CHICAGO (WLS) — Tourism across the US and here in Chicago is rebounding, but more than two years after the start of the pandemic, Michael Jacobson, the president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, says business travel is still lagging here in Chicago.
That’s why the leisure traveler is key this summer, and there are thousands of those travelers in town this weekend for Lollapalooza.
“So this is the biggest weekend of the year, every year, Lollapalooza,” Michael Jacobson said. “It brings 400,000 visitors to the city and it’s just a critical weekend for our hotels, especially right now more than business travel while we wait for business trouble to still recover.”
Jacobson said most of their hotels were sold out for Lollapalooza weekend. And while the data isn’t immediately available, he expects hotel occupancy for the weekend to be in the high 80s, low 90 percent range for occupancy.
“Events like Lollapalooza not only do so much for our hotels, but really the broader economy,” Jacobson said.
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Kiana DiStasi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer with the Chicago Loop Alliance, agrees.
“Lollapalooza is always a big economic driver for the Loop,” DiStasi said. “The economic impact of the event is millions.”
Chicago Loop Alliance tracks pedestrian counts and she says each year, Lollapalooza is when they see some of the peak numbers in terms of weekly pedestrian counts on State Street and throughout the Loop.
“We do monthly data reports where we compile metrics on everything pertaining to recovery, pedestrian counts, hotel occupancy, office workers in office and the trend lines are all pointing up,” DiStasi said. “And if you’ve been in the Loop recently, you’re feeling the excitement. Really a lot of that hustle and bustle is back. We’re talking to a lot of our business owners who are meeting 2019 numbers or sometimes exceeding their 2019 numbers in terms of sales and traffic, and so the news is really good in terms of how those things are performing.”
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