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Tilt into a New Chicago View

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by

The construction is done, the dust has settled, and 360 Chicago (formerly the John Hancock Observatory) has created a new way to view Chicago while raising the visitors’ heart rate at the same time.

Tilt! is a new architectural achievement from Thornton Tomasetti, Cupples, Turner Special Projects, Gensler, and Montparnasse 56 Group, the owner of 360 Chicago. Visitors will be 1000 feet above Chicago’s streets when the windows, reinforced with glass and steel, will slowly tilt out giving those who dare an adventurous and new view of the city. Tilt! safely holds eight viewers at a time.

The Montparnasse 56 Group own and operate the panoramic terrace of the Montparnasse Tower in Paris, the Berlin TV Tower, and the Crocodile Zoo and Nature Preserve in the south of France. They acquired the former John Hancock Observatory in 2012 and redesigned the space attempting to give it a nature feel with blue and green hues and adding Tilt!.

Tickets to 360 Chicago are $18 and to experience Tilt! it is an extra $5. For more information visit

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NCA – Chicago Chapter Appoints 2014 Board of Directors

Posted on February 24th, 2014 by

NCA Chicago Chapter - Concierge AssociationThe National Concierge Association – Chicago Chapter appointed its Board of Directors for 2014. An international non-profit network dedicated to supporting concierges and affiliated partners in the job of providing a high level of service across the globe, the NCA provides a support structure staffed by leading experts on concierge service.

At their January membership meeting, NCA – Chicago Chapter members voted and appointed the following individuals to serve on the Board of Directors:

Sheryl Novak, President
Sheryl is President of Concierge & Event Services Worldwide, has been President of the Chicago Chapter since 2006, and has been an active member of the NCA-Chicago Chapter since 2003. She has been a member of the Concierge Community in the hotel and corporate sector since 1989. Sheryl was inducted into the Concierge Hall of Fame in 2011.

Joyce Fong, Vice President
Joyce is the Director of Concierge Relations & Service for Concierge Preferred. Joyce has served as Director of Membership since 2003 and Executive Director of Administration in 2008. Joyce received the NCA Concierge Outstanding Service Award four times, most recently in 2011.

Nancy Caldwell, Director of Administration
Nancy was a Civic Concierge with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs/Office of tourism. After retiring in 2010, she opened her own concierge service, “Calling on Caldwell.” She has served as the Director of Administration for the NCA’s Chicago Chapter for more than 10 years.

Penny Hughes, Director of Finance
Penny has been with the NCA since 2004 and served as Director of Finance since 2006. Penny was the recipient of the Donald J. Deporter Lifetime Achievement award in 2010.

Audrey Riggen, Director of Membership
Audrey has been a concierge with The Merchandise Mart Properties since 2001 and a member of the NCA-Chicago Chapter since 2006. Audrey is also a Certified Concierge.

Marcella Doyle, Director of Marketing
Marcella has been a concierge in the residential market since 2009 and has been a member of the NCA since 2010. This is Marcella’s third year as Director of Marketing and became a certified concierge in 2013.

Dave Irvin, Co-Parliamentarian
Dave is a concierge with Concierge & Event Services Worldwide. He has been in the position of Parliamentarian for several years. He has been with the NCA since 1999 and became a NCA Certified Concierge in 2013.

Alyson Arnold, Co-Parliamentarian
Alyson is the concierge at 132 East Delaware Place Condominium Association and has been a member of the NCA Chicago Chapter since 2002 and this is her second term as Co-Parliamentarian. She has been instrumental in raising funds for pancreatic cancer research in the Chicago market.

John Drabik, Affiliate Liaison
John is Business Development Director for Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants & Events who have been Affiliate Members of the NCA Chicago Chapter since 2005. This is John’s second term as Affiliate Liaison.

Judy Sunvold, Associate Liaison
Judy is Manager, Conference Services at Loyola University Chicago. She has been an associate member of the NCA Chicago Chapter for two years.

About the National Concierge Association

The National Concierge Association was established in Dallas, Texas in 1998 out of a need by a group of concierge professionals to create a format for networking on a local, national and international basis with other concierges and venues of all types. Their founding principle is to provide unlimited and unparalleled networking and educational opportunities both concierge and affiliated businesses as well as to promote the industry worldwide.

The NCA has members worldwide representing the corporate, hotel, retail and entertainment, academic, civic, medical, residential and privately owned sectors of the hospitality industry. It is recognized by top media sources, such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as today’s leading experts on concierge service.

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It will be ‘business as usual’ during Navy Pier renovation

Posted on September 25th, 2013 by

It will be business as usual throughout the renovation of Navy Pier for all who want to enjoy the Pier’s popular mix of entertainment, food and retail. Construction crews this week begin transforming the Chicago landmark into a bolder, greener, more contemporary urban space, following a design that grew out of the Centennial Vision planning framework adopted by Navy Pier Inc. in 2011.

