Planning a corporate retreat is an excellent way to boost employee morale and is a great way to conduct business meets, corporate events, training and development as well as team building programs or even project launches. The idea behind retreats is to take your employees out of the boring confines of corporate meeting rooms and get them to indulge in a fun but productive way of doing business.
After seeing a lull in corporate spends for most of the recessionary period, corporate retreats are back in the limelight with more and more enterprises looking to up their spends this year.
While there are several factors that go into planning and executing a successful corporate retreat, there are two critical aspects that can literally make corporate retreats a grand success or a huge failure.
Lisa Jones, who has been in the business of corporate travel and coordinating events and retreats for the last 10 years, cites travel and logistics to be the ultimate factors that makes corporate retreats a success.
The reason for this she says is simple – “What do you think would be the outcome of a corporate event that has been badly planned?” And this includes badly planned locations, travel delays, inefficient paperwork, poor equipment and the list could be endless.
While all logistical planning and strategy should be in sync with the overall goals and objectives of the event, there are four key areas that need specific attention when planning a corporate retreat.
Location – This Makes All the Difference
So would you be taking your employees out to a beach destination or a jungle resort or would it be a hill retreat? A lot of planning needs to go into the type of location you choose for the retreat. Is the ambience of the location suitable for the objective of your meeting?
A good way to begin looking for suitable locations is to concurrently look for hotels and resorts that have expertise and are well equipped to host corporate retreats. And it wouldn’t hurt if the core group of employees is consulted for picking an ideal location.
Other aspects you need to consider is to determine the budget involved, availability, ease of access with respect to traveling to the location, etc.
How Competent are the Facilities?
Once you have firmed up on a suitable location and shortlisted the facilities that are going to host your event, there are a couple of additional factors you need to consider before choosing a hotel or resort of your choice.
First and foremost, the facility you choose should be ideal for all ages and all types of individuals. In addition to being warm and friendly, the facility you choose should also be able to take care of employee comfort, convenience and privacy.
Another important aspect to review and confirm is the hotel’s capability to adjust to your event agenda. While most hosts wouldn’t have a problem in accommodating your agenda, with some even willing to adjust to specific needs, it’s still worthwhile to check and confirm with the travel coordinator.
Other things to consider when selecting a suitable hotel include room sizes, the overall ambiences, and the features and amenities on offer.
Supplies and Equipment
The next important item on your checklist is to review the supplies and equipment you would need for the event. These would include important stuff like projectors, handouts, charts, office stationery as well as other essentials you might need to host the event. You need to check with the facilitator if they’d be able to help you arrange for the required equipment. Most facilities do take care of all the basic requirements such as providing well-furnished conference rooms, OHP’s, sound systems, etc. Nevertheless, it’s always better to confirm so that you can go ahead and make your own arrangements.
Food, Beverages and Refreshments
Employees might forget the great time they had at the event, the fascinating motivational speeches or even the interactive team building exercises, but they’ll never forget the food and drinks they got to have.
Retreat planners and coordinators should ensure that the food department is well taken care of. Okay, we are not necessarily talking about a gala feast here but all efforts should be made to ensure that the food and beverages served at the event should appeal to the audience including those with special needs.
Planning a Detailed Event Agenda
A detailed agenda plays a key role in ensuring things move and happen just the way you have planned. This also helps avoid any untoward surprises. Once you have drafted a detailed agenda that also includes a detailed event timeline, it can be circulated amongst the core team members and appropriately vetted by various stakeholders before it’s finalized.
Once ready, it also works well to share the agenda with the host facility so that they get to make appropriate arrangements according to your requirements. It’s also imperative to not plan anything in haste and give the facility and coordinators enough time to get things rolling.