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Corporate Retreats: Costs, Benefits & Do They Actually Work?


Corporate retreats are becoming more and more popular within the corporate world, and it’s easy to see why. Corporate retreats are meant to facilitate bonding and corporate planning between staff members and management, all within a relaxed environment away from work. It’s a fun getaway for everyone in the company.

There are a lot of companies out there that have a remote staff, meaning they typically never meet in person. The only way for these team members to get together is by planning a corporate retreat.

A well-organized corporate retreat can bring a lot of benefits to your business or organization. It can help coworkers have a better understanding of one another, which ultimately improves their teamwork. Today we are going to talk about why your company needs a corporate retreat and how you can plan the best one.

What is a Corporate Retreat?

First things first: let’s define what a corporate retreat is. A corporate retreat is an organized event or a getaway where members of a company get together in a chosen location to have team bonding activities. The activities may vary depending on the location and what was organized by the company.

Also known as a company retreat, it can be done in the city or abroad. Some corporate retreats take only one day, while others spend a few more days to fully relax and unwind.

When planned and organized properly, it can help relieve stress, build stronger connections, and even inspire creativity among team members. If the corporate retreat is successful, it is a solid investment back into your business. It can improve the way your company works for the long term.

How Much Do Corporate Retreats Cost?

Before you can organize a satisfying retreat for your company, you need to take a look at your budget first. This is going to affect all your planning and decision making going forward. So figure out how much you can actually spend on the event.

Remember that you don’t need to have an extremely large budget to create a memorable corporate retreat. What you need is a smart budgeting plan so you know how much you can allocate to each facet of the trip.

Here are the four main things you will have to spend on: accommodation, transportation, food and beverage, and activities. You will have to divide your budget equally among these four things. Your budget will ultimately determine the location of your retreat as well as what you can do once you’re there.

For example, if your budget is around $2,000 per person, you may have to avoid European locations because the average flight from the US would cost around $1,200. However, you can go for domestic flights that are under $500 so you have enough money for other things like lodging and activities.

By figuring out your budget, you will have a much better selection of your potential destinations, including hotels and activities. It will also help you determine how long the company retreat could be. Some companies have quarterly retreats, meaning it is an essential part of their work culture and it’s something that everyone is looking forward to.

Do Corporate Retreats Work?

Corporate retreats are an investment. Even though you will have to spend a significant amount of money just to get it going, it can have a long-lasting positive impact on your company as a whole. You will allow your team members to create stronger work relationships while being in a stress-free environment.

This is necessary because the typical work day is stressful and hectic enough. There simply isn’t enough time for coworkers to bond with each other. A corporate retreat should be able to bring everyone a bit closer together. It gives everyone the opportunity to get to know each other and see each other’s backgrounds, interests and perspectives.

Corporate retreats are meant to be fun as well as productive. It is an effective stress reliever because it takes them out of the usual workplace environment—which can be quite stressful. If you think your employees are stressed out, organize a company retreat. They will feel more refreshed afterwards. This will also help your team put their best foot forward when they return to work.

Corporate retreats can also boost morale. Most employees want to become part of a team that means something to them. They will be more motivated to work if they feel that connection with the organization and everyone within it. If the group has low morale, they will only be waiting for the next paycheck rather than exerting a conscious effort to help the company.

A retreat can help solidify your organization as one cohesive unit that treats each other like a family. It even shows your team that you really care about them. A boost in morale will enhance workplace performance, which is why a retreat is such a good investment.

Company retreats can even give team members the chance to reflect and settle conflicts. Disagreements are inevitable within the workplace, so there will definitely be conflict at some point. A retreat can iron out these differences so that coworkers can keep things professional and friendly. It will help them let go of harmful grudges and lingering feelings of resentment.

Giving them the opportunity to reflect and have a shared experience outside of the workplace may help end these conflicts. Even if they don’t become friends, they can still develop respect for one another. Company retreats can break down these barriers.

If you prepare an adventure that involves a lot of fun activities, you may even discover some of your team’s hidden talents. Someone may turn out to be a fantastic cook, or a talented singer, or a skilled musician. You may discover some who are not so good at those things and have something to laugh about together. Everyone can start developing inside jokes that are only going to strengthen their bonds. You will have memories to share with the whole team. This is a vacation that everyone in the company needs.

