By Jenny Berg Posted January 19, 2009, 5:56 PM EST
CHICAGO Local hotels are hoping to benefit from the inauguration and surrounding Obama-mania this winter. A case in point: the Fairmont Chicago's Presidential Hometown Tour package, which launches tomorrow, The Chicago Tribune reported.
The $8,244 promotion will include two nights in the hotel's newly redesigned presidential suite, a tour of Barack Obama's alleged favorite spots in a chauffeured Bentley, and dinner at Spiaggia, where the first couple were spotted last November. A list of similar promotions—including the Hard Rock Hotel's “Barack and Roll” package, which rings in at a thematic $2009—is available here.
The Tribune posed the inevitable question—will such pricey packages see any takers in the current economy?—to local business analysts. All seemed to agree that the promotions won't do a tremendous amount to boost revenue for Chicago's hospitality industry, which has taken recent hits due to reduced business spending and decreased traffic at O'Hare International Airport.
Brian D. Flanagan, president of Property Valuation Advisors, speculated that Chicago's ties to Obama may help increase occupancy rates at local hotels by about one percent this month, as compared to January 2008. But, he added, “it's easy to beat the past January."
Although local restaurants are also offering Obama-themed promotions (we covered a few of them here), Ron Paul, president of food-industry resarch firm Technomic Inc., told The Tribune that he expects Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl to provide a bigger business boost for local eateries than any inauguration-related specials.