Hoteliers gear up for Lollapalooza

Hotel revenue reached record $1.2B through first half of 2023

(cs:User:-xfi-/Public domain/via Wikimedia Commons, Getty)
(cs:User:-xfi-/Public domain/via Wikimedia Commons, Getty)

It’s make-or-break time for many hotel owners in Chicago as the city’s biggest music festival gets underway. 

Lollapalooza, which kicked off Thursday and runs through Sunday night, will pack hotels across the city, and hoteliers aim to capitalize on the event as Chicago’s lodging industry fights to recover from the pandemic, the Chicago Tribune reported

Last year, the festival drew a crowd of roughly 100,000 people each day. While a number of big events occur throughout the year in the Windy City, none are more important for the hotel industry than Lollapalooza, according to Maverick Hotels and Restaurants CEO Robert Habeeb.

Chicago hotels have finally shown signs of life this year after being stuck in the mud for several years following the pandemic. Increased tourism, an uptick in business conventions and several large events, including concerts from Taylor Swift and Beyonce, have all provided a much needed boost for the city’s hospitality sector this summer.

“Overall, the market in Chicago is back almost to 2019 levels,” Michael Reschke, CEO of the Prime Group and developer of the LaSalle Chicago hotel, told the outlet. “Business travel is not back yet to pre-COVID levels, but leisure travel has made up for it, and Lolla is always a strong weekend.”

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In June, Chicago’s hotel occupancy rate reached 80.4 percent, which was the highest level since pre-Covid days. Hotel revenue through the first half of 2023 was a record high of $1.12 billion. That’s a 24 percent jump from the same period last year, the outlet reported, citing data from Choose Chicago. 

Aside from entertainment spectacles and tourism, conventions or other group meetings are also making a comeback. Business travel is stuck at around 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to Maverick Hotels and Restaurants CEO Robert Habeeb, but the numbers show that it’s moving in the right direction.

Through the first half of this year, room demand totaled 1.56 million, up 28 percent from 2022.

— Quinn Donoghue

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