What Makes a Good Corporate Retreat?

If the corporate retreat that you organized achieved all the benefits listed above, then it was a good retreat. If everyone is suddenly more productive and it improves everyone’s relationships, then it was a great company retreat. Your organization as a whole will improve if you give everyone the chance to relax a little and enjoy each other’s company away from work.

So when organizing your company retreat, here are a few goals you want to aim for: learning, sharing, bonding, and unifying. It’s not just another office meeting set in a different location.

Corporate retreats can be a learning activity. When people learn together, they form a stronger bond. They can learn more about each other, about the company, about its vision, about its goals, etc. Find a way to incorporate this into your planned activities so that everyone can pick up new information about the organization and the people who are running it.

Retreats can also be a great venue for sharing: sharing ideas, positive acknowledgements, thoughts, skills, and personal desires. These activities can break down walls and allow people to open up about themselves. Find a way to talk to each employee individually and give them some praise so they know they are appreciated. Sharing your goals and your vision for the company will allow others to give their input about the direction the company is going.

Finally, a good corporate retreat can also facilitate bonding and unifying, which can ultimately strengthen your entire organization. Choose retreat activities that can help teach new skills, drive interpersonal interactions, and encourage openness between team members. A unified team is unstoppable, so create opportunities for them to come together and become a solid unit.

These four key concepts will ensure that your retreat can empower and energize the whole team. When they return to work, they will be ready to take on any challenge.

How Do I Book Corporate Retreats?

Now that you know the potential benefits of a good corporate retreat, it’s time to figure out how to put one together. A boring retreat won’t do the trick—and might even be counterproductive since your employees will feel demotivated or discouraged if the event isn’t enjoyable. Here’s how to organize a retreat that strikes the perfect balance between work and fun.

If you’ve already determined the budget for your company retreat, then you have already ruled out a few possible venues that are too expensive or practical. Now you can narrow down the selection even further by considering a few more key factors.

First, think about what your goals are for this retreat. What does the event need to accomplish? How can the company benefit from the retreat? This will help you come up with activities and locations that will maximize your chances of achieving those goals. For example, if your team is made up of employees who are mostly working remotely, then your retreat should have plenty of time for introductions and bonding activities. This type of organization will also benefit more from a longer retreat so they can really get to know each other and create meaningful connections and memories.

However, if your team bonds on a regular basis, then a retreat that puts them in an unfamiliar setting far away from the office can work wonders. A quick one or two-day trip should be enough, but it still needs to be memorable in order to be effective.

Think about the time of year when planning a corporate retreat. There are things that just won’t work considering the location and the time of year. You don’t want to plan a trip to Florida when it’s the hurricane season, and you don’t want to go on a skiing trip when there’s a chance that the snow will be melting. Those options are off the table too if it’s the wrong time of the year.

It also goes the other way around: there are some fun places to visit when it’s the right time of the year. You can grab these opportunities and create a fun retreat for your company if you schedule it right.

Keep in mind that you should avoid corporate retreats during major holidays like Christmas when most of your team wouldn’t be willing to come.

When planning activities, it’s impossible to pick something that will make everyone happy. But having them listen to lectures in a faraway area where there’s nothing else to do won’t make them excited either.

Think about the size of the office you are planning for. It is naturally easier to book a venue and find a caterer for a small corporate event than for a company with 500 employees.

Consider what your employees may be interested in. Also consider if anyone on your staff has physical restrictions or medical conditions before choosing a venue. Choose one that is fully accessible so everyone can have a good time. Once you’ve chosen the perfect location for your retreat, book the venue. It can be a resort, a park, a huge conference space, etc. Whatever it is, it is always important to call ahead of time and set your schedule.

If lodging is necessary, then you have to find a hotel close to the venue and book it for the day of the retreat too. You can skip this step if the retreat is local.

Next, figure out how transportation is going to work. Again, if you are choosing a local retreat venue, then this won’t be a problem. But for every other retreat, this is definitely an essential step that would factor into your planning and budget. If your team will have to fly to the venue, you have to book their flights from the airport to the venue and back. Use travel booking sites like Kayak and Travelocity for consolidated booking and lower fares.

