Apr 11, 2023 - Business

New O'Hare Airport billboards target Chicago convention travelers

Photo of a billboard in an airport

A new billboard at O'Hare airport. Photo: Courtesy of Intersect Illinois

More than 500,000 out-of-town business travelers are expected to pass through O'Hare in the coming months as Chicago's convention season gets underway. And Illinois wants their attention.

What's happening: Intersect Illinois has launched a pair of billboards at the airport to pique travelers' interest in the state's business climate.

  • The billboards, located behind charging stations in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, promote Illinois' success in EV production and the state's food innovation industry.
Photo of a billboard at an airport.
Billboard at O'Hare. Photo: Courtesy of Intersect Illinois

Context: Intersect Illinois was created in 2016 under then-Gov. Bruce Rauner to promote the state's economic development through public/private partnerships.

  • Their campaign "Be in Illinois" was developed to target outside businesses looking to relocate in the Land of Lincoln.

Why it matters: Illinois has lost some high-profile companies in recent years, including headquarters for Caterpillar, Boeing and Tyson Foods.

Zoom in: Illinois is targeting six industries for corporate relocations, which includes transportation, life sciences and agribusiness.

  • The state has had success in recruiting and developing electric vehicle manufacturing.
  • International and national EV businesses have relocated to Libertyville, Joliet and Normal.

By the numbers: Illinois was just named the second-best state for corporate expansion in the U.S. by Site Selection Magazine.

  • Chicago has held the top spot among big cities for the past decade.
  • Illinois has the nation's fifth-largest economy.

Yes, but: Illinois isn't the only state vying for businesses. Kentucky and Indiana are among the states trying to poach companies across state lines.

What they're saying: "The goal is to raise awareness of Illinois’ assets for business," Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals tells Axios.

  • "We're doing this by leveraging one of those unique assets: O'Hare airport."

What's next: Seals says the next round of billboards will focus on technology and life sciences.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that 500,000 out-of-town business travelers are expected to pass through O’Hare Airport over the next several months, not 50,000.


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