The Destination

 Choose Chicago September 2018 

A note from David Whitaker, President & CEO

Hello, Everyone:

As the end of the calendar year rapidly approaches, bringing with it the holiday season, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank so many whose contributions, support, collaboration and leadership helped Choose Chicago advance our mission. In addition, as I like to constantly remind myself- we all have so much to be thankful for. 

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Speaking of year-end, Hotel Demand Growth through 10 months is still tracking up 5.1% year over year. That said, Room Supply continues to increase, now up an additional 3.4%. It is so vitally important to have Demand outpace Supply growth and as a result, (in part), Average Daily Rate is pacing up 5.7% for the year.

In this month’s edition, there are several references to the recent high-impact conventions we have been able to successfully host. Those conventions reflect an encouraging trend: when major conventions call Chicago home, record attendance and or exhibitor participation is now the norm. 

There is an important (dare I say delicious) update on Chicago Restaurant Week as well as news about our next major partnership networking event in December.

Again, thank you to each of you for all you do that helps make Chicago a welcoming home to so many.

– David Whitaker

By the Numbers

Key Performance Indicators

October, 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 83.3% 85.1% 2.1%
ADR $246.19 $270.16 9.7%
RevPAR $205.07 $229.87 12.1%
Room Supply 1,326,335 1,362,332 2.7%
Room Demand 1,104,815 1,159,172 4.9%

January-October YTD, 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 76.1% 77.4% 1.6%
ADR $207.53 $219.03 5.7%
RevPAR $158.01 $169.57 7.4%
Room Supply 12,574,199 13,000,257 3.4%
Room Demand 9,573,722 10,058,571 5.1%

Meetings & Conventions

Chicago Convention Clients Continue To Break Records

Two of the largest conventions held in Chicago in September and October once again broke records:

AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology – IMTS 2018 Industry & Technology Conference
September 10 – 15, 2018
EEI:  $205,910,874
Estimated attendance: 129,000

  • IMTS is held every two years, and is always in Chicago
  • Record-breaking attendance – total registration of 129,415 (previous record: 121,764 registrants)
  • Record 1,424,232 sq. ft. of exhibit space (previous record 1,415,848 sq. ft.) representing 2,123 booths (previous record 1,808 booths)
  • Record 2,563 exhibiting companies. (previous record 2,407 exhibiting companies)

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PMMI The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies – PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2018
October 14 – 17, 2018
Estimated attendance:  45,000

  • Record-breaking exhibit space sold – over 1,250,000,000 sq. ft.
  • Record-breaking number of exhibiting companies – 2,500

The Radiological Society of North America’s Annual Meeting (RSNA 2018) is pacing strong. Over 55,000 attendees are expected at McCormick Place November 25 - 30, 2018 with an estimated economic impact to Chicago of $160,289,390.  RSNA attendees LOVE fine dining and shopping, so be ready for packed restaurants and an increase number of shoppers in your stores.  Welcome back RSNA!

Our Client Services Team travels one year out from a large citywide convention, to promote the following year’s event in Chicago. These Promo Trips generate interest by convention attendees to not only come to our city, but to come early and stay late to enjoy all Chicago has to offer.

Upcoming Promo Trips:

Promo Start Date Promo End Date Location Chicago Dates Show PRN

11/15/2018 Philadelphia, PA 11/20/2019 11/21/2019 Rockwell 2019 Automation Fair® 4,275

Once a citywide convention client chooses Chicago, our Client Services team coordinates the many site visits needed to create a successful event.  We are the liaison for all-things Chicago and our convention clients.

Upcoming Site Visits:

Start Date End Date Group
11/4/2018 11/6/2018 GBTA 2019 Site and Supplier Summit
11/5/2018 11/9/2018 Modern Language Association FINAL Tie-Down Site Visit
11/6/2018 11/8/2018 ASIS - GSX 2019 Exhibitor FAM Trip
11/6/2018 11/9/2018 Star Wars Celebration Site Visit
12/13/2018 12/16/2018 NASS 2019 Site Visit

RSNA 2018 Show Your Badge Deals by Chicago Concierge


Promote Your Business to RSNA! 

Target Audience: Convention attendees, Exhibitors and Vendors for RSNA 2018 at McCormick Place
When: November 24th-30th, 2018
What You Give: Discount or special offer for RSNA badge holders
What You Get: Pre-show promotion through the Chicago Concierge website; on-site promotion at the convention center from our hospitality professionals
Expected Results: A boost in business during RSNA
Participation Cost: FREE (offered exclusively to partners of Choose Chicago) 

Space is limited so sign up today to secure your preferred placement.

Choose Chicago’s newest initiative to actively engage our civic and corporate communities to better enhance our convention client’s experience 


1933 will serve as an attendance building tool and educational resource for conventions and meetings while increasing awareness of Choose Chicago within our community. The goal is to connect and collaborate with Chicago’s civic/corporate communities to ensure a successful meeting/conference for Choose Chicago clients by boosting attendance, recruiting new exhibitors and accessing subject-matter experts to serve as speakers and host city Ambassadors. 

