Hotel Hot Dates

Choose Chicago will be adding Hotel Hot Dates functionality within the Partner Extranet on Monday, September 16.  Hotel Hot Dates will enable Choose Chicago's hotel partners to enter promotional rates offered during specific time periods simply by logging into the Extranet. The Hot Dates information will help Choose Chicago assist our hotel partners in getting the word out to those coming to Chicago during that time. Look for this great new addition by logging on to the Partner Extranet next week.

New Hotel Lead Response System

Choose Chicago is excited to empower our hotel partners with the new lead response system. The new system, set to launch on September 16, will allow hotels to view and respond to all leads, edit responses, and be included on all communications related to the lead simply by logging onto the Partner Extranet. This new system will create an efficient lead management process as it puts the control in the hands of our hotels. An educational session is scheduled for Thursday, September 12.  A GoToWebinar invite was sent to the lead contacts of all hotel partners. 

The webinar will only be conducted once. However, the presentation will be posted on the Extranet.

Webinar registration link:

For questions about this week's webinar, please contact Jordan Engerman, Director of Partnerships at

For questions about Hotel Hot Dates or the New Hotel Lead Generation Tool, please contact Maria Alvarez, Manager of Sales Administration, at


In June 2013, Choose Chicago's Cultural Tourism team initiated Phase 1 of its research to support the development of a cultural tourism strategy for Chicago. A benchmark study surveyed a sample of 4,000 cultural travelers from 10 feeder markets including regional, national and international cities.

The goal of this online survey was to identify feeder markets with the greatest potential for generating new and repeat visitation; develop a comprehensive understanding of how cultural travelers view Chicago's cultural assets relative to other cities; pinpoint the specific cultural activities with the highest potential for motivating cultural travel to Chicago; reveal if any barriers to visiting Chicago for cultural travel exist; and test the potential for arts and culture promotions to impact visitor spending and length of stay.

Concurrent with the benchmark study was also the launch of an asset inventory of Chicago's cultural amenities. In partnership with Civic Consulting Alliance, the objective of this project was to develop an inventory of Chicago's cultural assets to further develop a cultural tourism positioning and promotional strategy that will increase number of visitors, extend length of stays, and encourage repeat visits to Chicago, all of which will result in additional revenue for the city.

Desk research, competitive analysis from 11 markets, online survey of Chicago's cultural institutions and interviews with cultural leaders representing various disciplines were conducted as part of this initial phase. The inventory development provided insight on the scope and strength of Chicago's cultural assets.

The next two phases of this project will focus on determining which visitor segments to target; and developing and testing cultural tourism promotional tactics. These phases are expected to be complete later this fall.

A summary of the preliminary results can be viewed here.


CRW 2014 (January 24 - Thursday, February 6, 2014)

Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 proved to be the most successful Restaurant Week program yet with 286 participating restaurants, 513,000+ diners served and $26.9 million in direct dining spending at Chicago area restaurants! This year, Chicago Restaurant Week has been extended to 14 days, starting on Friday, January 24 - Thursday, February 6, 2014.  Join your fellow dining colleagues and be a part of Chicago Restaurant Week 2014. Click here to register!

First Bites Bash 2014 (January 23)

First Bites Bash is the official kick-off event for Chicago Restaurant Week. More than 50 Chicago Restaurant Week participants will showcase sweet and savory tastings at Union Station's Great Hall. This year's event will take place Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 5:30PM - 8:30PM. Click here to learn more about how your restaurant can get involved in the 3rd annual First Bites Bash.

For questions about Chicago Restaurant Week or First Bites Bash, contact


Thank you to Marc Gordon with the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association and our guest speakers, Michael Deane with Tourico Holidays and Brittany Baldwin with STR for their participation in last month's Hotel Symposium. A special thank you as well to Raymond Vermolen and his staff at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile for providing us with wonderful space and hospitality, and to the team at Howells & Hood for the terrific post-event reception.

