The Destination

 Choose Chicago July 2018 

A note from David Whitaker, President & CEO

As we pass the midway point in the year, I wanted to share with you some key benchmarks now that we’ve come to the end of 6 months in 2018.

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As you will see in charts provided below, June was another significant month for Chicago. While hotel performance is a central but not all-encompassing barometer, the results generated by our hotel partners give insight into some key trends that affect our overall hospitality industry.

June 2018 was only the 3rd month ever (any month) to surpass 90% occupancy. The 90.9% occupancy rate recorded makes it the second June in a row (joining the 91% in June of 2017). The only other month on record to surpass 90% occupancy was June 2012. And we all know how many additional hotel rooms have been added since then.

Now through the first six months of the year, Hotel Demand (rooms consumed) is pacing up 6.1%. This is a positive gain on the record-setting growth in Hotel Demand at this same point in time last year where Demand was up 4.3% (Hotel Demand was pacing up 1.1% year to date back in 2016) so it is encouraging to see the sustained positive momentum Chicago is experiencing.

Demand growth continues to be offset by increasing Hotel Supply (hotel room inventory grew 4.1% compared to this point in time last year). Having Demand exceed Supply is helping fuel a 4.7% increase in Revenue Per Available Room thus generating more receipts including critically important local and state taxes that help fuel our economy and support our communities.

The vitally important months of July and August remain and this will be a telling time as there are a number of rather large conventions that will be calling Chicago home in the next couple of months.

Our attention is also never far from continuing to focus on building on our momentum (especially large conventions) in 2019. In the coming months I look forward to sharing with you some of the tactics and results our Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer Marc Anderson and his team have deployed to target and fill in current opportunities in 2019, so keep your eyes open for some important updates.

This month’s newsletter also features some really important and impactful (if not just incredibly fun) upcoming events including the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration (and thanks to Chance The Rapper, perhaps the hottest ticket in town for the concert next week at Northerly Island on July 21). If there is a hotter ticket, it is the upcoming Laver Cup Tennis in September. So again, I encourage you to learn more about these and other major happenings over the balance of the year.

As we wish to do every time we can - thank you for your continued cooperation and support of Choose Chicago, our colleagues and our partners.

– David Whitaker

By the Numbers

Key Performance Indicators

June 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 91.0% 90.9% -0.1%
ADR $267.16 $282.51 5.7%
RevPAR $243.00 $256.70 5.6%
Rooms Supply 1,238,970 1,282,149 3.5%
Room Demand 1,126,926 1,162,191 3.1%
Leisure 639,026 655,641 2.6%
Group 467,311 484,602 3.7%

January-June YTD, 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 70.8% 72.2% 1.9%
ADR $197.36 $202.72 2.7%
RevPAR $139.82 $146.35 4.7%
Rooms Supply 7,390,462 7,694,506 4.1%
Room Demand 5,235,937 5,554,842 6.1%
Leisure 3,452,662 3,585,503 3.6%
Group 1,682,688 1,865,005 10.8%



Since 2016, the Chicago Maritime Museum has worked to bring the city’s historic connection to its waterways to life.


Newsletter - New Partners
The Choose Chicago team visits Aba Restaurant Chicago’s stunning new rooftop.

Choose Chicago’s Client Services, Sales, Marketing, Special Events, Partnership, Cultural Tourism and Global Development teams conducted an all-day Staff FAM (familiarization tour) of some of our new partners, as well as partner organizations that have undergone recent renovations.

New Choose Chicago Partners

Partner Category
Argonne National Laboratory Associations/Organizations
Bowtiebags Gifts/Promotional Products
Chicago Is..., Inc. Destination Management Company
Flight Club Darts Dining: American Contemporary/Special Event Venue
Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce Associations/Organizations
Island Dreams Music Entertainment/Talent/Speakers
Jack Nadel International Gifts/Promotional Products
Leadership Story Lab Entertainment/Talent/Speakers
Shattered Globe Theatre Company Theater & Performing Arts
Sweet Baby Ray's Catering Catering Services
The Dalcy Dining: American/Restaurant Venue
Tuk Tuk Chicago Taxi/Limousine/Shuttle/Car Services & Tours and Attractions
Untouchable Tours - Chicago's Original Gangster Tour Bus Tours

Meeting Professionals


Newsletter - Great Meetings

Choose Chicago and United Airlines are partnering with our hotel community and McCormick Place to introduce this year's Great Meetings promotion, which offers meeting planners a range of incentives for booking with a Choose Chicago representative.

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You may be eligible to receive a great award! Here’s how.