Phase I of the redevelopment will occur in stages over the next 20 months. The two primary construction periods will occur between September 2013 and Memorial Day 2014, then again between Labor Day 2014 and Memorial Day 2015. Limited construction activity may take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2014, but will be planned in a way that minimizes the impact on Pier operations during the summer.

Phase I projects include transformation of South Dock into a more engaging, greener space with new paved surfaces, more seating and additional social areas; conversion of the South Arcade indoor walkway into a Chicago-themed food experience; and creation of a lighted water fountain/ice skating rink in Gateway Park.

During the renovation numerous events and activities that Chicagoland has come to expect from the largest tourist destination in the Midwest will continue to take place this fall and winter of 2013-2014.

Among other events and activities scheduled over the next few months:


  • Midwest MBA Career Fair  (September 27)
  • NACAC College Fair (September 28)
  • Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo (Oct. 1-2)
  • The Fear Haunted House at Navy Pier (Oct.10 – 31)
  • Chicago Chocolate Festival (Oct. 18-22)
  • Men’s Health Urbanathalon (Oct. 19)
  • SOFA Chicago (Nov.1 – Nov. 3)
  • Chicago Toy & Game Fair (Nov. 23-24)
  • Santa’s Arrival/GNMAA Lights Festival & Fireworks (Nov. 23)
  • Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier, presented by Bank of America (Dec.6-Jan. 12)
  • New Year’s Eve Family Bash (Dec. 31)

People attending these and other events or visiting the Pier’s attractions or food and retail vendors will be able to walk along South Dock at all times during the renovation.

Phase I construction will be managed by Madison Evans Construction Group LLC, a joint venture of two local firms selected following a competitive process. Madison Evans provided the most cost effective proposal and a commitment to exceed the already high bar NPI had set for involvement of businesses owned by minorities and women.

The redevelopment may also include a new hotel and entertainment district near the Pier’s east end, which would expand the Pier’s audience with more adult, nighttime and year-round visitors.


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Art Institute ranked #1 Museum in the U.S.

Posted on July 2nd, 2013 by

The Art Institute of Chicago

More to celebrate? Indeed! Hardly a week after the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Win, the Art Institute of Chicago has just been voted the #1 museum in the United States and also #3 in the world in Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice 2013 Awards. Numbers 1 and 2 were the State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace (St. Petersburg, Russia) and the National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City, Mexico).

Established in 1879, the Art Institute is a museum that is so connected with Chicago that its awards cannot help but be cherished by city dwellers. Past visitors of the Art Institute can now rejoice over their belief that these acknowledgements were a long time coming. Anyone who has been to the exhibits before knows of its prized collection and overall professional presentation. The Art Institute of Chicago is an educational foundation for the city and has been living its new-found titles since its inception.

These accolades are yet another global mention that make the case for Chicago as a city that everyone can enjoy. If you are in town for the coming weekends, do not skip out on an institution that continues to be decorated for is exceptional experiences. The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 S. Michigan Ave.

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Overnight Visitors to Set All-Time Record in Coming Year

Posted on June 11th, 2013 by

Crain’s Chicago Businesses reported yesterday that the number of overnight visitors to Chicago is within 50,000 of the all-time record and is projected to “blow away” the previous record this year.

The figures, released yesterday by Choose Chicago, state that 46.2 million visitors stayed overnight in Chicago in 2012—which is 6.1 percent up from 2011 and just shy of the 46.3 million record set in 2007.

According to Don Welsh, Choose Chicago’s president and CEO, certain categories of travel are already at record levels including the leisure segment which leaped up 10.2 percent to just under 18 million. The old record was 15.5 million in 2006.

Data so far shows that international travel grew just 3.2 percent but that those numbers are expected to grow since Choose Chicago, the city’s convention and tourism entity, is launching massive marketing campaigns this summer in both Toronto and London.

On the hotel-side, this growth has made a big impact on the city’s bottom line as well with hotel tax last year bringing in $100.8 million ($26.1 million over 2011 results).

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National Travel & Tourism Week is here!

Posted on May 7th, 2013 by

National Travel & Tourism Week is here!

Since 1984, it has been held the first full week of May and serves as a reminder of what a powerful force travel is—not only for the tourist—but the city they’re visiting. In Chicago, here’s a quick look at the state of the visitor industry.

According to Choose Chicago’s May 2013 Report, the upward trend of strong hotel performance results continues. In the month of March, hotel occupancy hit a record high of 73.4 percent, exceeding the former peak of 73.2 percent—which was set back in March 2006.

