We talk so much about planning a retreat and what that entails for the planner. Staying organized is one of the best ways to ensure success. However, guests need information, too. As you plan, you will become accustomed to the details about the property (room names, lodging buildings, recreation and team building activities) but that doesn’t mean guests will. They have not been through the planning process with you, and thus must be given the necessary information to know what they are supposed to be doing on the retreat.
Details about the event start with date and location. Obviously, no one can attend an event they can’t get to on the right day. Make sure to let guests know, whether in an email, text, or flyer, where to meet and at what time. This is especially important when carpooling, because you want to make sure no one gets left without a ride.
Property maps show guests where to go once they make it on the grounds, considering most retreat centers aren’t all contained in one building. A great way to distribute these maps is in a welcome folder, which can also include emergency numbers and itinerary. To really help guests out, put a small property map in the back of their name tag. That way, they always have it with them to use as a quick reference.
Speaking of name tags, these are a must for large groups where everyone doesn’t know each other. It is specifically helpful at retreat centers that host more than one group at a time, so that group members can recognize fellow guests.
Lodging layouts, if the property has them, are a great way to show guests where they need to go. Property maps are helpful, too, but they don’t do a lot of good once guests get into the building. If you have a guest check-in, you can simply circle or point out the direction in which they are headed. This may not seem like a big necessity, but it can really help with confusion that can start the retreat off in a bad way.
Cost! Many guests will base their decision about going on how much they will have to pay. Let guests know as soon as possible how much per person. Talk numbers with the venue first, because no one is going to be happy to find out after they paid that they owe more. Don’t be vague either. Choose an exact number and stick with it.
An itinerary is important for guests to know when things are scheduled. Many places that include dining have specific times for groups to eat so that the dining hall doesn’t become congested. Therefore, guests need to know what time they are supposed to be eating. The same thing applies for recreation and meetings. When a retreat center hosts multiple groups at a time, proper scheduling keeps the day flowing smoothly. Now, it doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute, just make sure guests know when and where their scheduled events are.
For additional information, provide guests with the website for the venue. Most are kept up with information, pictures and forms that will help guests better familiarize themselves with the property.
Since you are the event planner, we know you have the low down on all the happenings of your upcoming retreat. But what do guests know?