Would you buy a house without looking at it first? I hope you said no. The same concept applies when hosting an event. Why book a retreat at a new location without taking a tour?
Planning a retreat can be extremely overwhelming, especially at a new venue. Luckily, many retreat facilities have people that are there to help you through the process, starting with a tour. This will give you a good lay of the land and allow you to learn more about all the property has to offer! In this portion of a 2-part blog series, we will look at information that will help you plan a successful property tour.
Before it even begins, you should be in contact with your tour guide and share as much information as possible. This will allow them to plan accordingly, making your visit as effective and efficient as possible. The more details you have, the more personalized your experience will be! Here are questions they will want to know your answers to:
- What are you planning to spend on your lodging and meals?
- How many people are you planning for?
- Do you have room for extras such as recreation and snack options?
This is helpful for the tour guide so they do not show you options that may be out of reach for your budget. They want you to have the best retreat, but they do not want to break the bank in the process.
- Your hourly breakdown is not necessary but having a general idea of when things will be taking place is very helpful.
- What time would you like to start meals?
- When and how long would you like your recreation activities?
Sometimes, there are multiple groups staying at a property at the same time. Mapping out your event schedule prior to your visit allows the tour guide to discuss alternate times or activities if there is a conflict with another group.
Overall look of the retreat:
- Will everyone stay together the entire time?
- Is your big group splitting into multiple smaller groups?
- If you need to split into smaller groups, will common areas work, or do you need more private settings?
- Do you plan to have a full band with lights and video, a very simple band set, or just a speaker?
- How do you want your spaces set up?
These details will allow your guide to show appropriate meeting rooms and to discuss how they can accommodate your group to the best of their ability.
- What style of lodging will you be needing for your group?
- Will anyone need special accommodations such as a ground level or wheelchair accessible room?
- Do you plan to have a pastor, guest speaker, or group leader stay in a suite?
By knowing your lodging needs, the tour guide will be able to show you all the possibilities to accommodate your group.
In addition to the list above, here are two more items that will help to make your experience even better!
If you are traveling a distance to the property, inquire about staying the night before. This will allow you to see and experience the lodging accommodations. Also, try to plan your schedule around a meal. I suggest beginning your tour with one. You can get a better feel for the whole dining experience, but it will also give you and your guide a chance to speak face to face and to cover your expectations and questions.
As you embark on this experience, remember that your guide is here to help you and to make sure that your visit, and especially your upcoming event, is the best it can be. The checklist above and the additional tips will help to ensure that this happens.