What you need to know to plan a successful team retreat.
Getting started on a task this big can be daunting. Here are 5 must-know tips for kicking off the process of organizing a truly engaging, memorable retreat. Laying the groundwork will make the rest of the process seamless. Dive in below, and feel free to reach out to one of our retreat experts if you have any questions.
1. It's never too early
The best retreats… are the retreats planned ahead. Planning well in advance (even before you think you need to) can help minimize any issues that come with coordinating venues, accommodation, travel, and more.
It’s also worth considering how the pandemic lockdowns caused people to postpone weddings and other events, resulting in a huge scarcity in venues. Be aware that many locations—big and small—could be booked further out than you might think.
So how early?
We recommend 6+ months.
Need something ASAP?
Don’t let this recommended timeline discourage you if you only have a month or so—it’s still very possible! Let us help.
2. Know (generally) your location and dates
It’s a good idea to have a general idea of your location and dates before you start planning. While you don’t need to have it all figured out and confirmed, having an approximate sense of the when and where will help avoid making the research too overwhelming.
Make sure your team is aligned on at least a ~2 week window. Having a time frame to work within can help you understand what’s available, while also leaving wiggle room for finding the right venue, or picking the right accommodations.
Pro tip — send out a “when’s best” poll to make it easy for your team to share this info with you.
Think through your options. Consider being in nature (like in the woods or on a beach) compared to being in a city. Consider whether it makes more sense to meet on the west coast or the east coast, or even, whether your team should meet within the United States or internationally. Where is the majority of your team located? We’d recommend ensuring that no one has to travel more than ~8 hours door-to-door for the trip. This includes getting to and from the airport, as well.
Still overwhelmed by all of the choices?
Send out a Marco Poll! You can star locations that make sense to you, or that you’re intrigued by, and we’ll generate a poll for you to let the team decide by a vote. All you need to do is share the link where you usually share information team-wide (Slack, Email, etc.).
3. Have a good idea of headcount
While it could seem obvious to you who’ll be attending your corporate retreat, it’s worth sitting down and thinking it through. Is this retreat for your whole company? Is it just for executives? Who will have trouble making it? Consider the size of your team, the different groups within it, and make an educated guess around approximate headcount.
Once you know the size of your group, it’ll be easier to plan other aspects of your retreat — like understanding what kind of venue you’ll need, what types of activities to plan, and more.
4. Get clear on your retreat's purpose
Knowing what goals you have for your team retreat will help you understand how to plan it.
This could be meaningful connection — with the goal of creating connectivity through meaningful and fun experiences, with less time spent in meetings and on purely work projects. Another option is a combination of work and play. On this type of retreat, your team can make time for both opportunities for meaningful connection through experiences, alongside dedicated time for meetings and completing more work-related goals.
Another option is a wellness-focused retreat, with the goal of relaxing and restoring energy through wellness activations. Your retreat could also aim for team development — this could look like coaching, team building, DEI, and other workshops to improve company culture and with the goal of personal development.
Or, it could be something completely different! The key is just to be aware of your retreat’s goals to make planning more efficient and effective.
5. Ask for the right kind of help
Planning a retreat is not a one person job. It’s important to understand what kind of help you’ll need early.
Maybe it’s light touch. You’re happy to do most of the coordination yourself or internally, and are just looking for incredible destinations for your team, and genuinely fun experiences to keep them engaged.
Or, looking for something a bit more… comprehensive? If you’re looking for a partner to help you handle choosing a location, coordinating F&B, creating an itinerary, and facilitating things onsite, you’ll want high-touch support.