Jan. 22--Hotel room occupancy inched higher in Chicago last year, but still hit a new record with a slightly bigger slice of rooms filled than the banner pre-recession mark in 2007.
Hotel occupancy was 75.28 percent last year, according to the mayor's office and Choose Chicago, the city's tourism and convention agency. That's just 0.2 percent higher than 2012, but it tops the 2007 record of 75.18 percent.
Hotel room demand rose 2.3 percent from last year, also hitting a record at 9.889 million rooms occupied.
Demand was driven by growth in vacationers' visits, which increased by 5.6 percent from a year earlier. So-called leisure travelers occupied 6.303 million rooms last year, another record for the city. The number of business travelers visiting last year wasn't immediately available.
Along with demand, prices also rose. The average daily rate on a hotel room in the city hit $187.20 for leisure travelers, up 2.7 percent from last year and marking the highest average price in five years.
Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO, in a statement credited stepped-up sales and marketing efforts both in the U.S. and abroad for the increase in vacationers choosing Chicago. He expects that to continue with several new openings this year, including the Virgin Hotel, Soho House and The Godfrey Hotel.