Small- and mid-sized venues in Fairbanks
Conferences and Meetings
By Sam Friedman
Fairbanks has enough meeting venues that it takes more than a day just to walk through all the ballrooms, reception areas, and board rooms.
Fairbanks-area meeting planners know
this because they spent nine hours on a bus
tour in March getting a feel for a sample of
the region’s venues; tourism and meeting
promotion organization Explore Fairbanks
holds at least one of these tours every year.
This year, along the way, the bus stopped
at twelve meeting venues. That’s by no means
a comprehensive tour, says Helen Renfrew,
director of meetings and conventions at Explore Fairbanks.
“It’s kind of like the top-of-mind places for
accommodating and/or meeting and convention space, because we can’t see everything Fairbanks has to offer over one full day,” she says.
For those who want their own look at the
venues, Explore Fairbanks sets up customized
meeting venue walkthroughs for prospective
meeting planners, usually at no or little cost
to the meeting planner. About ten of these ad-
hoc tours take place each year. The organiza-
tion also helps meeting planners comparison
shop between venues by inviting venues to bid
on requests for proposals created by meeting
planners with help from Explore Fairbanks.
Fairbanks lacks a large convention center like
Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center, so it’s hard for the
city to host large conventions of more than 450
attendees, Renfrew says. But the city hosts a few
large conventions and hundreds of small-to-medium meetings each year. Over the last five
years, Fairbanks hosted an average of 313 meetings per year. Each year, these meetings used an
average of 27,480 hotel room nights and directly
contributed $9.2 million to the local economy,
according to Explore Fairbanks numbers.
Here’s a look at a few meeting venues
featured in the March tour. For more information about these and other venues, see the
Explore Fairbanks forty-page meeting guide
Meeting space: More than 11,800 square feet of
meeting space year-round; more
than 17,000 square feet in winter
Guest rooms: 400
Food: Onsite catering
Past events: State Republican Party convention,
Alaska Library Association
conference, Alaska Peony Growers
The Westmark Hotel boasts both the largest hotel ballroom in Fairbanks and one of
Carlson Center Operations Manager Adam Powell talks about the Carlson Center Alaska Room during a March 28 Explore Fairbanks tour of meeting and
Sam Friedman | Alaska Business