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Chicago Hotels Report Record Number of Occupied Rooms in July

Skift Take

The milestone is particularly impressive considering recent hotel growth; however, demand is more likely being influenced by the returning economy than Chicago’s ad campaigns.

— Samantha Shankman

Demand for hotel rooms grew by 1.4 percent in July, according to figures released Thursday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s tourism arm, Choose Chicago.

The number reached a record of 1,004,557 room nights, a key gauge of hotel performance measuring the total number of rooms sold.

More hotel rooms were occupied last month despite an additional 300,000 room nights available year-to-date, according to Don Welsh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Choose Chicago.

Welsh credited advertising — specifically 30 second television commercials aimed at promoting Chicago as a destination for summer and winter for the uptick.

The city has spent between approximately $800,000 and $1 million during the winter months and $1.7 million during the summer on TV spots touting Chicago as a regional tourism destination.

“Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Detroit…these regional markets that are a three to five hour drive have responded extremely well,” said Welsh. “It’s driving hundreds of thousands of incremental visitors.”

Welsh said outside research has shown that the city generates $234 for every media dollar spent.

The number of hotel rooms available nightly in Chicago has climbed more than 6.0 percent since July of 2011, according to Choose Chicago officials. The total supply of hotel rooms in the city has risen to 7.8 million from nearly 7.4 million in 2011. The average daily room rate has climbed to $188.97 from $169.98 in 2011.

Welsh said he expects the number of hotel rooms to climb farther in the next three to five years.

“There’s a belief with developers that Chicago is worthy of big investment,” said Welsh. “No city but New York has experienced such growth of new hotel rooms as Chicago has and will.”

(c)2014 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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