Press Release
January 23, 2013

Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago Announce Outstanding Hotel Performance for 2012

Hotel occupancy hits 75 percent, tying record; Hotel tax revenue exceeds $100 million for first time in City's history, up more than $25 million from 2011
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago today announced outstanding hotel performance numbers that show the Mayor's multi-faceted approach to increasing tourism and improving the hotel industry is paying immediate results.

Hotel occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and revenue per available room (RevPAR) all grew for the third straight year. Hotel occupancy, a key measure of the city's success, was up 4.2 percent to 75.2 percent, matching the previous record from 2007. This comes as Chicago's quantity of hotel rooms continues to grow, meaning more beds are filled even as more beds are available. The increase in visitors resulted in hotel tax revenue reaching $100 million, up $25 million from 2011.

“Increasing tourism and business travel to Chicago is a central part of my economic strategy, and I am pleased to report that we are seeing huge increases in all key metrics, demonstrating that our multi-faceted approach is working and that Chicago is a top destination for people around the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I will continue driving toward my goal of 50 million visitors and I will continue to try and foster growth in this crucial industry, which creates jobs and positive economic impact in every single neighborhood in our city.”

ADR increased 5.6 percent last year, to $187.27, from 177.33 in 2011, and RevPAR increased by 10 percent to $140.76; each of these numbers is nearly 95 percent of their previous peak.  Compared to its competitive market set, Chicago ranked third in occupancy growth and sported big gains in leisure and group travel; two key areas of focus in the Mayor's comprehensive tourism strategy. 

Together with Mayor Emanuel, Choose Chicago has implemented aggressive and results-driven initiatives in an effort to elevate Chicago as a premier business and leisure travel destination.  Officially launched on July 1, 2012 with a streamlined organizational structure, Choose Chicago remains focused on attracting out-of-market visitors through advertising campaigns and proactive media relations, elevating the city’s cultural community and capitalizing on the positive response to the important and lasting labor enhancements with new sales initiatives.

“Choose Chicago’s strategic marketing and public relations efforts delivered significant results throughout 2012," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO. "Increased visitation to Chicago delivers immediate value for the city's overall economic development efforts as well as our hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail and cultural attractions. This is welcome news for Chicago’s visitor industry and reconfirms that a well-developed and flawlessly executed marketing and public relations strategy drives increased visitor spending and new tax revenues."

First unveiled in early 2012 as part of Chicago's new brand and marketing strategy, Choose Chicago’s regional advertising campaigns deployed during the winter and summer months delivered more than $325 million in influenced direct visitor spending during the city’s “need periods.” The eight-week winter and 12-week summer campaign, at a cost of $2 million collectively, resulted in an overall return on investment of $163 for every $1 invested.  Targeted drive markets included Cincinnati, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. The compelling creative highlighting Chicago's dynamic assets was deployed over multiple mediums including broadcast television and digital advertising that was behaviorally and geographically targeted.  Choose Chicago deployed a proactive media relations effort to gain earned media and a targeted distribution of Chicago's Official Visitors Guide further supported the campaigns.

At the current rate of 43.6 million visitors annually, Chicago's visitor industry is an economic engine directly responsible for 128,000 jobs, $725 million in tax revenue and $12 billion in direct spending. Projected at a rate of 50 million visitors annually, a key goal for the team at Choose Chicago, the direct impact could increase to 155,000-165,000 jobs, $1.2 - $1.3 billion per year in tax revenue and $14.7 billion in direct spending.

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