The Destination

 Choose Chicago August 2018 

A note from David Whitaker, President & CEO

Hoping this finds you well.

At the end of July, we are encouraged to see the positive experience over the first six months of the year continue. Below is a summary of specific hotel performance (a key barometer) for July and now “year to date” January through July.

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July was another solid month with Hotel Occupancy just north of 85%.  This is an encouraging result for the continued growth and momentum in Hotel Demand, which was up 3.3% for the month.  Rooms Supply growth continues to be a drag on occupancy as it also increased, by 2.8%.  A key ingredient in the month was the really encouraging growth in Group Hotel Demand – up 17.8% - as July simply was an outstanding month of hosting previously won meetings and conventions (and another vivid example of the importance of summer meetings and a key output of Choose Chicago).  Leisure Hotel Demand was again high (representing 68.7% of all hotel rooms consumed).  The strength and volume of growth on the group side obviously displaces some opportunities for growth on the leisure side.
Year-to-Date, Hotel Demand is still pacing quite strong at a 5.5% increase for the year, outpacing the 3.7% increase in Hotel Supply.  The well-documented increase in supply does continue to have a drag on hotel occupancy – up only 1.7% year to date.
August and September are key months as we host some of our most impactful meetings and conventions of the year and look forward to the momentum continuing in the short term.
As always, thank you for your support of and cooperation with Choose Chicago and on behalf of our Visitor and Meetings Industry.

– David Whitaker

By the Numbers

Key Performance Indicators

July 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 84.8% 85.2% -0.7%
ADR $198.54 $223.89 12.8%
RevPAR $168.46 $190.81 13.3%
Rooms Supply 1,279,153 1,315,519 2.8%
Room Demand 1,085,334 1,121,150 3.3%
Leisure 786,051 770,935 -1.9%
Group 278,812 328,539 17.8%

January-July YTD, 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 72.9% 74.1% 1.7%
ADR $197.68 $206.38 4.4%
RevPAR $144.15 $153.01 6.1%
Rooms Supply 8,651,870 8,974,541 3.7%
Room Demand 6,308,957 6,653,741 5.5%
Leisure 4,231,126 4,344,193 2.7%
Group 1,956,996 2,185,350 11.7%

Meeting Professionals

Welcoming the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference

Choose Chicago staffers welcomed the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference to McCormick Place last month (July 21-26). Choose Chicago staff, L-R: Roz Stuttley, Julianne Touhy, Brigid Sullivan, Jewel Spencer, Yvette Jaskiewicz, Kevin Navitskas, Anastasia Straley, Rose Horcher, Cindy Payne, Tamara Jones, Lisa Dixon, Erica Smith, Lyndell Fong-Jones, Morgan Tomaso, Josie Moreno, Marivel Rodriguez, Sara Turkowski, Matt Podor. 

The world’s leading basic science and clinical researchers, next generation investigators and clinicians from more than 70 countries convened in Chicago last month for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2018 International Conference (AAIC). Each year, AAIC attendees share research discoveries that will lead to methods of prevention and treatment, and improvements in diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease.

In honor of the Association’s annual meeting, the Building Owners Management Association worked with Choose Chicago to turn the Chicago skyline purple. Purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement.

Record-Breaking Conventions

Choose Chicago’s Client Services (CS) Team serves as the main liaison between booked convention business and the City. The CS team begins working with clients 12 - 24 months in advance, coordinating and facilitating hotel and venue site visits, promo trips, and more.

June and July 2018 brought a continuation of record-breaking conventions at McCormick Place:

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2018 Record-Breaking Conventions/Events in Chicago – June/July 2019

EEI = Estimated Economic Impact

American Society of Clinical Oncology – 54th Annual ASCO Meeting
June 1 – 5, 2018
EEI: $131,979,532.48
Total attendance: 40,500

  • Sold out exhibit space
  • Record breaking attendance
  • 45% international attendance
  • Record $650,000 raised at ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation Dinner 

June 11 – 13, 2018
EEI: $44,033,734.49

  • Record attendance of over 50,000 – up 5% over 2017
  • 50th Anniversary of NeoCon

Society for Human Resource Management – SHRM 2018 Annual Convention & Exposition
June 17 – 20, 2018
EEI: $53,719,997.92
Estimated attendance: 21,000

  • 70th Anniversary of the Association
  • Record exhibit space sold; 710 exhibitors, exhibit space sold out
  • Record breaking attendance

Case Management Society of America – CMSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo
June 21 – 23, 2018
EEI: $4,415,219.94

  • Record attendance

International Society for Technology in Education – ISTE’s Annual Conference & Expo
June 24 – 27, 2018
EEI: $38,155,092
Estimated attendance: 18,000
Record breaking attendance (25% increase!)
Recording breaking number of exhibitors
Institute of Food Technologists – IFT 19
July 15 – 18, 2018
EEI: $37,592,327.51
Estimated attendance: 24,000

  • IFT is based in Chicago
  • Final numbers not yet reported - they were on pace for record-breaking exhibit space sold

Alzheimer’s Association – 2018 International Conference
July 21 – 26, 2018
EEI: $12,162,338.15
Final attendance: Over 5,900 (anticipated 5,000)

  • Headquartered in Chicago
  • 40% international attendance
  • Record-breaking attendance
  • Record-breaking number of exhibiting companies
  • Record-breaking exhibit space sold

IMTS is right around the corner!

