoreline Sightseeing, in my consideration one of the greatest companies in the city. For Shoreline, I work with a team of sales managers, who handle group tours, private charters and tour operator relationships. I also manage the relationships between Shoreline and our media, PR, SEO/SEM and design companies.  My days are really never the same; one day this week started at 5 a.m. with Wayne Newton performing a concert on our boat, and ended with approving the new creative for our upcoming CTA bus wraps and bus shelters.  I am also the only one in the office who can fix the postage machine - the joke is that's my job security. 

What are your current projects?

This year Shoreline Sightseeing is really focused on celebrating our 75th Anniversary in Chicago. To celebrate we have new creative for CTA buses and bus shelters, we are planning the ultimate Throw Back Thursday on July 31st and we just hosted an open house for concierge, meeting planners and industry partners. 

Shoreline Sightseeing

What are some of the goals of your organization?  

Shoreline Sightseeing has a simple goal: to provide entertaining, safe and memorable tours on Chicago's lake and river to locals and visitors alike.  From our Architecture Tours, to Lake Tours to Fireworks Tours and Water Taxis, we want to show off Chicago!

What projects are you most proud of?

Shoreline Sightseeing never stops improving and we never get lazy. I'm really most proud to be a part of a company that works tirelessly to ensure our boats are clean, well maintained and safe. Our crew, from our greeters in their bright orange shirts to our deckhands (also in orange), will always be ready with a smile and the answer to any questions you may have. Our architecture guides are always learning and working to perfect their knowledge of Chicago's great architecture and fascinating history. My job to build group, online and third party ticket sales is made a whole lot easier because I am selling such a great product and great experience.

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

We work with Choose Chicago on many levels. I personally work with the tourism team on FAMs, tradeshows and sales missions. Shoreline has seen an increase in international tourism and in our third party relationships with Tour Operators. We host several FAMs a month set up by Choose Chicago, and this lets tour operators or media experience Shoreline Sightseeing firsthand. 

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

You only get out of any partnership what you put into it. Choose Chicago is a true advocate for Chicago and for its partners. I recently had a meeting with the Choose Chicago public relations department and my representative from MotionPR to talk about partnership strategies. Just paying your dues is not enough, you have to build those relationships. 

Why did you join? What were your expectations?  

Shoreline Sightseeing was a member when I joined the team back in 2002. Our expectations have always been for Choose Chicago to be our advocate in the tourism and hospitality market, to grow the Chicago market on a broad level with marketing and strategic planning and to be a good partner.

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

In recent years, Choose Chicago has certainly exceeded our expectations. We have benefited from the ideas and work of Don Welsh and his team. Shoreline Sightseeing feels Chicago is being represented both on a domestic and international level.

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

Shoreline has benefited the most from the tourism and public relations team efforts. We have strong relationships with these two groups and feel the travel tradeshows, overseas offices, FAMS and sales missions really translate into increased business.

What are one or two concrete examples of how partnering with Choose Chicago has helped you continue to grow your organization?

Shoreline Sightseeing attended IPW this past year in partnership with Choose Chicago. We started the show by volunteering at the airport and host city booths at McCormick Place, and we participated in the show with a booth. We are still contracting with the connections we made at that show. Shoreline Sightseeing tickets are being sold to travelers in Germany, China, France and, of course, the U.S., just from one four-day tradeshow.



Fashion Outlets of Chicago and The Shops at North Bridge recently partnered with Go Airport Express to launch the Chicago Shopping Shuttle, a new transportation service operating daily to and from both Macerich-operated properties.

The round-trip shuttle service provides access to more than 180 stores and dining establishments.

Shops at North Bridge

"Chicago is a world-class destination, and this partnership caters to savvy travelers who are looking for the full Chicago shopping experience - from The Magnificent Mile to Fashion Outlets of Chicago located approximately 40 minutes from downtown," according to Macerich's Assistant Vice President of Tourism Marketing, Kate Birchler.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Go Airport Express operates the shuttle, departing daily from 520 N. Michigan Ave. at The Shops at North Bridge and the bus entrance at Fashion Outlets of Chicago. For $39, the shuttle offers convenient transportation and savings for customers looking for a quick and comfortable way to travel.

Daily schedule is as follows:

  • Roundtrip from The Shops at North Bridge to Fashion Outlets of Chicago:
    9:45 a.m. - depart The Shops at North Bridge
    10:30 a.m. - arrive at Fashion Outlets of Chicago
    2:00 p.m. - depart Fashion Outlets of Chicago
    2:45 p.m. - arrive at The Shops at North Bridge
  • Roundtrip from Fashion Outlets of Chicago to The Shops at North Bridge:
    10:00 a.m. - depart Fashion Outlets of Chicago
    10:45 a.m. - arrive at The Shops at North Bridge
    2:15 p.m. - depart The Shops at North Bridge
    3:00 p.m. - arrive at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Click here to book the shuttle now.

