I am headed out to Chicago this weekend to speak at a social media industry event. I was curious what is going on in the Chicago area and their recent news about law changes and the McCormick Place Conventions Center. I saw a news item flash across Twitter and tracked down a story on the Meetings Industry Megasite about the latest in the law changes in Chicago. The legislature had passed a law making the convention industry more competitive in Chicago and the Governor let it sit on his desk until he was forced to make a decision. The bill was vetoed and later last week, the legislature voted to overturn the veto. The law was passed and now Chicago is more competitive as a result. I think the economy is making a number of the convention centers and other to take a look at the bottom line and searching ways to be more competitive.
There were many associations that had threatened to move their events from Chicago because the center was not competitive and in response to that they needed to make some changes. Some of the listed changes that were made include:
• Establishes new labor work rules that reduce crew sizes and require less overtime pay.
• Expands exhibitor rights, allowing customers to do their own work, regardless of booth size.
• Appoints a trustee—Reilly—to oversee McCormick Place operations during an 18-month transition period and choose a private manager for the facility.
• Restructures MPEA’s capital debt, which will allow it to further lower costs for customers.
• Allows shows to select outside electrical and foodservice contractors.
• Calls for auditing contracts to ensure savings are passed on to customers.
I think these are some areas that will be looked at by a number of facilities and certainly other convention and visitor bureaus are going to be watching closely at how the new law changes put into place in Chicago are going to change their own proposals. This is also going to help the third party vendors and suppliers to compete in a market where they may have been locked out.