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The name 1933 is an homage to the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. The official title of the 1933 World’s Fair was “A Century of Progress International Exposition.”  The mission of the Fair was very similar to the mission of our current conventions - to demonstrate the significance of scientific and technological products, to illustrate how products were made and how science worked, and to expose new products to the world. It was one of the first official citywide events in Chicago, resulting in over 39 million admissions to the Fair. 

1933 will initially focus on four main pillars including Medical/Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, Technology and Food/Beverage.  For more information or to participate in 1933, contact Rose Horcher, Vice President, Client Services  at 312-567-8463 or

Global Development

Global Development

The Global Development Team traveled to India for Brand USA’s India Travel Mission from September 23-28. This marks the seventh year in a row for this mission and this year hosted the largest ever delegation of 64 delegates from 42 U.S. tourism organizations. The delegation included representatives from tourism boards, hotels, receptive operators, tourist attractions, and other services. Delegates visited Bengaluru, Mumbai, and New Delhi, and received an overwhelming response from the Indian travel trade with more than 830 people in attendance.

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Choose Chicago represented Chicago as a destination, to help educate Indian travel trade professionals on the leisure and MICE incentives the city has to offer. The objective of this mission was to develop business for Chicago’s tourism product among the Indian travel trade. The mission started with a Sunday debriefing on September 23rd.  Monday, September 24, B2B meetings were conducted from 9am – 4pm with Indian travel trade.  During this session, we were able to train Indian tour operator agents, owners, and product managers on Chicago’s available product.  We were also able to uncover demand areas, which we could help the Indian tour operators address to ensure they can carry Chicago’s tourism product more easily after our meeting.

The Global Development team’s aim was to connect them with partners inside Chicago, and assist them in selling Chicago to their clients for leisure as well as MICE group trips. This same type of B2B event was conducted on September 25 in Mumbai, and September 27 in New Delhi.  After the B2B sessions in Mumbai and Delhi, these were followed by a VIP networking event in which we were able to meet with airline executives, tour operator owners, and MICE organizer owners from each respective market.  This included companies like Air India, Etihad Airways, American Airlines, Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings, and many more.  During the series of B2B events, the Global Development Team was able to hold short training presentations and strategy discussions with 200 travel trade industry professionals.  These trade professionals were eager to learn more about what Chicago has to offer their clients in India.

Brand USA’s President and CEO Christopher L. Thompson, said, “We are delighted to announce that visitation by Indian travelers to the United States has been growing consistently year–on–year. With 1.29 million visitors in 2017, India was the 11th highest ranked country by arrival numbers and ranked sixth in terms of visitor spend to the U.S. This sustained rise in tourist arrivals from India has been made possible through a range of focused in-market trade and consumer initiatives by Brand USA and certainly the annual India mission that always has a positive response from our Indian partners each year. Looking ahead, we are confident in continuing the momentum of welcoming more Indian visitors to the USA.”

Sheema Vohra, managing director of Brand USA in India added, “The 2018 Brand USA India mission has been a success, with the engagement in each city generating noteworthy opportunities and opening up avenues for future business with our Indian partners. I’m pleased to share that this year’s tremendous turnout further enhances the USA as one of the most preferred destinations offering a diverse range of immersive experiences. India holds vast potential for increased tourism to the United States of America and we anticipate significant growth in future, in line with our endeavor to effectively promote the destination across the country.”



Below are new partners for the month of October.

  • Accommodations
    Hilton Garden Inn Chicago O'Hare Airport
  • Architectural/Cultural Tours
    Free Chicago Walking Tours
  • Associations/Organizations
    Yelp, Inc
  • Charter Buses
    Signature Transportation Group
  • Conference Center
    House of Hope

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  • Dining – American
    Dutch and Doc's
    Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
    HotChocolate Chicago
    Monnie Burke's
    Point & Feather
    Taste 222
    The Clubhouse Restaurant
  • Dining – American Contemporary
    Crosby's Kitchen
    Fatpour Tap Works
    Juniper Spirits & Oysters
    LH on 21
    Matisse Tavern and Grill
    Pacific Standard Time
    SPACE 519 | The Lunchroom
    The Royal Grocer & CO.
    The Stained Glass
    Tied House
  • Dining – Asian Fusion
    Lost Lake
    Mora Asian Kitchen
  • Dining: BBQ/Ribs
    Carson's Prime Steaks & Famous Barbecue
    Smoke Daddy - Wrigleyville
  • Dining – Bistro
    The Chicago Teachers' Lounge & Eatery
  • Dining – Fast Food
    Astor Hall
  • Dining – French
    Taureaux Tavern
  • Dining – Gastro Tavern/Pub
    Theater on the Lake
  • Dining – German
  • Dining – International Fusion
    Fort Willow
  • Dining – Italian
    Bar Roma
    Francesca's on Chestnut
    Langhe Market
    Locanda Restaurant
    Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar
    Osteria Del Pastiao
    Sapori Antichi bar italiano
    Trattoria Ultimo
    Victory Italian
  • Dining – Japanese/Sushi
    Raisu Japanese Fine Dining
  • Dining – Latin
    Maya Del Sol
  • Dining – Mexican
    Mezcailna Restaurant
    Tuco & Blondie

