The Southern California city of Ontario will welcome nearly 300 delegates for the 2018 Small Market Meetings Conference, September 23-25. The meetings and events will be staged in the beautiful Ontario Conference Center, conveniently adjacent to the official conference hotel, the DoubleTree By Hilton Ontario Airport, which offers 484 sleeping rooms.
Most delegates will be arriving at the John Wayne Ontario International Airport, described by many as one of the best small airports in the region and located just a few minutes away from the conference. Planners should note that the Greater Ontario area has 60 hotels that include such wide-ranging choices as bed-and-breakfast inns, convention-style hotels and boutique properties, a total of 6,000 guest rooms at many price points.
The Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, which partners and promotes the area with the nearby community of Rancho Cucamonga, is pleased to play host for a few days.
“We talk about Ontario being a gateway; it is all about location, location, location,” said Sue Oxarart, who directs marketing and communications for the bureau. She notes that the city is situated on three major interstates and freeways and that it maintains an Amtrak train station for easy access to local attractions. It’s also a jumping-off point for all of the things people love to do in the wider region. “That is why we say Ontario is the perfect location. It’s easy to come here, stay here, and then you can go on to anywhere else.”
Such iconic California destinations as Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Disneyland and Palm Springs are easy to get to from Ontario. “And it is not really that far to drive in one day to Las Vegas or to the Grand Canyon or to San Diego,” said Oxarart.
From Ontario, visitors can spring off to scenic vistas and activities such as California’s legendary Pacific Ocean, desert landscapes, golf resorts, casinos, wineries, historic sites and great shopping. There are mountains, like Snow Valley, for skiing and snowboarding. Camping and other outdoor activities are popular at mountain stops such as Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear Lake, Silverwood Lake and Lake Gregory, to name a few. Part of historic Route 66 runs north of Ontario, and that draws people to the annual Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion, where classic-car lovers enjoy food, live music, entertainment and, of course, over 2,000 vintage automobiles.
The Southern California coastline seems endless, and the beaches are famous around the world. Millions of people stroll, swim, sun, sail and surf beaches like Malibu, Santa Barbara, Venice, Laguna, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Huntington and Newport.
The region enjoys 300 days of sunshine and a Mediterranean-style climate. Palm trees everywhere brighten the mood, as do the neighboring San Bernardino Mountains. “You are near a lot of the reasons why people want to come to Southern California in the first place,” said Oxarart.