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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Select Traveler Conference Heads for Sunny California in February.

Select Traveler Conference attendees are in for a treat: The 2017 edition of the conference will take place February 5-7 in Ontario, California. This will be the first time the conference has journeyed to the West Coast.

“We are doing something completely different,” said conference organizer Joe Cappuzzello. The conference will be staged inside the beautiful Ontario Convention Center, with its sun-drenched lobbies and its views of the gorgeous San Bernardino Mountains. “It will be in a great venue, an almost-brand-new convention center,” said Cappuzzello.

The convention hall offers 225,000 square feet of flexible and divisible meeting, exhibit and function space. Some of the groups that have booked the center liken it to a “high-end hotel experience,” according to the center’s operators.

The official conference hotel is right next door to the convention center. Delegates will enjoy the DoubleTree by Hilton, an upscale, resort-type hotel property. Both are just minutes from Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport (ONT), one of the finest small airports located in the region. The convention center district is surrounded by about 3,000 hotel rooms. A total of 6,000 rooms are available in the Greater Ontario region. Hotel room rates tend to be much lower in Greater Ontario than in the larger metropolitan areas of the region.

Ontario, and its tourism partner and neighbor Rancho Cucamonga, are about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Delegates from winter-weary states will welcome Ontario’s abundant sunshine, dry air and average daily temperatures in the 60s in February.

Regional Hub

“We are a hub around which there are a lot of major things to do,” said Michael Krouse, president and CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau. People visiting the area, also known as the Inland Empire, use it as a starting point for tourism travel throughout Southern California. From Ontario, visitors often go on to places like Los Angeles, San Diego, Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

“Myself, I like to take a trip out to Palm Springs, just a little over an hour away, because it is 85 to 90 degrees,” said Sue Oxarart, who is the CVB’s director of marketing and communications. “I enjoy the drive through the desert. Winter is gorgeous here in Southern California.”

People also enjoy visiting Disneyland, the extensive wine region, deserts, beaches, snow-capped mountains, golf courses, casinos and some of the best shopping in the western United States. “We are 45 minutes to an hour from a lot of things to see and do,” said Oxarart.

For any Select Traveler delegate who wants to arrive early for the conference or stay past the end of it, convention and visitors bureau staff experts can arrange various itineraries and excursions and help visitors get special group discounts.

Super Bowl Party

The Select Traveler Conference will begin on Super Bowl Sunday. The Ontario CVB has reserved Citizens Business Bank Arena for a fun Super Bowl party for conference delegates. The arena seats 11,000 for basketball and hockey games and concerts and is a popular destination for the community.

“We looked at the calendar and thought that we might as well take advantage of this,” said Oxarart. “We manage the arena now, and it will be fun for delegates to be inside a large sports venue to watch the big game.”

The giant LED video board will show the game, and attendees will enjoy the traditional concession stand food you would expect at any game venue. “There will be fan food for sure, like hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and drinks. We think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s the first time we have done this at the arena, too,” said Oxarart.