According to the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, Chicago is currently facing a triple danger when it comes to filling hotel rooms: cold weather, tougher COVID mitigations, and criminality in the city.
“Of all our major competitor cities, Chicago ranked dead last in hotel occupancy. It just shows you we’re hurting far more here than really any other city across the U.S,” said Michael Jacobson, President & CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association
Jacobson compares hotel occupancy in Chicago to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, and San Francisco. According to Jacobson, Chicago has been last in hotel occupancy for the previous two weeks when compared to all of those cities. He claims that the situation in Chicago is so bad that certain hotels are currently seeing single-digit occupancy rates.
While the city has never been a popular winter tourist destination, the drop in hotel occupancy isn’t only due to the weather.
Nilesh Pandey, general manager at Hyatt House and Hyatt Place Chicago Medical District, which used to be the old Cook County Hospital, said occupancy rates for the Hyatt establishments are in the double-digits and are higher now when compared to 2020.
“Winter is already slow in Chicago as it is, but Omicron has slowed down and postponed some of our events,” Pandey said.
COVID restrictions are in effect in Chicago, affecting companies and venues such as restaurants, gyms, commercial events, and party venues. Everyone 5 years of age and older will be required to provide proof of vaccination to attend such public locations beginning January 3, 2022.