Lollapalooza brings a green day for Chicago hotel industry

Grant Park music festival brings in money ahead of business travel season

HVS' Stacey Nadolny (HVS, Getty Images)
HVS' Stacey Nadolny (HVS, Getty Images)

Call it the Lollapalooza Lift: Chicago hotels are drawing support from the city’s biggest music festival.

More than two years into a pandemic that hammered hotel revenue worldwide, bringing some to the brink of foreclosure, the festival is pushing lodgings back into the black, the Chicago Tribune reported. Officials estimate that about 100,000 people will fill Grant Park daily for the four-day festival that ends on Saturday, with headliners including Green Day, Dua Lipa and Metallica, as warm weather and fewer restrictions draw more travelers.

“There is no question this has been a summer on par with 2019, and Lolla[palooza] may put us over the top,” Robert Habeeb, proprietor of the 223-room Sable hotel on Navy Pier, told the outlet. “We are picking up 60 to 70 rooms a day.”

Chicago’s hotels still depend on business travel, however, especially in the fall after the tourist season ends. Given the city’s jump in office vacancies, many worry that will erode visitors from that market.

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Wells Fargo Bank took control of the 610-room JW Marriott Chicago hotel after it was sent to a foreclosure auction this month. The Palmer House Hilton Chicago hotel is also probably heading to the auction block soon after a county judge ruled Thor Equities defaulted on its $333 million mortgage on the property.

“The good news is that things are looking up, and the market is showing strong signs of recovery, and Lolla is typically one of the highest-occupancy weeks of the year,” Stacey Nadolny, the Chicago-based managing director of industrial consultant HVS, told the outlet.

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