Event planners, or possibly event planning teams, know that before they can begin planning their fall retreat they must make some decision on just what they are looking for in a facility. A well-defined purpose will help set some parameters for the kind of facility you need.
When it comes to fall retreats pay special attention to things like quality food service, a wide variety of recreation, and flexible meeting spaces. A great host venue will be able to guide you through the spaces and services that will allow you to achieve your goals.
Consider your event goals and expectations, ask a facility the following questions:
- What kind of accommodations do we want? Motel style lodging, dorm rooms, or rustic cabins with no plumbing and no heat.
- Do we want to cook for ourselves or have the meals provided? If we do our own cooking, what type of menu will we plan and is there a place for us to store/prepare the food?
- What kind of dietary restrictions exist among your attendees? Can the facility accommodate?
- Will the meeting space include A/V equipment or do we need to bring our own? Are there extra charges for the equipment?
- Will our meeting space be private to just our event? Do we need breakout spaces for workshops?
- What kind of activities are available? Are there indoor facilities if the weather is inclimate? What activities involve extra charges?
- Does the facility offer any team building programs for your group? If so, what are the programs like and how much will they cost per person?
- How much money do we want to spend, and more importantly, what is the group as a whole willing to spend?
Sticker price for your retreat facilities isn't the only factor you need to use when choosing a retreat facility... comfort, guest service, and simplicity are all realities for your guests.
Just one suggestion about price: If you feel like your group would appreciate something just a little nicer, but several people wouldn’t be able to afford it, go with what most people could afford. Then you can offer financial assistance to those needing it. Or you can charge your group a little less than the actual cost and defray the cost through fund raisers or donations that cover the cost of some big ticket items like the band, guest speaker, or transportation.
Here are a few more questions to consider before you start calling a property:
- How large of a group can you realistically expect to have?
- When do you plan to arrive and depart?
Have several options on dates that would work for your fall retreat. Check with potential attendees to be sure there isn't a big event already on the calendar that will prevent a good portion of your group from attending.
In the end you want to choose a property that will offer your group facilities & guest services that enhance the mission of the event.