  • Dining: Seafood
    Di Pescara
    Fisk & Co
    The Front Room

    Dining – Soul Food
    Parson's Chicken and Fish

    Dining – Southern
    Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

    Dining – Spanish Tapas
    Bar Biscay
    Bar Ramone

    Dining – Steakhouse
    About Last Knife (ALK)

    Dining – Wine Bar
    Angelo's Wine Bar

    Entertainment/Talent/Speakers, Children’s Event Programming/Care

    Public Art

    Special Event Venues
    Fisk & Co
    Theater on the Lake

    Taxi/Limo/Shuttle Service
    Globax Limousine


The Bassment

Celebrate the holiday season with industry colleagues at one of Chicago's premier live music cocktail lounges. Enjoy a live band, food and beverage while connecting with fellow partners in this intimate and cozy event space. 

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

4:30pm - 6:30pm

The Bassment
353 W. Hubbard Street (in the alley)
Chicago, IL 60654

$30 per person

Space is limited.


Elevate Your Chicago Restaurant Week Experience!

Stella Pairing Logo

Joe de bière with Stella Artois

Take advantage of this unique sponsor program and pair specific dishes or your overall menu with Stella Artois or Stella Cidre. Stella is also offering consumers who participate in Restaurant Week a mini-chalice to take home (while supplies last/must be 21+). In addition, every Stella purchased in January-February provides one month of clean drinking water to help end the global water crisis.

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Contact Information:

  • Please reach out to your local wholesaler sales rep for additional information and offerings for Restaurant Week programming with Stella Artois  (Lakeshore Beverage or Louis Glunz Beer, Inc.)
  • For tasting notes, pairing recommendations and Stella brand assets, please reach out to Allison Endsley, Local Stella Brand Manager at To support the global water crisis, visit


Calling all superstars! We are currently looking for enthusiastic and dedicated hospitality professionals to be part of the 2019 Choose Chicago Ambassador Program. Ambassadors will have the opportunity to network with peers and Choose Chicago staff and serve Chicago's convention and tradeshow customers through volunteer opportunities.

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*To be considered for the 2019 Task Force, you must be a Partner of Choose Chicago. We will accept a maximum of 2 people per organization

The purpose of the Ambassador Task Force is to make conference and convention attendees, exhibitors and management feel welcomed and appreciated during their visit to Chicago. This program supports the hospitality efforts coordinated by Choose Chicago and enhances Chicago's "We're Glad You're Here! ®" city-wide recognition program. The Ambassador Task Force helps add a personal touch to each customer's Chicago experience by providing face-to-face personal interaction.

Participation will provide Ambassadors with invaluable exposure within the city's hospitality community. Participants will also be able to take advantage of various programs offered by Choose Chicago throughout the year, and participate in networking events with fellow ambassadors.

Currently, the Ambassador Task Force is targeting 2019 shows to service. Each service will last approximately 1 - 2 hours, and Ambassadors are expected to fulfill a minimum of 4 hours of services over the course of the year. During select conventions and trade shows, Ambassadors will provide hospitality services, such as greeting convention attendees with refreshments at McCormick Place. 

The road to stardom... If you are interested in the 2019 Choose Chicago Ambassador Program, please click on the following link to fill out the application.

Chicago Ambassador Program

Please feel free to pass the application on to other colleagues who would also make ideal Ambassadors. Ambassadors will be selected from the various membership categories of Choose Chicago.

A maximum of 2 people per organization will be accepted.

Application deadline is Wednesday, December 19, 2018! 

For Partnership inquiries:
Jordan Engerman
Director, Partnerships
For Ambassador Program inquiries:
Allison Ristau
Client Services Coordinator

Rollin’ On the River: Entertainment Cruises’ new Odyssey Chicago River

Entertainment Cruise’s new Odyssey Chicago River is the latest sign of the Chicago River’s role as one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Media Relations


Choose Chicago’s Media Relations team hosted 45 members of the media on individual media visits to Chicago in August 2018.  The media coverage resulted in approximately $4.8 million in media value. A sampling of stories published in August 2018 included:

Transit Drives Jobs in the Chicago Region

McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions: These Chicago region-based companies employ thousands, drive our region’s economy and cite transit as a key factor in their location and recruitment strategy. Businesses throughout our community benefit from metropolitan Chicago’s transit system.

A new report, released today, captures both the stories and statistics behind transit's vital role in our local economy. With Transit Means Business, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) brings together business leaders, transit leadership and state and local government to advocate for stronger investments in our region’s transit system.


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



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