The Choose Chicago Client Services team escorted the IMTS Show Managers around Chicago to film promotional videos for IMTS 2018. Check them out! 



Partner Spotlight - Chicago Union Station


Goodbye Hard Rock, Hello St. Jane Hotel

St. Jane
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, joins Aparium Hotel Group’s Kevin Robinson and Mario Tricoci, Jill Mast and Carrie Meghie of Becker Ventures, Jordan Engerman, Choose Chicago’s Director of Partnerships and others in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony signaling the opening of the newly refurbished and renamed St. Jane Hotel, formerly known as the Hard Rock. The ribbon cutting took place on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

A History of History

Field Museum
Choose Chicago recently visited the Field Museum of Natural History in preparation for a special partner profile video for an upcoming issue of The Destination. The museum is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Angelica Lasala, Field Museum Public Relations coordinator, shared some museum insights with the Choose Chicago team.


Presented by Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way

Hospitality Fest

Join up to 600 industry professionals and meet directly with corporate activity providers, meeting and event venues, corporate entertainment and event service providers. It’s never too early to find ideas for your holiday parties and future events.  Admission includes food, drink, beer and liquor samplings, networking, giveaways and entertainment. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

4:00pm – 6:30pm – Exhibit time
6:30pm to 8:00 pm – Networking reception

Lucky Strike – Chicago
322 E. Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611

For more information, video recaps and to register to attend, visit:

New Choose Chicago Partners

Partner Category
Tastemaker Chicago Associations/Organizations
Nicole Jordan Catering Catering Services
CharterUP Chicago Charter Buses
Convene at 131 S Dearborn Street Conference Facility/Special Event Venue
ERIS Brewery and Cider House Gastro Pub/Craft Brewery
Ladidadi XM Event Management/Production
Live Nation Live Music/Blues/Jazz
BATL | Backyard Axe Throwing League Recreational Sports
Power Tower Inc. Rentals
Tao Restaurant Venue
Game Night Out Teambuilding

Chicago Fringe Festival
Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA)
Porchlight Music Theatre
Sideshow Theatre Company
Teatro Vista

Theatre/Performing Arts

Cultural Tourism & Visitor Services

Friday Night Flights

On FOX32, L-R: FOX32 news anchor Sylvia Perez, Choose Chicago Cultural Tourism Director Jason Lesniewicz, Dave Dahl, Lo Rez Brewing, Pilsen and Danielle D'Alessandro, Executive Director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

Choose Chicago and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild recently joined Fox32 midday news anchor Sylvia Perez for an on-air celebration Chicago Friday Night Flights’ summer series returning for a second season.

Produced by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild and Choose Chicago, the festivals, held from June to August, showcase neighborhood breweries and celebrate Chicago’s craft beer scene, which has made Chicago a leader among U.S. cities. Chicago’s neighborhoods are home to more than 60 breweries featuring some of the nation’s best award-winning beers, creating a diverse array of styles.

The July Friday Nights Flights event at 31st Street Beach was rescheduled to August 24.

In addition to the August 24 event, other “Flights” during the summer will be:

Friday, August 17
West Loop & Loop
1102 W Kinzie 
Friday, September 14
Chicago Riverwalk
Water Plaza & The Jetty (LaSalle – Franklin St)

Visit for locations, dates, and sampling passes.


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Greeter Day

Global Development

The Global Development Team Shares Chicago with the World

Newsletter - Global Dev
Choose Chicago kiosk located at airport in Venice, Italy

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Canada: Choose Chicago’s Global Development team traveled to Vancouver from June 25-28, with the Godfrey Hotel Chicago, to conduct Sales Calls. With over 50 agents trained and 14 appointments held, the agency trainings and one-on-one appointments provided a Chicago destination update and helped engage Choose Chicago partners with the Canadian Market.

