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If you have been charged with getting location ideas for your next corporate retreat, we have you covered.

Planning a corporate retreat is one of the most challenging events you can do. You need to ensure the location is on point, activities and events are engaging, and HR has briefed all attendees on the expectations and impact of rules being broken.

We are regularly asked how to choose the best company retreat location, and while there is no single answer, we can guide you onto the right path with our 5 step plan.

Step 1: Who is Attending?

The most important part of your retreat is to understand who is attending, and what the organiser is wanting to achieve with those individuals.

Is it an executive getaways to plan out next years priorities, a quarterly sales conference to celebrate wins and hand out bonuses, or an all staff get togethers to bring in remote and regional teams? Are families invited or is it just employees?

Your audience and expected guests are going to be a primary factor, particularly as you need to now obtain the budget.

Step 2: Budgeting for a corporate retreat

Once you have the expected attendees, you can now start looking into your budget. Is your budget a few hundred dollars per person, or a few thousand? If you are looking at the lower end, you are probably going to end up with an overnight hotel an hour or two drive out of the city you work in.

Things to factor for your budget:

  • Commute: How will people be arriving to the venue. Are you able to afford flights? Will you need a coach hire? Will people be driving themselves?
  • Food: 3 meals a day should be budgeted at at least $100-150. If you plan well, your venue will be able to work through breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you plan to dine out, you will be looking at double or triple that number.
  • Beverages: Will there be alcohol at your retreat? Is it a themed sales conference night, where people might be drinking more, or is it a more reserved executive workshop?
  • Hotel: Large hotel chains and resorts are your best bet here. You should be looking for the big chains, like Accor, Hilton, IHG or Marriot. Each of these venues have reward schemes that will ensure you can get better deals for group bookings. They also are likely the only ones to have hotels the size for large groups.
  • Activities: Workshop spaces, entertainers, or team building activities all come at a cost.

Step 3: Finding a Location for your retreat

Now you have your audience and budget, you can start looking for locations. Most retreats are booked to be taken out of the main city your office is in.

The logic here is simple, you want to minimise the risk of people leaving. If your office is in Sydney CBD, and you host an event at Bondi, chances are some of your staff are going to leave the event and go home, miss some activities and you won't achieve your goal.

The easiest way to find a venue is:

  1. If budgets are low, look for retreat venues in your state. BizziEvents covers plenty of options for you to look through and contact. View our list of corporate retreat venues.
  2. If budgets are healthy, look for locations in neighbouring states. Domestic travel reduces works for weekend retreats and eliminates problems with passports and visas.
  3. If you are looking to host a remarkable overseas retreat, and your event is long enough, you can consider neighbouring countries. For events less than a week, you should be considering flights under 5 hours with no Visa requirements for Australians, such as Fiji. We also detail and review corporate retreat venues in APAC.

One way to delve deeper is to consider areas that your executive team hasn't been. Consider making this retreat something that ticks off a bucket list location for your attendees and you can almost guarantee you have embedded your business into their memory for a lifetime.

Step 4: Negotiate with your Hotel

One big reason we recommend large hotels and groups is that they partner closely with event planners. This means either discounts or added bonuses. If you are planning on organising yourself, you should reach out to the hotel and discuss booking multiple rooms.

Regardless of the return price you should be asking for a discount for your group, or added extras. This could be upgrades to free WiFi for all, late check out, or even transfers from the airport. If you do not ask for a discount, you will end up paying public rates with no added extras.

If you do not want to ask for a discount, you can get in touch with us, provide us your location and we will contact the hotels on your behalf. Rather than us accepting any commissions, we request those to be given back as discounts to you.

Step 5: Bundle Deals

If your retreat is more than simply a getaway with cocktails, you are likely wanting to book some meeting rooms, workshop spaces or ballrooms.

The best advice we have is to reach out to the events team at the hotel, talk about hosting your event, and then add on your need for hotel rooms. They will be able to get you great deals, work through your event and act as a dedicated support throughout.

Final tips: Presenting venue options

After figuring out whether to host your corporate event locally, interstate or internationally, you have to present those options back to your executive team and finance officers.

We like to present options simply, and our tips are to:

  • Provide 3 hotel venue options in the location of your choice
  • Include venue images
  • Provide a list of activities (your hotel should be able to provide these)
  • Meeting room options
  • Ensure there is a pre-negotiated quote

This should be enough for most teams to make a comparison and informed decision about where to host your corporate retreat.

About The Author

Founder of BizziEvents, Matt is on a mission to help corporate event planners create exceptional events by unlocking more time to focus on higher value work.

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