13 Must Do's for Planning Your Next Company Retreat
Planning a retreat for your company can be a bear. Bear’s are cute but, trust us, they are hard to wrestle. Over the years of working with 500+ startups from California to New York; we have a few tips and tricks for planning your next company retreat.
Here are 13 Must Do’s when starting to plan a retreat for your team:
Vision from Leadership
Now is the time to put pen to paper and make a list of your company’s specific Goals for a successful retreat unique to your group. Go wild and wordy here, because you can always refine your list in the future. We recommend meeting with your leadership team to get a specific outline of what the most successful retreat looks like to them.
Set The Budget
We’re not talking about a finalized budget here. Let’s work on getting your teams flexibility on budget. Our recommendation is to start at $500/night/person for an all-inclusive experience. Whatever the number is, having it will hep you understand where to take all of the next steps.
Identify Goals and Requirements
Back to you and your leadership team. What do the goals and requirements look like? We recommend using this time to explore a sample itinerary. This will really help you define what the “must-have” and “nice-to-have” elements are of the experience.
Read More About Identifying the Vision, Goals and Budget.
Based on your vision, goals, requirements and budget; you should have a good idea of what destination options are in-front of you. The further you go, the more it will likely cost in terms of transportation for the group. We recommend 2 hrs maximum of travel per night the group is staying over.
You can also look back on the vision for the retreat from your leadership team to help define destinations a bit more clearly. If a highlight experience revolves around a body of water; you can focus on a place with a river, lake or ocean. if getting disconnected in the woods is the vision; you will have a couple different destinations. Perhaps it’s a lively week in an urban hub.
Explore Lodging Options
Once you have you top 2-3 destination, do your research on venues that can house your number of people and fit into your vision for the retreat. Most commonly, we’re looking at estate rentals, small lodges and large resorts for small teams. For medium size teams, we’re looking at boutique hotels and ranch and camp buyouts. For the largest teams, we’re looking at cool hotels and ranch and camp buyouts.
Submit RFP’s to Top 5 Venues
Boil your list down, for now, to the top venues you have found. Reach out to each for a proposal. Don’t forget to have a back-up list from the previous step incase all 5 are booked or end-up out of budget.
Commit to a Venue
We recommend making a decision on a venue as soon as possible. It’s not uncommon for the perfect venue to get booked up shortly after you receive the proposal.
Read more about Finding The Perfect Venue
First up, let’s manage getting everyone to the event!
Manage Food + Drink
Your venue might have a Food and Beverage minimum. Take that into consideration first and plan the meals out with the venue.
Outside of that, we recommend utilizing local chefs, catering services and restaurants for a more local approach to great food and drink experiences.
You can read more about planning for Food + Drink in our Retreat Planning 101 Series: Managing Food and Drink on Your Retreat.
Plan for Team Building
This is why we’re here! We recommend at least one full-group structured team building event to get everyone together.
This is when we talk about “bonding in the seams” or a more organic approach to team bonding. Small-group activities help people connect over something they enjoy. We see this in on-site workshops, local activity options offerings, bonfires, game night and happy hour with lawn games.
Manage Workspace and Work Sessions
Going back to that sample itinerary you created, make sure all of your work sessions have sufficient workspace. If it’s a full-group meeting with A/V needs etc., the venue should offer what you need or be prepared to bring it on your own.
Plan One Epic Thing
We call this “Wow Factor 100”. The goal here is focus some energy on one event for your team that really blows the doors off. This is the thing everyone will be talking about on the drive home. It will really set the retreat apart from everything in the past and inspire your team in new ways.
That’s it! You’ve got your retreat wrapped up and you’re ready to go!
We have must more details roadmap to planning a company retreat.