If you have any feedback you would like to share on the Hotel Symposium, we welcome your comments and input - this is a forum specifically for our hotel community to deliver important data and information. Please feel free to email Jordan Engerman, Director of Partnerships, at or 312.567.8586 to share your feedback.

Click here to see the presentation


In late August, Choose Chicago's Public Policy team coordinated a meeting and back-of-the-house tour of the DoubleTree Magnificent Mile for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. We discussed many travel related topics with the Congresswoman including the importance of the JOLT Act, which would expand the visa waiver program to US allies and allow for easier entry through customs resulting in increased international visitation.

Congresswoman Schakowsky is also a ranking member of the Commerce Subcommittee that deals with tourism issues including having a say in the renewal of BrandUSA. Established by the Travel Promotion Act, BrandUSA is the nation's first global marketing effort to promote the US as a premier travel destination. BrandUSA has been a great help to Choose Chicago in increasing our international exposure, specifically in Canada and London.

During the back-of-the-house tour the Congresswoman spoke with many employees at the hotel ranging from chefs to hotel engineers in an effort to get a better sense of the immense behind the scenes work that goes into running a hotel. We thank Brigit Radin, Managing Director of the DoubleTree Magnificent Mile and all of the hotel staff for their help in putting this event together.

Thanks to Congresswoman Schakowsky for her continued support of the travel industry and her efforts to bolster a continually growing sector that brought in 46.37 million domestic and international visitors in 2012 and currently supports 128,000 local jobs. This type of support from our public officials is important as we at Choose Chicago endeavor to increase annual visitation to the city to 50 million as well as elevate Chicago to among the top 5 US cities for inbound international travel.

If you would like to receive more information on upcoming events, industry issues and action alerts from the Public Policy team please join our First Responder Partner Advocacy Program, just e-mail us at or fill out our form on the Partner Advocacy section of our website.  You can follow us on Twitter at @CCAdvocacy where we promote Chicago while giving you the quickest and most recent public policy related travel news, statistics and facts.


Your listing is the most powerful tool your organization has for connecting with the millions of visitors annually to Along with a Google Maps tool to easily locate our partners, listings on include contact information, social media links, a personalized description and the opportunity to display videos and photography.

Please take advantage of this invaluable partner benefit by updating your listing regularly.

Follow the simple steps below to upload unlimited images to your online profile:

  • Log into the Partner Extranet
  • Click on the Partners Record tab
  • Scroll down, click on WEB then MEDIA
  • Click "New Logo/Image"
  • In order for your images to appear properly on the web, they need to fit the appropriate size requirements
    • Unlimited images: 660x300 pixels
    • One thumbnail: 105x95 pixels
  • After you upload your images, don't forget to check the boxes to "ADD TO YOUR LISTINGS"
  • Click Save

For questions about how to update your listing, contact and 312-567-8461.


Kendall College is extending a new educational benefit to all Choose Chicago partners. We recently partnered with Kendall College to provide reduced tuition rates for your full-time and part-time employees and their immediate family members to help support their pursuit or completion of a Bachelor's degree. 

Kendall College was chosen as a partner for this education benefit for several reasons:

  • Kendall is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  Kendall has also been ranked by top hotels and restaurants as being the best for preparing students for careers in hospitality management and culinary arts. 
  • Kendall College will extend a 20% tuition reduction on Bachelor's degree programs in Business, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts and a 15% tuition reduction on Bachelor's degree programs in Early Childhood Education. This benefit is not only available to your employees but also to their immediate family members. 
  • 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.

If you have an employee in need of immediate assistance regarding benefit, please feel free to contact Grant Murphy at (312)752-2262 or by e-mail at


BMW Championship - September 9 - 15

There's still time to purchase tickets for the BMW Championship, a PGA Tour event at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, from September 9-15. Players competing include the top golfers in the world, such as Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson. To learn more about the world-class golf taking place in our backyard or to purchase tickets, click here.

