Greater Chicago - A Successful Meetings Destination

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS June 2007 What makes the Windy City great for meetings? With nonstop flights from almost any U.S. destination (and many international ones), Chicago is also an easy drive from heartland cities, so meetings there tend to have higher attendance. And now, with the imminent debut of McCormick Place's West Building - which brings another 470,000 square feet of dedicated space to McCormick's current 2.2 million - and 3,000 more hotel rooms in the pipeline for arrival in the next three years, things look brighter than ever.

Convention Facilities: CHICAGO McCormick Place & Lakeside Center, 2,670,000 sf of dedicated meeting space, with 112 meeting rooms, a 4,249-seat theater, and a 100,000-sf ballroom. Navy Pier, 170,100 sf of dedicated meeting space, with 36 meeting rooms accommodating 2,000
ROSEMONT Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 840,000 sf of dedicated meeting space, with 28 meeting rooms accommodating 4,000 theater-style.
VILLA PARK Odeum Sports & Expo Center, 130,000 sf of dedicated meeting space, with 16 meeting rooms accommodating 4,360 theater-style.
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Average Daily Business Costs*:
Hotel $213.65 F&B $71.52 Car Rental $123.13
For More Info:
Chicago CTB
Lake County CVB
Chicago Southland CVB
Lisle CVB
Laporte County CVB
DuPage CVB
Rosemont CB
Greater Woodfield CVB
*Business Travel News 2007 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News
According to Chicago CTB figures, the McCormick West Building expansion is having a substantial impact on the city's convention business. To date, 67 meetings have been confirmed in the new facility that will offer 470,000 sf of exhibit space and 250,000 sf of meeting space, including a 103,000-sf ballroom. The new bookings will generate an estimated 1.5 million room-nights and $1 billion in expenditures.

Chicago will also see more than 3,000 additional hotel rooms come on line in its downtown business district over the next three years. The 286-room Trump Tower Hotel and the 330-room Renaissance are slated to open in late 2007. The first U.S.-based Shangri-La will open in early 2009 with 200 rooms, and a 250-room Mandarin Oriental will open in mid-2010. - Jeff Waddle

Facilities Update
Downtown First Lady Cruises launched its 2007 season in Apr. The 225-passenger Chicago's First Lady, the 125-passenger Chicago's Fair Lady, and the 100-passenger Chicago's Little Lady can dock at both McCormick Place and Navy Pier through Nov and can accommodate a variety of convention activities, including cocktail cruises, product showcases and introductions, and client events as well as VIP or board
Chicagoland: The Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center opened July 2006 with more than 99,000 sf of dedicated meeting space, including 31 meeting rooms and 30 breakout rooms.
* The Westin Chicago North Shore opened last year, featuring a 14,825-sf ballroom (plus junior ballrooms) and a fully equipped business center.
* In Apr, the $10-million, 27,000-sf Skokie Banquet & Conference Center opened adjacent to the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore. The new, state-of-the-art facility features 15,000 sf of meeting space and a 12,000-sf ballroom.
* The Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center reopened in Apr following a multimillion-dollar renovation that upgraded guest rooms and redesigned the property's 22,000 sf of meeting space that features the penthouse-level Monaco ballroom (accommodates up to 600).
Oak Brook: An extensive $15-million makeover was completed this year at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort.
Itasca The Westin Chicago Northwest opened in Jan, featuring 45,000 sf of meeting space, including 31 meeting rooms with wired and wireless access, an 84-seat auditorium, and a 9,600-sf grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,100 as well as three additional ballrooms accommodating 40-800.
Rosemont: The Hyatt Regency O'Hare reopened in May, following a $60-million renovation that added a conference center and enclosed skywalk access to the 840,000-sf Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The renovation also added to and improved the property's more than 110,000 sf of meeting & event space.
* The InterContinental Chicago O'Hare is expected to open in 2008.
Wood Dale Formerly the Wyndham Garden Hotel, the new Doubletree Hotel Chicago-Wood Dale/Itasca opened in June with 3,000 sf of meeting space.

Groups Should Consider
Groups should consider these recommendations from Successful Meetings Home Team experts*. Top hotels: the Sofitel, the Hotel Monaco, the Renaissance Schaumburg, the Hyatt Regency Chicago on the Riverwalk, the Marriott Oak Brook, the Marriott Hickory Ridge, the Doubletree Oak Brook, and the Marriott Oak Brook Hills. Off-site venues: the Club at Symphony Center; the Stage at Millennium Park; the Lincoln Park Zoo; the Harborside Int'l Golf Center; the Arlington Park Racetrack; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Shedd Aquarium; and the Field Museum.

*Contributors who informed this section include Home Team members Jacquie Brave; Beth Cooper-Zobott; Hima Jain; LaVerne Mathews; Lisa J. Mikita, CMP; Michael O'Connor (GEP); and Michelle Santee Tupps. Contact them at

Night at the Museum
The exhibits may not come to life or chase you around, but meetings and receptions in any of Chicago's renowned museums are guaranteed to be memorable nonetheless.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Field Museum allows up to 10,000 guests to travel through time and across the world. The Stanley Field Hall, which holds 2,500 for a reception, is presided over by Sue, the largest and most complete T-Rex fossil unearthed to date. The staff can organize a "Treasure Trek" to send groups on a tour of the museum.
Functions under the "night sky" are a big hit at the Adler Planetarium, where companies can organize private presentations of the StarRider Theater and SkyTheater sky shows. The facility holds up to 1,000 for a reception.

The Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier will get guests feeling like kids again. After hours, planners can rent the entire museum-which includes a Great Hall, Waterfront Workshop, two floors of exhibits, and Skyline Terrace-for receptions of up to 600.

Whether dining alongside a U-505 submarine or talking to robots, guests will find a unique experience at the Museum of Science & Industry. The museum boasts space for 5,000 delegates in meeting rooms, interactive exhibits, and an outdoor Lagoon Area as well as a talented catering team.

Finally, Shedd Aquarium takes meeting-goers under the sea to dine in the Waters of the World Galleries or sip cocktails by the 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef, where divers are happy to don clothing featuring company logos amid the living, swimming exhibits. The facility accommodates up to 5,000 people and provides on-site catering. - Lori Morris

Readers Recommend
Our subscribers gave Pinnacle Awards to the following:
Chicago CTB
Rosemont CB
Drake Hotel
Fairmont Chicago
Hilton Chicago
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Hyatt Regency
McCormick Place
InterContinental Chicago
Renaissance Chicago
Sheraton Chicago
Hotel & Towers
Harrison Conference Center
at Lake Bluff
University of Chicago,
Gleacher Center

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