October 28, 2014

Chicago Sees Sixth Consecutive Month Of Tourism Records

Chicago’s September Performance Surpasses National Growth; Growing Chicago Tourism is a Key Initiative of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago today announced the sixth consecutive month for record hotel performance in the City of Chicago. September’s solid performance paved the way for Chicago to surpass national growth across all key performance indicators, including Demand, Occupancy, Supply, Average Daily Rate, Revenue per Available Room and Revenue. A record 1.114 million rooms were available for occupancy during September, reflecting an additional 15,000 room nights for the same period in 2013. Much of the increase can be attributed to the attraction of new and returning meetings and conventions including IMTS, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Graph Expo and the 20th World Routes Development Forum.

“These records are a sign of the continued growth of Chicago’s tourism industry and acknowledgment that our tourism strategy is working – bringing national and international travelers, leisure and business alike to Chicago year-round,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Even as we celebrate these records, we will continue to aim higher to set new records next year as we work to bring 55 million visitors to Chicago annually by 2020, because bringing more conventions and tourism to Chicago means more jobs for residents – over 5,200 new jobs since 2011 - and further supports our City’s economic growth.”

Overall room demand in September reached a record 967,292 rooms sold, a gain of 6.3 percent. Group demand was the catalyst, topping 400,000 rooms in September for the first time ever, at 408,174 room nights, an increase of 18.3 percent. September is among one of Chicago’s busiest month for meetings and conventions. Demand growth, more than four times the growth in supply, translated into a 4.9 percent gain in occupancy, to a record occupancy rate of 86.9 percent.

“Six consecutive months of outstanding hotel performance is yet another indication that Chicago’s visitor industry is poised for continued success,” said Welsh. “Choose Chicago’s strategies and initiatives continue to produce record tourism and convention growth for Chicago.”

Chicago remains one of the fastest growing domestic markets for new hotel development. Through the first nine months of this year, Chicago’s rooms supply has grown 3.7 percent, and is surpassed only by Orlando, FL and New York City.

Average daily rates (ADR) for hotel rooms in September hit a record $234.20, a gain of 10.1 percent. All segments captured some pricing upside with Leisure ADR up 14 percent to a record $239.53, Group ADR up 4.6 percent to a record $232.28, and Contract ADR up 2.7 percent to $114.47. Chicago’s growth in ADR was surpassed only by Boston, Orlando, and New Orleans.

RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) topped $200 in September for the first time in history, reaching $203.44, a gain of 15.4 percent. The strong summer performance continues to influence the City’s year-to-date performance. Year-to-date room demand is now up 3.2 percent to a record 7.66 million room nights and with the last three months responsible for a turnaround in ADR growth from a negative position (-1.1 percent) in the first six months to a positive, 2.0 percent growth and near record level of $195.79. RevPAR is now up 1.4 percent year-to-date to a record $148.17, having reversed a near 4 percent decline in the first six months of 2014.

Last month, Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced that Microsoft Ignite will join the James Beard Foundation Awards and the NFL Draft taking place in Chicago in 2015. In May 2014, Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced Automechanika Chicago, the leading international automotive trade show, will come to McCormick Place April 24 through April 26, 2015. This further supports the 133,000 jobs and more than $13 billion in spending generated as a result of annual visitation to Chicago.