Planning an Unforgettable Company Retreat

December 20, 2022

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Planning an Unforgettable Company Retreat

Looking to plan a company retreat that will invigorate your team, foster innovation, and cultivate a sense of togetherness? We’ve got some tips! First, clarify your goals and priorities. Are you looking to boost morale, inspire new ideas, or reward hardworking employees? Once you’ve determined your objectives, think carefully about the destination you want to take your team to. Do you want to escape to a tranquil natural setting or a bustling cityscape? Consider travel logistics, like access to airports and travel times people will encounter when considering your location. 

Consider Your Budget 

Remember your budget! A preliminary budget will guide many decisions, from accommodation to activities. Strive to balance work and play, with plenty of opportunities for team bonding and authentic local experiences. Consider transportation, meals, entertainment, speakers, tours, wellness, physical activities, CSR initiatives, and team-building exercises. And suppose your retreat lasts longer than a night. In that case, it’s a good idea to dedicate at least one night to a themed function and another for attendees to explore independently or engage in a local dining experience with a smaller group.  

Where To Stay

Choosing the right hotel or resort is crucial but can be overwhelming. Don’t worry – you can get excellent recommendations from local convention visitor bureaus (CVBs) or work with a qualified destination management company like CSI DMC, which has unmatched expertise and local relationships in over sixty destinations globally. We save you time and stress by helping you identify your group’s best property matches, transportation solutions, and destination activities. Furthermore, if you engage us early in your planning cycle, we can help you establish a realistic budget for your retreat, considering local costs, peak periods, and priorities. This helps to reduce budget challenges down the road and makes for a much more efficient planning journey! 

Creating A Memorable Experience

Once you’ve got the basics of where you will hold your retreat down, it’s time to focus on the details that will make your program memorable. First off, embrace the destination! Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes and consider what they would value most from the trip. Employee engagement surveys are a great tool here and generate excitement within your organization. Work with your DMC to determine what experiences best fit your group’s profile and showcase the destination meaningfully. Local activities and authentic experiences that cater to your team’s diverse capabilities and interests will be the most successful. People love sharing their destination stories and feeling connected to their version of events; how they experienced them with others helps bond them with other colleagues and supports a positive company culture.  


Audience Is Everything

With so many destination engagement opportunities to consider, it is critical to align your goals with the profile of the group attending. Mature audiences will have a different perspective from a younger audience. A good DMC can help you work through options. At a minimum, a group dining experience with some entertainment, a shared activity, and some wellness or rest time should always be factored in. If your retreat is longer than two nights, attendees will often grow restless to explore further than the hotel or resort, especially if it is their first time visiting the location. Depending on your budget and objectives, offsite dinners and activities are an excellent way for people to experience the destination in ways beyond what they could do independently. 


Meaningful Team-Building 

Working with clients globally and delivering successful retreat programs in over sixty destinations annually, the CSI DMC team has found that community giving, culinary experiences, physical team sports, and wellness activities are the most popular ways for employees to engage. Corporate retreats that include service projects, like volunteering and community support, are a great way to give back to the local community. Volunteering has several benefits, including providing valuable services to the community, increasing personal satisfaction, improving teamwork and communication skills via collaborations, strengthening the company culture and values, and building a greater sense of unity among coworkers. 


Another great team-building activity is taking cooking classes together. Collaborating and coordinating in a kitchen environment produces great food and memories that strengthen team dynamics. Participants learn to think on their feet, communicate effectively, and solve problems creatively. 


Team sports are also thrilling to build team spirit and strengthen relationships. Whether a scavenger hunt to explore the destination, a golf tournament, or something more adventurous, competition obstacles are best tackled as a group. Participants rely on each other to overcome these challenges and gain a new appreciation for one another. Good communication skills are essential for team sports, while accomplishment milestones are more easily achieved in activity settings. 


Wellness activities, from guided walks to breathing classes and restorative group yoga, are as popular as traditional spa time appointments. They provide a relaxing way for attendees to connect with themselves and others and provide a balance with more active group gatherings taking place in the program.  


Of course, to be successful and seamless, all retreat activities must be well-planned, safe, and accessible for everyone involved. Providing a mix of activities over a few days, or even several choices in an afternoon, is a better solution than expecting everyone to want to participate in one chosen activity. Offering choices shows care for your team’s diverse capabilities and interests. This approach will generate positive discussions about the company during and after the retreat, as attendees talk about what they did and that they had a choice in it! 

Taking time to personalize the experience is an important step that can make all the difference. Taking time to find out as much as possible about your guests’ tastes, physical accommodation needs, allergies, and overall preferences for group interactions will help you avoid running down a rabbit hole when planning ‘required’ group mealtimes and functions. 

Every Detail Counts


Your company retreat is always a reflection on the organization. Attention to detail is the key to creating a successful retreat experience that will stay with employees and be talked about for years. Planning a company retreat is a lot of work, and it can be extremely challenging to meet the stakeholders’ needs. CSI DMC is the partner clients trust to design and deliver authentic, successful retreat programs across the USA and globally, and we have the relationships, local knowledge, and many years of expertise to prove it. Whether you’re starting to plan or already in the thick of the details, we are here to help you succeed.  

Connect with us today, and let’s make your unforgettable company retreat a reality!   

Ready to create your next exceptional experience? CSI DMC is ready for you!