Triple Header Chase Weekend - September 13-15

Head to the Chicagoland Speedway for all of your NASCAR action! The Triple Header Chase Weekend will feature the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Dollar General 300 - part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the GEICO 400 - the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. For more information and to purchase tickets please, click here.

University of Illinois "Chicago Homecoming" - September 14

In addition to their traditional on-campus homecoming, the University of Illinois will be hosting a second "Chicago Homecoming" at Soldier Field on September 14 at 5pm. Come witness the Fighting Illini battle the Washington Huskies at Chicago's iconic stadium! To purchase tickets please visit or the University of Illinois ticket office - 1-866-ILLINI-1.

Chicago Football Classic - September 21

On September 21 at 4pm, Morehouse College will play Central State University in the 16th annual Chicago Football Classic. Beyond the game itself there are many ancillary events including a college fair, high school battle of the bands, youth step show and a post-game party. Click here for more information, and to purchase tickets please visit

An Insider's Look into Sports Medicine - September 25

Join us on September 25th at 7:30am at Petterino's for an insider's look into Sports Medicine, the third installment of the Chicago Sports Commission's Business of Sport Speaker Series. Special guest speakers include former Chicago Bear Hunter Hillenmeyer, Mark Kaufman, President and Founder of Athletico Physical Therapy, Chris Nowinski, Co-Founder and President of the Sports Legacy Institute, Dr. Michael Terry of the Blackhawks and Northwestern Athletics and Dennis Viellieu, CEO of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush - the official physicians of the Bulls and the White Sox. For more information or to purchase tickets visit:

For more information about the Chicago Sports Commission and partnership opportunities, click here.


Please join us in welcoming Choose Chicago's newest partners:


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: 

Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) Tourism Forum & Travel Showcase

September 12-15, 2013

Tokyo, Japan

Trade Show Executive Gold Gala & Summit

September 18-20, 2013

Dana Point, CA

 SmartMeetings  September 22-24, 2013  Palm Beach, FL
CDX12  September 24-26, 2013
 Honolulu, HI

Chicago Gourmet

September 27-29, 2013

Chicago, IL

La Cita

September 30-October 3, 2013

Fort Lauderdale, FL


October 5-8, 2013

Las Vegas, NV

Tour America Red Cow Event

October 6, 2013

Dublin, Ireland

IMEX America

October 15-17, 2013

Las Vegas, NV

AMEX INTER[action]

October 18-21, 2013

Phoenix, AZ

 China International Travel Mart  October 24-27, 2013  Kunming, China

Rejuvenate Marketplace

October 28-30, 2013

Daytona Beach, FL

Bienvenue Quebec

October 28-30, 2013

Saguenay, Quebec


October 30, 2013

Los Angeles, CA

ConferenceDirect Industry Insights

October 30, 2013

Seattle, WA

Ontario Motorcoach Association (OMCA) Marketplace

November 2-6, 2013

Toronto, Ontario

World Travel Market (WTM)

November 4-7, 2013

London, UK


November 7-10, 2013

Puerto Allegre, Brazil

Exhibition for the Incentive Business Travel and Meetings (EIBTM)

November 19-21, 2013

Barcelona, Spain


Meeting Professionals Guide

The deadline for inclusion in the next Meeting Professionals Guide (MPG) is September 27. The MPG is an invaluable resource for meeting and event planners, and an important platform for any organization that benefits from business and leisure visitation to Chicago. This publication provides key information on meeting and convention facilities, suppliers and more. The guide is distributed to top meeting planners and it's the exclusive publication used by Choose Chicago's sales and service teams.

Travel Professionals Guide

The deadline for inclusion in the next Travel Professionals Guide (TPG) is October 15. With information about everything from tours and attractions to dining, this annual publication puts your organization in front of powerful tour operators and travel professionals. The guide is distributed via Choose Chicago's 10 international sales and marketing offices, Choose Chicago's trade show database and sales missions.

