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McCormick Place Offering New Incentives

McCormick Place

McCormick Place (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – McCormick Place is further sweetening the pot to keep conventions in Chicago.

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McCormick place has cut the price for electricians by 20% and will now allow show managers to bring in outside electricians so that competition might drop rates even more.

Jim Reilly, Trustee of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier, said the convention center now offers free WiFi and $5 off on parking.

The MPEA, also known as McPier, also plans for a second Hyatt Tower at McCormick place with 400 additional rooms for convention goers – rooms Reilly believes will be filled between lower convention prices and a better economy.

In terms of getting shows to come back to McCormick Place that had threatened to leave or had actively left, we’ve booked several shows that had talked about leaving,” Reilly said. “The Manufacturing and Technology Show signed up for another five years, the Housewares Show signed up for another five years. I think we’ll be announcing extended booking of the National Restaurant Association.”

“The two shows that actually left, the Medical Technology Show … and the Plastics Show, we’re in discussions with them. The reaction in the industry to these labor changes has been very gratifying,” he added.

Reilly asserted that Chicago, even in the winter, will be a better long term draw than Orlando or Las Vegas because ultimately, show managers want conventioneers inside buying stuff instead of spending their time and money in casinos or out at the pool.