Associations often ask us why they should join us in Chicago. Chicago
is the ideal headquarters site for national and international
associations. Centrally located, Chicagoland encompasses downtown
Chicago — including the famous Loop and Michigan Avenue — and many
suburbs in a six-county area. Associations in Chicago have easy access
to their members, experience savings in travel and operation costs, and
can draw upon a large community of association professionals.
1. Chicago Is Accessible
Chicago is the most accessible city in the country. The
transportation hub of the Midwest, Chicago boasts one of the world's
busiest airport and is located at the intersection of the busiest
interstate highway system. Chicago is the only U.S. city with three
airline hubs, plus numerous commercial, commuter and cargo airlines at
O'Hare alone. Combined, O'Hare, Midway and several small local airfields
serve many commercial, commuter and cargo airlines with hundreds of
daily flights to hundreds of cities. The Chicago area offers more
nonstop flights than any other city.
2. Operating Costs Are Lower in Chicago
Associations in Chicago find that commercial real estate is abundant,
diverse and less expensive than in cities on either coast. In Chicago
there are pooled purchase-power arrangements permitting associations to
save on various association office needs. Because Chicago's office
market is the third largest in North America and Europe, associations
can easily find the space that meets their size and budgetary
requirements. An association renting class A space in Chicago spends
considerably less than for comparable space in Washington, D.C. and New
York. Associations with headquarters in many of Chicago's suburbs
experience even greater cost savings.
Also, at both the executive and staff levels, association wages also
are lower in Chicago. Because most associations attribute a large
percentage of their budget to salaries, the difference in wage scale is a
major benefit for associations in Chicago.
So is geography, as Chicago's central location means lower postal, shipping, telephone and teleconferencing rates, too.
Chicago associations benefit from Illinois' not-for-profit
incorporation act, which features no service taxes and no lease taxes.
3. Chicago Offers Many Vendors and Venues
Supplementing the area's pool of association management professionals
is a large and knowledgeable bank of vendors — including legal,
financial, technology, printing, meetings and insurance professionals —
who specialize in associations. These local industry specialists
understand associations and their needs.
Chicago has just as many venues as it does vendors, which makes it an
ideal location for associations that hold meetings, conventions and
trade shows. Two of the most popular meeting venues are McCormick Place
and Navy Pier. Often called the hub of the convention industry,
McCormick Place has 2.2 million square feet of exhibition space, more
than 100 meeting rooms and assembly seating for more than 10,000.
Navy Pier has more than 170,000 square feet of exhibit space, with
nearly 44,000 square feet of adjacent meeting room space — all of which
is complemented by more than 100 acres of shops, museums and
There also are many meeting options for Chicago associations in the
suburbs, including the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont,
Ill. Situated just five minutes from O'Hare International Airport at
the junction of Chicago's major area expressways, it has 700,000 square
feet of flexible exhibition space and 52,000 square feet of meeting
Hotel rooms in Chicago area are equally abundant. The city of Chicago
alone boasts 30,000 hotel rooms ranging in price from $89 to $500 per
night for a standard room. The area surrounding O'Hare has more than
8,000 rooms available — more than 4,500 of them in Rosemont.