Going on Faith

JUN-JUL 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

Issue link: http://digital.goingonfaith.com/i/692373

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Page 13 of 35

going on faith [ june | july 2016 ] 14 square feet of flexible meeting space. As part of that layout, the exhibit hall has 70,000 square feet of column-free space, 24,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 20,000-square-foot sectional ball- room. Citizens Business Bank Arena is part of the mix and offers seating for up to 11,000 people. Krouse described the convention center as con- temporary and being more like a "high-end hotel experience" than a traditional convention center. "The food and beverage services are more like what you would find in a fine restaurant than at typical convention centers," he said. DoubleTree by Hilton is the official Going On Faith Conference hotel. It, too, is close to the airport and has a convenient walkway to the convention center. The convention center is surrounded by 3,000 hotel rooms. Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga together have a total of about 6,000 guest rooms. The Going On Faith Conference is being orga- nized by The Group Travel Family. President and CEO Joe Cappuzzello said the delegates who gather in Ontario are an important part of the group tour market. "These are people who plan the social and the group leisure travel and tourism activities for their religious organizations," said Cappuzzello. For delegates, the goal is to go on a fact-finding mission for their religious groups. "They are trying to locate new destinations and to meet with those people face-to-face. These delegates travel with people from their religious community, and they want to be sure they know the tour operators they might commit to and travel with and want to be able to trust them," said Cappuzzello. "That's because the people they take along on these trips are their friends and people they go to church with and do things with in their communities." FRIENDLY AND AFFORDABLE Krouse said the religious market is important to Ontario. "This is a conservative city in the middle of a liberal state," he said. "But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is huge in the region. Catholics, Christians of different faiths and evangeli- cals are also common. Our churches are exception- ally involved in the community." Traveling groups always want to travel to L.A., San Francisco or San Diego, said Krouse. "The problem is they can't afford it. Ontario is affordable. The cost to do business is significantly less. The religious market does well here because of price points. For example, a hotel room in Los Angeles might be $300. The same type room in Ontario may be $100 to $125." "THE COST TO DO BUSINESS IS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS. THE RELIGIOUS MARKET DOES WELL HERE BECAUSE OF PRICE POINTS." Top: Faith-based planners meet representatives of new destinations at the Going On Faith Conference. Bottom: Zipping across Southern California Courtesy of Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau David L. Malhalab, M-News Service, MNS Photo

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