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Ontario, California Readies for the 2018 Small Market Meetings Conference

Ontario, California, and its tourism partner and neighbor, Rancho Cucamonga, have treasures that many other cities would envy. Not only are there many interesting things to see and do in these communities about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, but they are an excellent home base and springboard for visitors to experience a dazzling list of attractions in the wider region.

“We talk about Ontario being a gateway; it is all about location, location, location,” said Sue Oxarart, director of marketing and communications for the Greater Ontario California Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re at the apex of three major freeways that are going north, south, east and west and that are why we say Ontario is the perfect location. It’s easy to come here, stay here, and then you can go anywhere else.”

Certainly, 300 days of sunshine in the area each year and the appealing Mediterranean-style climate, not to mention the ubiquitous palm trees, make this location attractive. Ontario also offers residents and visitors a great view of the nearby San Bernardino Mountains

Meeting planners and destination professionals will get three days to enjoy Ontario when they attend the next Small Market Meetings Conference, September 23-25. The conference will be presented in the beautiful glass-walled, natural-light-infused Ontario Convention Center. The official conference hotel is the 484-room Doubletree by Hilton, a resort-type hotel right next door to the center. Both are only a few minutes’ drive from the Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport, one of the best small airports in the region and the one most delegates will fly into and out of.

Meeting Venues and Hotels

Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga are similar-size cities with populations of about 175,000 each. The Ontario Convention Center is the main meetings center in the area and boasts about 225,000 square feet of flexible and divisible meeting, event and function space. The center staff can help provide meeting planners with a full range of technology services to make their events successful.

Another frequently used meeting venue is the Citizens Business Bank Arena, with 20,000 square feet. The arena can be booked for exhibitions, business functions, educational and cultural gatherings, and much more. The arena is also home to several professional basketball, hockey and soccer teams. It’s a popular stop for entertainers on the concert circuit.

The aforementioned Doubletree by Hilton hotel also has plenty of meeting space. The hotel offers planners 27,000 square feet of versatile event space that can be secured for any group gathering. The hotel also has 4,000 square feet of covered outdoor function space for group use.

The Ontario Airport Hotel and Conference Center offers 24,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space, as well as 309 guest rooms.

Ontario has about 3,000 hotel rooms, and the wider area offers about twice that number. Accommodations range from intimate bed-and-breakfast inns to convention hotels. Meeting planners should note that an aggressive hotel construction campaign is underway that will add more than 600 guest rooms in the area. At least six new hotels are expected to open their doors in the next two years.

Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.