How to Pick a Location for your Next Offsite Retreat

It’s all too easy to tell yourself that just doing a session or two in the conference room will be good enough. After all, most meetings in your conference room get the job done, right?

Wrong. In order to achieve your objects for your retreat—better team unity, new ideas, creative brainstorming—you need do something different and break away from the mundane.

The benefits of getting outside your office are plentiful. Change of scenery alone can make a big difference. But specifically, when you remove the distractions and same old, you can release your team to deeply focus on the most important subjects of discussion. At the same time, being outside of the office will allow more time for relationship building, creating trust and empathy between team members. Finally, it is an opportunity to open up the world to your team— give them a location that is aspirational, beautiful, creative and new. What about a spot that is just plain fun with lots of great activities? Fun plays a huge role in the process of innovation and creativity. Finally, a new location could be the perfect place to do some research—whether it be studying the way people interact, learning about a different sub-culture or just getting some inspiration from the museum.

So get outside—get away, just don’t pull your team into the same conference room for a full day—again.

 Ski Offsite: Nothing like sliding down a steep mountain to build camaraderie...

Ski Offsite: Nothing like sliding down a steep mountain to build camaraderie...

How to pick a location? Consider the following:

  • Balance: Is the travel time for your team commensurate with the offsite time? Example: No more than 1 day of travel (cumulative) for 2 days of session time. 
  • Objectives: Does the location have the potential to fulfill your objectives? i.e. relaxation, research, inspiration, etc.
  • Budget: Consider local (everyone sleeps at home, sees their families at night) vs travel (transportation & hotel costs, lost productivity due to transit)
  • Convenience: The harder the location is to get to, the more amazing, inspirational, fun and powerful it should be.
  • Culture: Does the location match your business culture? Are you corporate types that don’t like the idea of sharing a cabin? Don’t go the rustic route. Do you have an action sports culture that gets inspiration from doing extreme activities together? Better get plenty of outside time.
  • Aspiration: A good location should project a hope or vision for your team of what is possible. If you are a humble start-up, consider giving your team a taste of success (if budgets allow) - fancy dinners, beautiful conference room, gorgeous retreat location.
  • Inspiration: The purpose of these retreats are to think bigger, make creatives leaps and produce new ideas. Make sure you pick a place that can infuse news ideas and thinking into open and accessible minds.

Facilities
There are plenty of options to consider. Corporate retreat centers’ are always a great option. If it’s available and it fits your team, you might just opt for your CEO’s ski chalet in the mountains or rent some similar option. There are beautiful and aspirational hotels all over the world that have the needed amenities and resources, easy service and rooming arrangements.

Requirements for Facilities

  • Fast and reliable wireless internet
  • Room(s) where you are comfortable. 
  • Inspirational Setting (lots of natural light, good view, great interior design)
  • Sleeping arrangements close by (plenty of rooms)
  • Excellent dining options close by and easy catering arrangements
  • Dedicated event coordinator to help with last minute arrangements and emergencies
  • Nearby print-shop for materials

Offsite Facility Options

  • Corporate Retreat Center
  • Hotel & Conference Center
  • Secluded house / Ranch / Chalet / Apartment
  • Log Cabin, Camping
  • Corporate Office in a different country
  • Fancy-schmancy ad/design agency conference room
  • Museums or Public Spaces
  • Co-working environments