by Vincent Alonzo | March 19, 2018

Last year was a very good one for Alaska Airlines. The carrier's performance earned it top honors in the 2018 Best and Worst Airlines rankings from thepointsguy.com, a travel advice and news site covering the airline industry. It's the second year in a row that Alaska Airlines has been No. 1 in the survey, which uses public government records and public financial reports from the airlines to rate carriers on price of airfare, timeliness, and other factors.

Which is good news for incentive groups heading to Juneau, the state capital of Alaska. Alaska Airlines offers year-round jet service to the city via Seattle and Anchorage. Delta Airlines also provides service on a seasonal basis.

Hot, Definitely; Cold, Not So Much

If you're thinking Juneau is only a seasonal destination, think again. The climate is milder than one would expect because of the proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Average temperatures in January range from a high of 35° Fahrenheit to a low of 26°, which is balmy by Alaskan standards. 

Probably the most accessible glacier experience anywhere in the world is found in Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier, just 13 miles from the downtown area. More adventurous incentive qualifiers might be interested in the ice caves that are now accessible due to the glacier's recession. But there are no public trails to the caves, and its structure is always evolving, so it can be dangerous. 

A Walkable Downtown

Downtown Juneau isn't just close to great nature experiences, it is also a short, nine-mile airport transfer to get to and from Juneau International Airport. Once in town, groups will find the city very walkable, with lots of interesting history and unique attractions to keep groups busy.

The swinging doors of the Red Dog Saloon aren't a re-creation, they're the real thing. Patrons have been entering this vintage venue through those doors since the days of the Alaska Gold Rush. Another interesting offsite function venue is the Hangar on the Wharf, a converted airplane hangar with large windows on a rustic wooden pier where attendees can enjoy the sight of seaplanes landing in Juneau Harbor.

There is also great hospitality infrastructure that more than meets the needs of most incentives - and it is all within reasonable walking distance. The Centennial Hall Convention Center has over 12,000 square feet of ballroom space and close to 2,800 square feet of dedicated meeting space, with 2,900 square feet of public space for receptions. The 106-room Four Points by Sheraton Juneau is just across the street. A few blocks away is the 200-room Westmark Baranoff Hotel. Both properties offer decor with an Alaskan feel, especially the Westmark, which opened in 1939 and offers meeting space for small groups. Smaller incentives might appreciate the authentic, 40-room Alaskan Hotel and Bar. The hotel, opened in 1913, is a living piece of Alaskan history and its decor still reflects the late Victorian "Queen Anne" style. Questions or comments? Email valonzo@ntmllc.com