The partnership has proven fruitful, providing customers a hassle-free transportation option between two of Chicago's major shopping centers and allowing The Shops at North Bridge and Fashion Outlets of Chicago to maximize their profits and exposure among dedicated shoppers.

Chicago Shopping Shuttle guests can reserve their seats online at Fashion Outlets of Chicago and The Shops at North Bridge.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago airport shuttle

Fashion Outlets of Chicago also partners with Go Airport Express, operating regular shuttles for shoppers to visit from O'Hare International Airport, as well as downtown hotels. Travelers can also check luggage, print boarding passes and check into departing flights at the shopping center through partner service BAGS Inc., located on the first level.

Visitors can also check out these special offers for some great deals and discounts at participating retailers and restaurants.

The Shops at North Bridge Special Offer: Visitors who show their hotel room key to Concierge Services, located on Level 1 will receive a complimentary Shopping & Dining Visitor Rewards brochure full of discounts and special offers from more than 40 participating retailers and restaurants.
520 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 327-2300

Fashion Outlets of Chicago Special Offer: Visitors who show an international passport at Guest Services located on Level 1 and receive a complimentary Green Savings Card worth over $800 in additional savings and offers at participating stores and restaurants.



We are pleased to report that we are continuing with the upward trajectory for overseas visitation to Chicago. For the second consecutive year, Chicago posted record overseas visitation welcoming 1.378 million visitors in 2013, a gain of 0.7% over 2012 levels. With the inclusion of the official overseas visitor volume, and incorporating Mexico via air only, Chicago's total visitation set a new record high at 48.48 million. This is a 4.2% gain over 2012 total visitation of 46.37 million.  

Equally important is the fact that Chicago retained its market share position as the ninth most popular U.S. city for overseas visitors, and we have narrowed the gap between Chicago and D.C. (ranked #8) to 320,000 visitors.

Based on the 2013 overseas visitor data, China is now Chicago's leading inbound overseas market with 128,000 visitors - a 15.3% increase over 2012. As you know, we have three offices in this region (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou). Chicago is the first U.S. city to have a presence in Guangzhou. China also represents the largest portion of our international budget.

We saw marginal increases out of Brazil, Germany and Ireland; and, unfortunately, significant drop-offs out of the UK (down 18.5 percent to 123,000 visitors) and Japan (down 24.1 percent to 104,000). The Japan decrease is not a surprise as the 2012 visitor data was an extremely unusual spike; however, the decline out of the UK is a surprise and one that we are aggressively working to understand via our in-market team, tour operators and buyers. Once we have acquired all data, we will evaluate what shifts need to happen. We remain very committed to the UK market.

It is important to remember that we are only two years into this competitive field. Chicago had virtually NO tourism marketing overseas before 2011, when it began opening international offices. We now operate 10 global sales and marketing offices.

What is not factored into this data is the powerful impact our investment into IPW 2014 will deliver for the destination. The decision to host IPW was a key strategy to reintroduce the international travel market to Chicago - and as a result, it delivered measurable success. More than 6,200 travel suppliers and buyers from over 70 countries, of which 1,400 were international and domestic travel buyers, attended IPW 2014, the highest since 2001. The delegation from China also set a record with 109 attendees.

Preliminary data from Rockport Analytics indicate we can expect to welcome an additional 950,000 visitors and $1.7 billion in future visitor spending over the next three years.  This is a significant testament to the investment made and a solid indication as to what we can expect from the overseas markets over the next three years.

Click here to view the detailed 2013 visitation report.



Capture the Value: Make the Most of Your Choose Chicago Partnership

Discover the best ways for your organization to leverage Choose Chicago's marketing and sales efforts to grow your business. Meet one-on-one with representatives across Choose Chicago to share information about your products and services and learn more about our initiatives to drive visitation during our informal and energetic networking event.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Standard Club
320 S. Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604

4 - 5 p.m.: Networking with Choose Chicago
5 - 6 p.m.: Reception



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:
  • August 7, 2014
  • September 4, 2014
  • October 2, 2014
  • November 6, 2014
  • December 4, 2014

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.



As a valued partner of Choose Chicago, your organization can take advantage of discounts up to 10% for'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

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 global account manager directly at:

Rebekah Garbutt,
+1 561.687.3331



Kendall College and Choose Chicago have joined together to form an education partnership, offering unique tuition benefits to partners, their employees and family members.

As a Choose Chicago partner, you and your immediate family members are eligible for reduced tuition rates from Kendall College.

