Chicago is one of the United States' a top ranked tourist destinations, offering something for every visitor from architecture, arts, food, adventure, nightlife, sports, to a thriving tech sector.
The secret ingredient to Chicago's success is how the city works with tourism and hospitality businesses. This network of businesses collaborates to support the brand that is Chicago, attracting more visitors than ever.
In this article, we take a look at two organizations which support tourism and hospitality in Chicago. Through networking, partnership schemes and promotion, they contribute to the Windy City's runaway success.
Why Choose Chicago?
The hub of all these efforts is Choose Chicago: a destination marketing organization which works with local government, airlines, sports authorities, hotels and small businesses. With an inviting website for visitors to the city, Choose Chicago offers partnership opportunities and resources to help local businesses get on the map. Choose Chicago features information dedicated to meeting planners, including an events calendar, a venue search engine, and free web development.
This focus on what makes the city unique offers a blueprint for other cities and travel destinations. Local governments should start working with businesses to create a strong network and sense of shared identity. Instead of trying to reproduce a sterile, uniform experience for travelers, cities should highlight their own history, style, and local spirit. That will make them stand out - and encourage visitors to come back in search of an experience that they can't get anywhere else.
Measuring the future of hospitality
Choose Chicago isn't the only organization which supports events and hospitality in the city. And that's a key element of Chicago's success: the hospitality network is strong because it has several different champions.
One of these is Chicago Planner Magazine, which publishes events, industry insights, and a directory of venues and vendors. Their articles are a mix of business advice and tips for event planners, which encourage Chicago businesses and build a sense of community. During the COVID-19 crisis, Chicago Planner Magazine has also started to offer takeout and catering recommendations, to help small businesses stay afloat.
These are complex and fast-moving times for the hospitality industry. While domestic tourism and business trips continue to rise (Statista), hoteliers face some tough challenges in 2020.
At Venuetown, we've teamed up with Chicago Planner Magazine to survey thousands of their subscribers. We'll be taking a close look at how the Chicago model has helped hospitality, and what people want from the hospitality industry going forward.
Tell us what you think
Do you network with other hospitality businesses in your city? What makes your destination stand out? Tell us your vision for the future of hospitality!