Once your team does get to the venue, they will need something to eat and drink throughout the day. This is where caterers come in. Hire a caterer to cover your meals. Some retreat venues already have that covered, but in case they don’t, you need to hire one ahead of time.

The best way to find one is to ask the venue for local recommendations of nearby caterers. Check Google and Yelp reviews to find reliable caterers. Also consider how many meals per day you have to provide. Some retreats offer all three meals, while others cover only breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. This will also go into your budget plan.

Now that the difficult parts are covered, you have to plan and book team-building and recreational activities. It should be a healthy mix of professional and fun activities throughout the retreat. Think about the possible activities that you can do as a team. It’s not entirely a vacation, but it should still have that dose of fun.

Hire a motivational speaker or an industry expert to deliver a speech. Play paintball, dodge ball, etc.—competitive games tend to work great because team members get to have fun while bringing out their competitive side. The activities you choose can make or break the entire retreat.

Lastly, make sure you give people plenty of heads up. You’re not the only one who needs to plan ahead to accommodate the corporate retreat. This is especially important if the retreat involves travel. You need to give everyone time to prepare and get some work done ahead of schedule. Some employees may have to find someone to take care of their children or look after their pets. If possible, give them a minimum of three months in advance, and then send them plenty of reminders as the date approaches.

Best Destinations for Corporate Retreats

While there are limitless options for potential corporate retreat venues, here are a few popular choices that are frequently recommended. For this list, we’re keeping it within the US.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas has plenty of diverse activities for small and large teams alike. It has outdoor boating activities, a vibrant culinary scene, and lots of live music.

Lady Bird Lake offers kayaking and paddleboarding if you want an outdoor adventure for your team. There’s also Barton Springs Pool, which is a 3-acre spring-fed pool right in the heart of Austin, Texas. But if you want to enjoy a team bar crawl, Sixth Street is the perfect venue for your company.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California is another popular destination for corporate retreats because it has everything your team could want: from hiking trails to relaxing beaches. Just remember that LA traffic can get bad, so your retreat planning should be on point.

Visit Griffith Park if you want an enjoyable hike with a perfect view of LA. There’s Zuma Beach, where your team can swim and relax. Finally, we have Santa Monica Pier & Beach: another fantastic beach located west of downtown LA.

Miami, Florida

If you’re looking for a retreat venue in Miami, Florida, you have several options. It’s great because the weather is beautiful almost all year round. There are also plenty of world-class dining options to choose from. It’s a vibrant metropolis full of beachfront hotels and event spaces.

There’s Miami Beach, Crandon Park, and Wynwood Walls. Little Havana is the cultural capital for Cuban-Americans. There’s also Everglades National Park, which is the biggest subtropical wetland in the US.

Hawaii

Known for its dramatic natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle, Hawaii is the perfect getaway for your company. It’s where you go for some well-deserved R&R. There are plenty of outdoor adventures to choose from, and they are all fairly accessible.

Waikiki Beach is the most famous destination in Honolulu, where your team can try out surfing. There’s also the Manoa Falls Trail if you prefer to hike. Finally, there’s the Diamond Head Crater which offers stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and the Honolulu skyline.

Our Favorite Corporate Retreat Planning Company

Planning and organizing an entire corporate retreat is not an easy thing—as you can already tell by the number of moving parts that go into it. If you’re planning to make it a quarterly event for your company, that will be extremely beneficial but also very challenging. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Here at Kennected, our favorite corporate retreat planning company is Elevate Travel Co.

We love working with Sarah Reuter. She is the Founder and CEO of Elevate Travel Co. and she has been a part of the travel and hospitality industry for over 20 years.  She is personal, professional, and always gets us great deals on travel. She also negotiates on our behalf.

Elevate Travel helps companies make the most out of their time, money, and vision. This is the company that helps you foster the relationships between your team members—all through proper group travel management.

What sets Elevate Travel apart is how they try to understand your culture and how they can best serve your needs. They will work closely with you to conceptualize, manage, and execute the best corporate retreat experience. It will revolve around your vision as well as budget.

If you’re looking for a great business retreat planner, Elevate Travel should be your first call.

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