You've finally found just the right combination. Everyone LOVED your last retreat! You had record attendance and people are STILL talking about how awesome it was. So you're good. No need to change things now...right? Wrong. This is the perfect time to get the team together and celebrate the things that clearly made the difference and start working on the ideas that are going to make the next retreat even more amazing.
Remember, your attendees have so many demands on their time and money, and we live in such an exciting, instant gratification world, that you're going to have to change as fast as it does to stay competitive with their other options. Don't rest on the idea that people will come because they "should", or they are part of the group, so of course they'll come.
In a tough economy, providing the best bang for your buck is going to get people off their couch, away from their iPhone, iPad, xBox, and Kindle Fire, and to your event. Now don't misunderstand me...bang for your buck does NOT mean putting on the cheapest event you can possibly manage. It means providing value for the price you are charging. If you put on a "cheap retreat" people are going to expect a "cheap experience". Of course, if you ask them to invest a little more in the retreat, remember that they are going to expect more of an investment from you...meaning, it better not be the exact same retreat they came to last time, no matter how great it was.
So after you've thought you've put everything you had into the last retreat and it worked, how are you supposed to top that? Don't just change the theme and keep the program; naming something differently doesn't make it new. Find your hinge moment. What was the one thing in your retreat that really made the difference? What one thing took your retreat from good to GREAT? Start with changing or building on that element. Was it the speaker? Was it one of your educational sessions? Was it your team building session? Was it a game you played? If you pinpoint that hinge moment, you'll have the key to creating the success of your next retreat. So get out the toolbox, disassemble the parts of your last retreat, and start building for the success of the next one!
What have you learned from taking apart your last retreat?