May also sees the return of major conventions! Three of Chicago’s long-standing shows are returning, including:


  • NRA Show 2013 (May 18-21): Expected 61,000 attendees and $102.9 million in estimated direct expenditures
  • Sweet & Snacks Expo® (May 21-23):  Expected 18,000 attendees and $25.4 million in estimated direct expenditures
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (May 31- June 4): Expected 31,250 attendees and $71 million in estimated direct expenditures

Just Announced: The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will play host to the inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival. Set to take place in October 2014, this new event will culminate with a grand spectacle downtown that will illuminate the Chicago River. Local theater group Redmoon will present public art, music and acrobatic performances—all of which will celebrate the diversity of our city’s neighborhoods and Chicago’s spirit of renewal.

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Art Institute to Offer Valet Service

Posted on February 13th, 2013 by

Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing

Visitors to the Art Institute of Chicago will soon have a new parking option with the introduction of valet service on Friday, February 15, 2013.

Guests will be able to expedite their visit to the museum by dropping off their cars at the Modern Wing entrance (159 E. Monroe St.). The $20, cash-only service will be available every day from 10:30 a.m, when the museum doors open, until 30 minutes after closing.

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It’s time to get Facebook and Twitter buzzing about Concierge Day in Chicago!

Posted on January 4th, 2013 by

By official proclamation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the City of Chicago will celebrate its third annual “Concierge Day in Chicago” on January 31, 2013.

The official proclamation is pasted below — feel free to right click on it, save as and upload to Facebook! Make sure to tag Concierge Preferred in the post, too!

To help spread the word, Concierge Preferred developed the following ways in which you can promote YOUR DAY!

- Visit Concierge Preferred’s Facebook Page and use the official “Happy Concierge Day Chicago” logo (also above) as your Facebook profile picture leading up to January 31, 2013 or “Concierge Day in Chicago”

- Post a picture of yourself with concierge colleagues and make sure to tag Concierge Preferred in the post so we can feature it on our Facebook page!

- Post your favorite concierge tip or give a shout out to a particular concierge on Concierge Preferred’s wall

- On January 31 write “Happy Concierge Day in Chicago” as your Facebook Status Update

- Use the hashtag #conciergeday in all related tweets promoting “Concierge Day in Chicago” and make sure to @reply others who are using it as well to help spread the word and show the world that we support our city’s concierge. We’ll be tweeting @CP_Chicago

Let’s get the social media world buzzing about Concierge Day!

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Social Media and Your Business. Start Here.

Posted on November 29th, 2012 by

Social Media BeastSocial media is an established, growing industry and a great way for small- to mid-sized businesses to create a fan base and generate engaging content to tell all the amazing stories that happen every day.

These stories are all around you. And your customers want to hear them.

Social media is not just a one way street either, but a real opportunity to open up channels of communication and create user-generated content in the form of social stories about your business directly from your customer’s mouth – well, finger tips.

The best social media marketers will tell you, the most engaging content on any social media platform is not the messages you put out, but the ones that you get back!

User-generated content can make your life as a business owner or marketing specialist easier; just think of it as testimonials on billboards in front of your potential customers who watch these billboards for an average of 32 hours a month!

This platform will also show a side of your business that too many businesses have been hiding in the dark for far too long—or, in the very least, were unsure of how to capture and display the amazing experiences customers have had with their business or brand.

Enter Social Media Beast.

Social Media Beast offers social media marketing and content creation services for small- to mid-sized businesses. The Beast specializes in all aspects of integrated social marketing including content, advertising and promotional campaigns.

Social Media Beast has recently revealed a newly-revamped website:!

The URL is the same, but the entire website has been overhauled to offer the user a fun, interactive and informative opportunity to learn about what it is that the Beast does for small- to mid-sized businesses across Chicagoland.

Whether your business already has a social presence whose efforts you’re looking to increase or your business has no social media presence at all and you want to team up with the best in the industry – you’ll definitely want to learn more about the Beast and can do so at!

-Sponsored Post

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SBA Business Expo in Schaumburg

Posted on November 13th, 2012 by

On Thursday, Nov. 15, small business leaders will gather at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel for the 2012 Small Business Association Business Expo. This year’s theme, “Connect,” will guide consumers and small business professionals through the wonders of social media and other outlets.

At the SBA Business Expo, small businesses will promote their products and services to thousands of attendees. This is an opportunity for businesses, nonprofits and attendees to network and gain additional exposure. The expo will include private exhibitor networking events, vendor sales on the exhibit floor, and more.

Speakers at this year’s event include Gary Fencik of the 1985 Chicago Bears and David Snyder, publisher of Crain’s Chicago Business. A Q&A session will follow each presentation.

From 5 to 7 p.m. there will be an after-hours networking event featuring complimentary cuisine from area restaurants and an open bar. A $5 donation or non-perishable item for an area food pantry is the only entry fee to this event.

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel is located at 1551 W. Thoreau Dr.

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