  • Book a new group meeting totaling 250 or more room nights through your Choose Chicago sales representative a
  • Bookings must be a Choose Chicago partner hotel 
  • Must be during a need-time in 2018, 2019, 2020 or 2021* 

Awards (per program booked) include:

  • 25,000 United MileagePlus Award Miles
  • $500 AMEX gift card
  • $500 Lettuce Entertain You gift card

Note: Choose Chicago’s Great Meetings 2018 promotion is in effect from July 1 to December 31, 2018. All contracts must be executed by December 31, 2018.

*To view the terms and conditions for Great Meetings 2018
and applicable program dates please contact your Choose Chicago sales representative or visit

Newsletter - United Meetings


The MPI Chicago-Area Chapter won the RISE Award for Industry Advocate for its Industry Xchange 2017. The chapter partnered with Choose Chicago and eight industry members to execute a Global Meetings Industry Day education and networking event that drew more than 1,000 participants. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel read a proclamation naming April 6, 2017 as Global Meetings Industry Day in Chicago; and AV Chicago, OLC Events, and Freeman XP blogs covered the event. Since it began in 2013, the MPI Chicago-Area Chapter’s Industry Xchange has grown from 200 to 500 registered member participants.

RECENT Major Conventions and Meetings

View List

National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show
May 19 – 22, 2018
EEI: $110,515,837.97
Estimated attendance:  70,000 (final numbers not yet reported)

  • Record exhibit space sold for the 4th year in a row

National Confectioners Association – NCA 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo
May 22 – 24, 2018
EEI: $21,834,453
Estimated attendance:  18,298

  • Exhibit space sold out;  record exhibit space sold
  • Record attendance

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

Internet Retailer 2018 Convention & Exhibition
June 4 – 7, 2018
EEI:  $21,730,779.97
Final attendance: 9,223
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

International Society for Technology in Education – ISTE’s Annual Conference & Expo
June 24 – 27, 2018
EEI:  $38,155,092
Estimated attendance:  18,000

Upcoming Conventions and Meetings

View List

Institute of Food Technologists – IFT 19
July 15 – 18, 2018
EEI: $37,592,327.51
Estimated attendance: 24,000

Alzheimer's Association – 2018 International Conference
July 21 – 26, 2018
EEI: $12,162,338.15
Estimated attendance: 5,000

ASI Show – ASI 2018 Chicago
July 25 – 26, 3018
EEI: $5,851,305
Estimated attendance: 7,000

American Bar Association – ABA Annual Meeting 2018
August 5 – 9, 2018
EEI: $14,192,734.14
Estimated attendance: 6,000

Seventh-Day Adventists – North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists – SKA K-12 Teachers Convention
August 5 – 9, 2018
EEI: $14,868,353
Estimated attendance: 7,000

Academy of Management – 2018 Annual Meeting
August 8 – 10, 2018
EEI: $22,317,091
Estimated attendance: 10,000

American Society of Association Executives – ASAE 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition
August 18 – 21, 2018
EEI: $16,893,471
Estimated attendance: 7,000

Toastmasters International – 87th Annual Convention
August 23 – 26, 2018
EEI: $5,904,599
Estimated attendance: 2,000

AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology – IMTS 2018 Industry & Technology Conference
September 10 – 15, 2018

Cultural Tourism & Visitor Services

Friday Night Flights

  • FNF - more beer
    FNF- beer and logo
  • FNF - Rev stand
    FNF - stand
  • FNF - Beer
    FNF - Beer
  • FNF - Beer exchange
    FNF - beer exchange
  • FNF - crowd
    FNF -crowd
  • FNF - picnic
    FNF - picnic
  • FNF - Beer person
    FNF - beer person
  • FNF - crowd 2
    FNF - crowd 2

Chicago Friday Night Flights kicked off on June 15 with its opening event at Gallagher Way, featuring 28 of Chicago's top breweries. Check out the next event on July 20 at 31st Street Beach!

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Produced by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild and Choose Chicago, Friday Night Flights are held from June to September showcasing neighborhood breweries and celebrating Chicago’s craft beer scene, which has made Chicago a leader among U.S. cities. Chicago’s neighborhoods are home to more than 65 breweries featuring some of the nation’s best award-winning beers, creating a diverse array of styles. 

Each event includes a tasting pass for purchase allowing participants to sample various beers from participating breweries. Local entertainment and food for purchase round out each Chicago Friday Night Flight experience, making each event a true taste of the neighborhood they represent.

Friday, July 20
31st Street Beach
Pier 31 @ 31st Street Beach

Friday, August 3
Ravenswood Corridor
4700 N Ravenswood

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.

