According to a survey conducted by Continental Airport Express, Chicago ranks high as a destination among meeting and convention attendees.
Among the 644 survey participants, 71.4 percent of respondents thought they received “above average” or “extra” value in terms of shopping, food, hotel and other services. Additional findings were:
- More than 79.7 percent of respondents deemed Chicago above average or spotless in its appearance.
- 96.8 percent said Chicagoans were friendly.
- When asked what they liked most about the city, 56.4 percent responded it was the food. Culture was ranked second at 23.4 percent.
- For restaurants, visitors preferred popular steak and seafood houses. Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse was the top choice followed by Morton’s and Shaw’s Crab House.
The participants were surveyed on-site at three shows held at McCormick Place. Two-hundred twelve people were surveyed at the International Home and Housewares show held March 12 – 14; 251 were interviewed at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual meeting, held March 17 – 26; and 181 attendees at BIO 2006, which was held April 9 – 12, were interviewed. The Home and Housewares Show is traditionally held in Chicago, while AAOS and Bio change locations annually.
The three groups drew diverse audiences including representatives from all areas of interior design and furnishings; health and medical industry professionals; and those from the food, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology industries. The groups had several notable differences in responses.
Of the 181 BIO 2006 survey respondents, 36.4 percent visited local cultural institutions. Of those, 66 percent cited the Field Museum as their favorite, followed by the Museum of Science and Industry at 16.6 percent; the Art Institute at 6.9 percent and the Museum of Contemporary Art at 6.9 percent.
In contrast, only 15.9 percent of AAOS and 1.4 percent of Home and Housewares participants attended cultural institutions. Of those who did, 50 percent of AAOS and 100 percent of Home and Housewares visitors cited the Art Institute as the favorite site.
Additionally, BIO 2006 attendees were almost evenly split between “food” and “culture” when asked about what they liked most about the city. Seventy-four percent of Home and Housewares and 69.5 percent of AAOS respondents reported that the cuisine was what they liked most about Chicago.
“The city and its businesses catering to travelers and meeting and convention attendees are apparently doing an excellent job of creating a welcoming and engaging environment,” says John McCarthy, president of Airport Express, which provided ground transportation for attendees at all three shows.
Airport Express transports 75,000 to 90,000 convention attendees to and from the airports every month and also provides shuttle service between hotels and McCormick Place. To accommodate those traveling directly to the airports from McCormick, Airport Express recently began offering baggage check-in with purchase of ground transportation. For a flat fee of $30, passengers using Airport Express can check their bags at the designated area at McCormick. The luggage will be taken to the airline and checked through the final destination for pick-up at the airport baggage claim areas.
Founded in 1853 as the Parmelee Transportation Company, Continental Airport Express currently transports more than one million passengers annually to and from Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports. Its services are offered to and from downtown Chicago, as well as most Chicago neighborhoods and its surrounding suburbs. For more information visit www.airportexpress.com.