So many companies these days talk about bundling to offer a better price; T.V., phone and internet, home and auto insurance, peanut butter and jelly in one bottle… you get the picture. Basically, buy these things together and we will sell them to you cheaper than if you buy them individually. Sounds great until you find you are paying for things you neither want, nor need. Or after you pay for it, discover it didn't include everything you thought it did.
If you are currently planning an off-site event, such as a retreat, conference or camp, then you have probably run across bundles offered at venues. You’ve also probably run across places that keep everything separate. So the decision becomes, “Which is right for your group?”.
In case you are wondering, we at Christian Retreats Network bundle. We are bundlers. But we’ve found that it’s a good thing. Every single retreat package includes motel or dorm style lodging, meeting space (set up before you arrive, along with complimentary AV equipment), buffet dining and basic recreation. Why? Because it ensures that planners and their groups get everything they need to have a successful event. In all our years of off-site ministry, we have found that these 4 pillars are what build an effective off-site experience. When all the basics are included, there is no checking and second guessing to see that everything has been scheduled. And let’s be honest, nothing is worse than getting to an event to find that something wasn’t booked/paid for.
Not only does this help planners make sure they have all the event aspects covered, it also helps them to stay on budget. There are no extra charges when you get to the event and you don’t have to figure guest to cost ratio for each line item. One cost per person from the beginning means getting the money completely sorted before hitting the road. Specifically, it helps to keep rates easier when guests register. Keeping track of who is eating which meal and participating in which activity staying in which lodging is going to get really crazy when 200+ people register. Plus, you can go ahead and tell prospective guests the price, because everyone’s will be the same.
The greatest benefit on the venue side would have to be guest service. When staff don’t have to keep track of how many people used what for however long, it lets them have a better staff experience. The mentality goes from “What does this group have booked?” to “What more can I do?”. Staff that can focus on guests provide the best hospitality, which is the goal of every Christian retreat venue.
Many first-time retreat planners wonder whether bundling is right for their group. In our experience, taking the guesswork out of planning means more successful ministry and better overall experience.