Global Development

The Global Development Team Shares Chicago with the World

Newsletter - Global Dev
From left to right: Varuni Sakhalkar (Reach Global Marketing), Arnaldo Altoran (Choose Chicago), Juan Luna (Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile), Amara Koroma (Freehand Chicago).

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Brazil: The Global Development Team attended World Travel Market-Latin America & Visit USA 2018 Brazil Road Show for the first time. This opened the door to the Brazilian market after a few years of inactive presence. Traveling from São Paulo, Rio, and Curitiba, our team was able to promote Chicago through destination trainings. An impressive 404 clients attended in Sao Paulo, 400 in Rio, and 300 in Curitiba. In São Paulo, we met with CVC (the largest Tour Operator in Latin America), with over 1,200 retailers.

Additionally, from May 22-24, the team welcomed 20 Travel Agents from Brazil, in collaboration with United Airlines. This offered the Agents a first-hand experience of Chicago as a leisure destination.

Canada: Freehand Chicago & Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile joined the Global Development team in Toronto and Montreal for Sales Calls. Targeting the Canadian Market, 17 appointments were held, training over 50 Agents. The objective of these calls were to educate and promote the city of Chicago, and allowing local suppliers to sell their products.

Chile: Choose Chicago's Global Development team hosted United Airlines Chile FAM in Chicago from April 26-29. Eight travel agents, from top United Airline Agencies, were educated on Chicago as a tourist destination.

France: The Global Development team hosted Voyageurs Du Monde Great Lakes FAM in Chicago, from May 26-30. The objective of this FAM was to train three agents from Voyageurs Du Monde Team on Chicago's Tourism product. This FAM targeted French consumers and the travel trade

Ireland: From May 11-June 8, Choose Chicago collaborated with Travelbiz Ireland and United Airlines to feature a Facebook campaign and e-blast to 8,000 members of the travel trade. Subscribers to Travelbiz, an Irish travel trade publication, interacted with different social media posts on Chicago in order to enter to win. Specifically, they were asked to post who they would take on a trip to Chicago, tagging another colleague in the trade, or post what they would do in Chicago when they got there. The campaign resulted in 50,000 impressions and 750 shares on Facebook.

Italy: Italian tour operator Rpbintour, featured Chicago in Coop Alleanza magazine, which distributed in 413 supermarkets across Italy. This magazine promo, featured from May 15-30, held a 2.2 million-copy distribution and 4.5 million readership. The unpaid media value for this 2-page spread was over $23,000. Choose Chicago partners, Big Bus & Shoreline Sightseeing were featured in this spread.

Scandinavia: On May 30th, Choose Chicago's Global Development team collaborated with Atlantic-Link in Denmark, featuring six partners in a Scandinavian Travel Trade Newsletter. This e-blast distributed to 7,000 Travel Trade members, with a focus on Chicago happenings. This is the first series of Travel Trade newsletters to the Scandinavian Travel Trade in Finland, Norway, Sweden, & Denmark. This newsletter also featured upcoming special events, such as,the Laver Cup, Special Olympics 50th Anniversary, AVP Gold Series, and the Chicago Marathon.

United Arab Emirates: The Global Development team attended the largest business-to-business trade show for the Middle East Region, Arabian Travel Market, in Dubai. Throughout this tradeshow, the team developed strategic discussion with major regional online travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, and other travel professionals on how they can carry more of Chicago's product and promote tourism to Chicago. 26 appointments were held, focusing on Gulf-Coast countries (Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and India.

USA: Choose Chicago met with nine top accounts & product managers in New York City.

Media Relations


Choose Chicago’s Media Relations team hosted and/or supported more than 85 members of the media on group press tours (4) and individual media visits to Chicago in May 2018. The team traveled to and participated in or hosted five in-market media events (IPW Denver Media Marketplace, IPW Denver VIP Media Reception, Canadian Music Week Toronto, Media Appointments in Vancouver and Calgary, Travel Media Association of Canada 2018 Conference Victoria, B.C.).

The media coverage generated this month resulted in approximately $3 million in media value. A sampling of stories published in May 2018 include:


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

Special Olympics

Chicago is proud to be the birthplace of the Special Olympics, celebrating its 50th anniversary July 17-21 at Soldier Field. 


Volunteers Needed


Choose Chicago, McCormick Place/SMG and the City of Chicago are excited to host the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition.

We are seeking volunteers to assist in welcoming and directing 7,000+ attendees at the airports, hotels, hosted major events, and other activities.


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!