Partner benefits include:

  • Tuition reduction for the lifetime of your bachelor's degree program (Kendall enrollment advisors can provide additional details)
    • 20% for the business, culinary arts and hospitality management programs
    • 15% for the early childhood education program
  • A new 10% reduction for Kendall College's Culinary Certificate is also available for Choose members and their employees
  • Kendall College's programs provide the flexibility needed to complete a degree.  Most courses are available onsite at its downtown Chicago location or on-line so that your employees can complete their degrees in a way that is most convenient for them.  Kendall's programs start four times a year, letting your employees match their learning schedule to their life. 
  • Kendall offers an experiential approach to learning and student support services including dedicated enrollment advisors, financial aid consultants and admissions representatives.

Should you need immediate assistance regarding benefit, please contact Grant Murphy, director of field marketing, at 312.752.2262 or


The Rock n' Roll Half Marathon/5K, one of Chicago's most interesting running events featuring live rock bands every mile along the course, takes place on Sunday, July 20.  Choose Chicago has partnered with The Jackson Chance Foundation, an Illinois not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing resources to families with infants in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) at Chicago's Lurie's Children's Hospital. You can learn more about this amazing Foundation here:

If you are interested in participating, you may register for Team Chance today at  If you are not able to participate in the half/5k, there is an option to participate in fundraising only. 

By joining Team Chance you will receive:

  • Discounted registration
  • Chance to earn fundraising prizes
  • Custom & personalized Half & 5K training programs
  • Access to private pre & post Jackson Chance Foundation Race Tent
  • Post-race runners breakfast



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



Jay Pritker Pavilion

Though it's one of the relatively newer additions to Chicago's ever-evolving collection of architectural gems and historical landmarks, Millennium Park has become one of the city's most treasured attractions.

In 2014, Millennium Park celebrates its 10th anniversary, with even more free cultural programs, concerts, tours, exhibitions, festivals and family activities than the usual offerings.

Take a photo in front of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture, lovingly dubbed "The Bean"; spread out a blanket and have a picnic while enjoying a free concert at the award-winning Jay Pritzker Pavilion; or cool off at Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain, shallow reflecting pool bookended by 50-foot towers.

Meanwhile, Millennium Park hosts a number of popular events like the 10-week Grant Park Music Festival or the Summer Film Series, showing free movies Tuesday evenings from late-June through August at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

For the latests news and updates on Millennium Park happenings, visit



The nation's only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind, The Grant Park Music Festival is in its 80th season this year. Each summer, the Festival presents 10 weeks of free classical concerts to all of Chicago at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

The music series kicks off with the Festival's 80th Anniversary Season opener: Tchaikovsky Extravaganza! Join Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra, featuring piano sensation Natasha Paremski, performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Francesca da Rimini, June 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Full schedule for the 2014 season of the Grant Park Music Festival.



Taste of Chicago

Our recipe for a fantastic food festival? Top Chefs and Grammy winners, combined with several thousand tasting servings of Chicago favorite bites.

The quintessential summer event in the city, Taste of Chicago appeals to all the senses. Eat from the best of Chicago's local restaurant scene, watch culinary experts at cooking demos and listen to award-winning artists as they take to the stage. Iconic Buckingham Fountain, dazzling Lake Michigan and the magnificent skyline form the backdrop to the free, five-day event in Grant Park, taking place July 10-14.



Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18-20, is considered one of the most popular and reasonably priced weekends of music in Chicago, featuring both emerging and internationally renowned acts. It's all about positivity and fun so both the musicians and crowd can have a great time! Vendors are also on-site, selling a variety of local goods.

Headliners this year include Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel and Kendrick Lamar.

Three-day passes have sold out, but single day tickets are still available



Look up the word "lollapalooza" and you'll find this definition: an extraordinary thing; an outstanding example. You won't find any other music festival with a more fitting moniker than Lollapalooza, Chicago's grandest stage for music legends from across the globe. Each year in August, some of the top names in alternative, hip hop, punk and pop join more than 100 bands and musicians in Grant Park to bring you one loud, heart-stopping 3-day event.

Don't miss headliners Eminem, OutKast, Kings of Leon, Lorde and Skrillex at Lolla, August 1-3. Three-day and one-day passes are sold out, but tickets can still be purchased through travel packages and platinum passes.



Any Chicago outing in August must include the 56th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show, August 16-17, at North Avenue Beach! Two million people makes this can't-miss spectacle the largest show of its kind in the country. Best of all, admission to the event is free!





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: 


MPIGNY Golf Outing

Long Island, NY


ASAE Annual Meeting 2014

Nashville, TN


Experient E4 Meeting 2014

New Orleans, LA



Chicago, IL


Maritz Annual Meeting 2014

Orlando, FL


CEIR Predict 2014

Chicago, IL



Chicago, IL


Global Greeter Network Annual Meeting 2014

Chicago, IL


JATA 2014

Tokyo, Japan


IMEX America 2014

Las Vegas, NV


World Travel Market

London, UK


Ontario Motorcoach Association Marketplace

Ottawa, Canada

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 if your organization is interested.

For more information, please contact Lori Adlesick, Director of Special Events, at