2018 is the good year for travel and tourism industry in Chicago. The tourism level hits a record high in the early months with the record breaking hotel room occupancy.
The hotel room occupancy in the first quarter reached a record-breaking 2.33 million, an increase of 10.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
The official data released by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago President and CEO David Whitaker said that the number of rooms booked by the leisure travelers was up 7.1 percent.
The rooms booked for group travel pegged to events such as meetings and conventions rose 20.5 percent.
The first quarter’s 61.2 percent hotel occupancy rate ties for the highest level recorded — a record set over a decade ago.
The year 2018 appears to be off to a good start for Chicago tourism, which set a record last year with 55.2 million visitors.
Whitaker said that they are encouraged to see the momentum continue as Chicago experiences unparalleled growth, especially in winter visitation. The primary focus of Choose Chicago and their partners is to establish Chicago as a 12-month visitor destination for both vacationers and meetings delegates.
Whitaker noted that Choose Chicago continues to “aggressively” work to attract new meetings and conventions to Chicago, including six the city hosted in the first quarter.
Online travel platform Expedia booking data for leisure rooms was up 14 percent in the first quarter year-over-year. It looks like that trend is set to continue; advance room nights booked on Expedia are shaping up to be 25 percent higher for the summer travel months of June, July and August.
The new hotels continue to pop up across the city. There are six hotels opened in the central business district last year and eight more are scheduled to debut in 2018.