For more information on advertising opportunities within these guides, please contact Randi Rogers, Miles Media at 312-344-3533, or via email at


Find out how to maximize your Choose Chicago partnership and connect with your industry colleagues!

Choose Chicago is dedicated to bringing you resources and opportunities to drive growth for your business in a way no other organization can. Join us for this upcoming workshop to learn about our current initiatives and opportunities to assist in your marketing outreach. Meet representatives from Choose Chicago and our partner organizations to learn how you can make the most of your partnership.

Thursday, September 19, 2013
3:00pm-4:00pm: Meet & Connect
4:00pm-5:30pm: Meet & Connect + Reception

Kendall College - Skyline Room
900 N. North Branch Street

Featured partners:

• Miles Partnership: Representing Choose Chicago‘s print and digital advertising opportunities

  • Orbitz:'s hotel booking engine
  • Chicago Hotel Concierge Association
  • Kendall College

Attendance is complimentary and limited to 150 attendees and 2 representatives per organization.

Parking Information:
Complimentary self-parking is available at Kendall in the NORTH parking lot ONLY. Please follow Event Parking Signs to the NORTH Parking Lot off of Branch Street.


One Hour Data Download

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Pritzker Military Library
104 S. Michigan Avenue - 2nd Floor 

Help your organization strategize for the year ahead! Please join Choose Chicago's Director of Market Analytics David Czechowski for an in-depth look at Chicago's domestic and international visitor profiles, along with our most recent research findings for business and leisure travel. This one hour presentation will also include an overview of the research and reports available to all Choose Chicago partners on our Partner Extranet, as well as the details on how they can enhance your success.

Registration is not yet available for this event. Please keep an eye on your inbox for an official invite soon.


How would you describe your position with the dana hotel?

My primary role is the Director of Sales and Marketing.

What do you do?

I direct all marketing and public relations for the dana, and I manage all sales staff booking rooms, meeting space, events, etc., for dana, as well as dana's interior outlets, including Freestyle food + drink (restaurant), Vertigo Sky Lounge and spa at dana.

What are your current projects?

Creating and finalizing the 2014 budgets and sales and marketing plans, as well as upcoming promotions for the hotel and each of its outlets. We are currently finalizing Halloween weekend. Last year, we had a Zombie take over, for which Vertigo Sky Lounge won "Event of the Year" at the Night Club and Bar Awards in Las Vegas. We're also participating in the annual Red Bull flugtag event with a team from the hotel!

What are some of the goals of your organization?

Along with increased revenue goals and supporting a successful property, we are using innovative strategies to increase awareness of the hotel and its events, and expose the many options dana has to offer perspective clientele.

We aim to stay in the forefront of potential guests by using our social media platforms to keep the brands front-of-mind and current. We work toward keeping existing market share, while setting our sights on gaining more.

What projects are you most proud of?

The dana hotel and spa is five years old. I started working on this project in 2005 while the hotel was still being designed, and the current status of the hotel and its place in the Chicago business community as a whole are what I'm most proud of.

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

It has greatly benefitted the dana by providing/offering lead distribution, networking events and educational events.

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

Choose Chicago aims to increase tourism to the city of Chicago, which benefits hotel owners and operators, as well as those in the hospitality industry. As a hotel looking to gain exposure in new markets, accommodate new and existing guests, and maintain a favorable reputation among travelers, our membership with Choose Chicago is always top on our marketing plans.

Why did you join?

I wanted to get in front of prospective clients and network with my peers.

What were your expectations?


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

Absolutely, yes.

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

The networking and lead distribution.

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

The direct benefit we've seen is the amount of press coverage for our brands. This has increased word-of-mouth knowledge of who we are and what we offer. We are keenly interested in growing our share of the travel market, and Choose Chicago has the reach and drive to assist us in accomplishing that goal.