The Global Development team contributed a welcome gift and Chicago Official Visitors Guides for the first flight from Calgary in support of American Airlines new flight launch to O'Hare International Airport. At the gate, they had Chicago-style hot dogs to get flyers excited on Chicago as a destination.
China: On June 14th, the team hosted in-house trainings & Travel Trade updates, using Chicago travel resources, to educate Chongqing Travel Trade during our Sales Mission. Partners in participation included: Chongqing Grand China Express, Chongqing Golden Holiday, & Chongqing CYTS.
From June 20-21, we met with eight key decision-makers from Shanghai Travel Trade to provide an update on Chicago tour information and resources to develop new tour packages. 
Finland: Atlantic Link CEO, Karin Gert Nielson, represented Choose Chicago at Discover America Finland in Helsinki. The Workshop and event focused on presentations, competitions, and networking. Apart from a Chicago presentation at the event, Karin also had the opportunity to inform the 100  Travel Trade agents about news from Chicago, flight routes, and lesser-known facts about Chicago.
Germany: To coincide with an in-depth travel feature on Illinois in the highly regarded magazine America Journal targeted to the German market, Choose Chicago advertised the destination in language on one full page.
Italy: Choose Chicago partnered with Visit USA in Italy, to host a Webinar for Italian Travel Trade on May 8th. We also collaborated with Konrad travel to highlight their Chicago to San Francisco Amtrak Zephyr route. The purpose of this webinar was to train the registered Product Managers and Travel Agents on Chicago’s available tourism product. This webinar resulted in 178 Italian Travel Trade Professionals educated on Chicago as a leisure destination.
The Global Development team and 17 Choose Chicago partners welcomed seven Italian Travel Trade Professionals (Eden, Press Tours, Hotelplan, Alidays, Alpitour, Cividin, and Globe Travel) to Chicago to experience our city first-hand. The objective of this FAM was to promote the new direct flight from Chicago to Venice and educate the Italian Travel Trade on Chicago’s Tourism Product. Choose Chicago is working with Master Consulting and Visit USA Italy to conduct a follow up post-FAM, to ensure Chicago’s product coverage with the attending tour operators is carried out.
Expanding on our efforts in Venice, Venice Airport sponsored and staffed a kiosk featuring Chicago for two weeks, to promote American Airlines new daily flight into O’Hare. Choose Chicago provided the graphic for a backdrop banner placed in the international terminal, as well as Italian language Chicago maps for distribution.
Additionally, the team attended a Trade & Media event in Venice to promote the new American Airlines non-stop flight launch from Venice to Chicago. Choose Chicago was able to highlight Chicago through a destination presentation to 80 clients.

The Global Development team also had a presence in Rome for an American Airlines Travel Event at Leonardo da Vinci Airport on June 12th. During this event, the team networked with 70 Italian Media & Travel Trade to educate them about Chicago’s direct flight service to Italy, and promote Chicago as a Tourism Destination.
Japan: In collaboration with Illinois Office of Tourism, Choose Chicago hosted a Japanese Travel Trade FAM in Chicago. The agents were from Web Travel, Travel Gallery, Travel Factory, & Club Tourism. This FAM familiarized key Travel Trade professionals from Japan on Chicago as a tourist destination.
Mexico: The Global Development team traveled to Mexico City, Guadalajara, & Monterrey for a Sales Mission in Mexico, to focus on the Mexican Travel Trade Market. We conducted in-house seminars with key clients to give an update on Chicago and enhance our partnership. We trained over 250 agents throughout this mission.
United Arab Emirates: In collaboration with Aviareps Tourism, Choose Chicago hosted six webinars for Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. The purpose of this webinar was to train Product Managers and Travel Agents on the leisure products available in Chicago, and why Chicago should be carried as a leisure destination for their clients to book. An impressive 101 agents completed this training.
USA: Attended James Beard Client event in New York City to thank eight top clients and provide them with an update on what’s new in Chicago. These clients are NYC based Receptive Operators & airlines.

Media Relations


Choose Chicago’s Media Relations team hosted and/or supported more than 60 members of the media on individual media visits and group press tours to Chicago in June 2018. The team traveled to, hosted and/or were represented at six in-market media events (Toronto, New York, Paris, London, Venice) in June. 

The media coverage generated this month resulted in approximately $4.5 million in media value. A sampling of stories published in June 2018 include:

Chicago Sports Commission

Laver Cup Is Almost Here

The Ryder Cup of Tennis Makes World Debut September 21-23

Laver Cup

Tennis fans, the Laver Cup will be here before you know it! For the first edition held outside of Europe, Team World is looking to use their home court advantage at the United Center. Just this past week it was announced Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, World No.8 John Isner and Argentine star Diego Schwartzman will join Aussie Nick Kyrgios and Juan Martin Del Potro on the Team World side. With one final captain’s pick left for Team World’s John McEnroe and four more sports to fill for Team Europe, keep an eye on @LaverCup to see who will be competing at the United Center.



​For a complete listing of everything that's happening, see the Choose Chicago Events Calendar

Laver Cup Tickets

Laver Cup

Laver Cup tickets are going fast, and limited single-session tickets are on sale today!


Follow @lavercup on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!