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:
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.
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.
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!
Social 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: www.socialmediabeast.com!
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 www.socialmediabeast.com!
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.
Please take a few seconds to vote for Concierge Preferred in the following categories (simply check two boxes and submit!):
…and thank you for your continued support!
One of the highlights of Chicago’s golf events is the 2012 Ryder Cup, taking place this coming September on the 25th through the 30th at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois.
Established in 1927, the tournament is a biennial event sponsored by the PGA European Tour and PGA of America and is unique in the fact that it is one of the few golf events that does not award prize money to its participants.
Ryder Cup Celebrated on the Magnificent Mile
Artist LeRoy Neiman—who attended and taught at the School of the Art Institute here in Chicago—is contributing artwork to the Chicago community with his golf ball sculpture in the “Tartan Art on the Avenue” public art exhibit, which celebrates the 39th Ryder Cup golf tournament. The installation will feature distinctive, five-foot golf ball sculptures displayed along the Magnificent Mile and from September 13- October 10.
Local artists affiliated with Columbia College Chicago, the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and the South Shore Arts will have begun designing and painting at least 100 custom golf ball sculptures.
The exhibit benefits the Magnificent Moments campaign, which raises funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and northwest Indiana and the Illinois PGA Foundation.
Planning to attend the Ryder Cup?
This quick guide is meant to help fans arrive smoothly at the tournament.
Parking can sometimes be tricky at large events, but knowing your plan ahead of time always makes things go more smoothly. There will be no parking at or around the Medinah Country Club, however, there will be free public parking at satellite locations around the club with shuttle service to the Ryder Cup.
Public parking locations currently include the Arlington Park Race Track, north of the Country Club, just east of Route 53 on Euclid Avenue, and the DuPage County East Branch Forest Preserve, west off of I-355 on Army Trail Road. An interactive map of the parking locations and information can be accessed here.
Chicago tourism is doing well and has the city on the track to becoming the premier vacation and business destination. Here’s a look, courtesy of Choose Chicago, at where we are in the year.
Year-to-date, Chicago is ahead of last year’s stats in every single category. June brought in a 91.8% hotel occupancy, bringing the yearly percentage up to 70.4% (6.3% above last year). ADR is up 4.7% from last year, at $178.63, and RevPar is up 11.4% at $125.80. These year-to-date changes take Chicago to #2 in occupancy, #4 in RevPar, and #5 in ADR among its competitors.
The sales team at Choose Chicago has confirmed future bookings that are projected to result in 222,983 hotel room nights, 271,750 attendees, and $550.3 million in delegate expenditures for McCormick Place. Non-McCormick Place (self-contained) business is expected to bring in 45,623 room nights, 27,048 attendees, and $40.2 million in expenditures.
Chicago has moved from #3 to #2 on Travel & Leisure Magazine’s 2012 World’s Best readers’ poll. This is the highest Chicago has been ranked during the 17 year life of the poll, and some of Chicago’s hotels also made an impact. Six Chicago hotels ranked in the top 40 on the Top 50 Large City Hotels list, with Waldorf Astoria Chicago ranking #1!
Lollapalooza is coming up this weekend and has Chicago’s hotels at or near 100% occupancy. Check out @ChooseChicago on Twitter or facebook.com/ChooseChicago for updates on the concerts as well as farmers markets, art vendors, sponsor booths, and more. The 54th Annual Air and Water Show will also take place this month, August 18-19, with North Beach as the primary destination for watchers. The free event will feature the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs, and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.
ChooseChicago.com, the city’s official tourism website, is averaging 215,000 hits per month, with over 1.5 million hits since the first of this year. Chicago’s Visitor Information Centers have experienced exciting changes as well, including new imagery, digital touch screens, and tourism ambassadors armed with iPads and placed in areas of the city most frequented by tourists, such as Michigan Ave. and the Cultural Center. These ambassadors have already helped over 6,500 visitors this month!
Tourism is an important industry in Chicago. With the industry booming and exciting changes on the horizon, here’s a mid-year look at what’s happened and what’s coming up.
An agreement between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will strengthen Chicago’s ability to attract new corporate and association convention bookings. This will keep McCormick Place competitive as a meeting and convention destination. Also, Reed Exhibitions will bring two new shows to Chicago—AIBTM (confirmed for June 2013, 2015, and 2017) and Book Expo America (May 2016).
While Chicago hotel occupancy was down almost 3% from this time last year, ADR and RevPAR have both increased since 2011. It is believed that the slight decrease in occupancy was caused by the travelers’ awareness that NATO was in Chicago, compression due to lack of availability during the NRA Show, and a limited time between the Sweets & Snacks Expo and NATO for McCormick Place to sell event space for groups. However, for year-to-date, Chicago’s hotels are ahead of last year in every category.
The 32nd annual Taste of Chicago festival is coming up in a few weeks, with exciting additions and an opening performance by Chicago native Jennifer Hudson. The full entertainment lineup and list of the 36 participating restaurants can be found at www.choosechicago.com. The regional advertising campaign for Chicago has produced impressive results, with choosechicago.com receiving over 200,000 hits a month and 1.2 million visits since Jan. 1, 2012.
Chicago’s international presence will emerge onto markets in Sao Paulo, Tokyo, and the Benelux region beginning July 1st. July 1st also marks the beginning of Choose Chicago’s role as the official tourism organization for Chicago. The Choose Chicago team, along with Mayor Emanuel, has laid out goals to: 1) increase the number of yearly visitors to 50 million by 2020 and 2) make Chicago a top 5 U.S. destination for overseas visitors (it is currently ranked #10).
As Chicago prepares to welcome international guests of the NATO Summit, the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium announced today the decision to close an additional two days to the public on Saturday, May 19 and Monday, May 21.
The United States Secret Service previously announced that the three museums would be closed on Sunday, May 20 due to security restrictions.
Collectively, the institutions strongly support and welcome the Summit and its international delegation to the city as it showcases Chicago’s great offerings to the world. For the clarity and convenience of museum guests, the additional operational adjustments were made with the consideration of each organization’s close proximity to McCormick Place and other designated event areas.
Each institution will be open during normal business hours leading up to the Summit through Friday, May 18 and will reopen to the public on Tuesday, May 22. Regular transportation and parking access will be available.
The Field Museum will be open on Saturday May 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. but will be closed Sunday, May 20 and Monday, May 21. They will reopen on Tuesday, May 22 at 9 a.m.
Visitors who drive can access the Museum Campus by turning east on McFetridge Dr. from Columbus Dr.; parking will be available in the Soldier Field garage (north entrance). Pedestrians can use the public walkway leading to the Museum Campus.