For more information about the dana hotel & spa, click here.


Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced earlier this month that Chicago, surpassing all expectations, welcomed a record 1.369 million overseas visitors in 2012, representing an impressive 14.2% gain over the 1.199 million overseas visitors reported in 2011, and moving Chicago into 9th place in overall city rankings according to US Department of Commerce rankings.

"I am proud of this landmark year, which is the result of a comprehensive strategy by the City, Choose Chicago and numerous key stakeholders to reach our goal of rising to the 5th most visited U.S. city by international tourists and attracting 50 million visitors annually," said Mayor Emanuel. "Tourism is a vital, essential part of our economic strategy, and I am determined not to rest on this accomplishment, but to double down on our strategy so that we continue to rise in the rankings year after year and show more of the world all that the most American of American cities has to offer."

With the inclusion of the official overseas visitation volume for 2012, Chicago's total visitation set a new record high in 2012 at 46.37 million, meaning in just two years, the city is 66 percent of the way to closing the gap and realizing Mayor Emanuel's 2020 goal of 50 million visitors. Reaching that goal would increase tax revenues to $1.2 - $1.3 billion per year and nearly $15 billion in direct spending. Even this single rise in the rankings has helped drive the record hotel construction we have seen so far this year, as well as a record hotel occupancy rate of more than 73% - the best since the recession. That hotel occupancy produced more than $1 billion of hotel revenue so far in 2013.

"This incredible performance validates the strategy and investment that have been made in the international marketplace for the past two years," said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. "We have only scratched the surface as a global visitor destination. Working with the right partners in the right countries and collaborating effectively with the Chicago Department of Aviation and our airline partners, we intend to meet Mayor Emanuel's goal in elevating Chicago to among the top five U.S. destinations for overseas travel."

The timing of the news is fortuitous as the city prepares to host IPW in April 2014, the largest annual international marketplace that attracts nearly 6,000 global tour operators and media.

Growth from Asian markets to Chicago (+30%) was particularly strong, twice that of the national average, with strong growth from the South American markets (+18%). These two markets are responsible for more than half a million overseas visitors in 2012. This outsized growth in these two markets reflect the increased marketing that Choose Chicago has placed there, locating new offices and selling Chicago has a top tourism, convention and business destination for these economic zones. 2012 also saw a dramatic 41% increase in visitation from the Mexican market to 142,000, more than four times the national growth rate.


Planning for IPW 2014 is fully underway. U.S. Travel Association's IPW is the visitor industry's largest generator of inbound international travel to the U.S. For three days, this show hosts individual appointments between travel supplier organizations and buyers from around the world. It's also a must-attend media marketplace.

Keep an eye on upcoming editions of Partner News for information about opening and closing events, volunteering opportunities, sponsorships, and more!

For more information, contact Choose Chicago's Assistant Director of Tourism Sales Joleen Haran at


EXPO ART WEEK, which takes place from September 16-22, is a citywide celebration of the arts that's anchored by EXPO Chicago.

Now in its second year, EXPO will once again showcase more than 120 leading international galleries representing 16 different countries and 35 different cities, offering a broad spectrum of modern and contemporary artwork.  Building on the success of the exposition's inaugural year, this year's fair is poised to position Chicago's place as an annual international art fair destination. 

During EXPO ART WEEK, Gallery Weekend Chicago (GWC), returns for its third year. Taking place concurrently with EXPO CHICAGO, participating GWC galleries will invite a select group of national and international contemporary art collectors, curators, and critics to Chicago for a curated weekend of private gallery tours, exclusive museum access, and special reservations at top restaurants.

Choose Chicago is proud to promote EXPO ART WEEK to national and international visitors and encourage them to experience all the great cultural events that are taking place during this time. These events highlight Chicago's emerging arts scene and provides an opportunity to showcase the existing rich cultural offerings in the city.