Budgeting for your next Company Retreat
We get it. The pandemic took the whole world and shook it up like an etch-a-sketch, leaving everyone feeling a bit sea-sick. Unfortunately, one of the areas that didn’t escape the consequences of the epidemic earthquake was retreats. (It goes without saying that this is a very small consequence compared to those who have lost their homes, families, and even life).
I bring this up not to put a damper on things, but rather to provide a bit of explanation behind our budgets. Before 2020, the average retreat was simply 2 nights and most clients could execute an EPIC offsite for about $550/night/person.
Now, things are different. The average retreat is 3 nights and the average budget is closer to $700/night/person. And while the epic feeling of team bonding during retreats hasn’t changed, if anything connections are craved more than ever, chances are your budget needs to be adjusted.
But don’t stress we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about setting a budget for your company retreat. Heck, we’ll even kick it old school and walk you through the equation, but don’t worry it won’t feel like your a boring high school trigonometry class. I like to think we have a little more spice than Mr. Williams, but I guess we’ll leave that for you to decide.
LET’S SET SOME GOALS
First things first, goal-setting. Coming up with a budget is great, but you need to know what you’re looking for in the retreat. So answer these questions. Feeling unstoppable and ready to skip to the good stuff; click here for a walk-through budget.
So goal-setting involves two parts: goals (duh) and requirements. Goals detail what you hope to achieve during this retreat. These will discuss the -vibe- of the event and if there’s anything you’d like to get done. Whereas requirements are absolute must-haves. This can detail transportation, space limitations, or even food allergies. Here are some ideas:
Create an organic way for team members to bond outside of work
Announce the launch of a new internal program
Connect new hires with colleagues outside of their department
Bond your remote team in person
Meals must include vegetarian options
Everyone needs their own room
The location must be 3 hours or less from the office
Rooms needed for breakout sessions
Venue must allow hard alcohol'
->Still having a hard time setting goals? Read More About Identifying the Vision, Goals and Budget.
FACTOR IT ALL IN
We still have one more step to do, before we’re ready to crunch the numbers. Now that you’ve set your goals you can consider some important factors. Here are all the things you’re going to want to set money aside in your budget for. Go through them and make a list of which have priority.
BUDGET BEST-CASE SCENARIOS
We already discussed all the factors that are included when setting a budget, but here’s how it applies. Let’s take a look at a general budget:
Food & Beverage: 25%
Team Building: 25%
Other: 15% *ground transport, workspace (if not included in venue budget), swag, etc.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Now let’s talk numbers. Okay, so we don’t have a whiteboard to write it all out, but we’ll do our best to walk you through it. And as always if you have any questions of want to look at customized numbers for your retreat, you can schedule a call with a representative!
The average retreat budget for 2022 is $2,500 per person. For this example, we’re going to be saying that this team has a total budget of $200k for a two night retreat with 100 attendees. They want this budget to include flights.
So we have a budget of $2k/per person.
First we have to eliminate the immediate expense flights (about $500) and agency costs ($150). Now, we’re left with $1,350/prsn “onsite experience budget.” This means we have $675 per person per night.
Everyone wants or needs their own room, so we’re going to take up to 35% of the night/person budget and that will be our Lodging/Venue Threshold. Meaning -> how much we’re comfortable spending on everyone simply having a room with a bed.
Our lodging budget is $236.25/room/night. Now, we can do quick google search of the venues we’re interested in to see what the advertised nightly rartes are for the dates we’re considering. We can quickly keep some venues in our list and will have to remove some as well.
You’ll now have $877.50 per person to invest in everything else. If we use the percentages above here’s the total breakdown per person:
Team Building: $337.50
We can also reverse engineer this budget. Think about your Vision and Goals and find a venue that looks like a winner.
Start with the per room per night. That’s going to be 35% of your total on-site experience budget.
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS
Numbers in hand, you can now discuss questions like:
How much is your team wanting to spend per person?
What locations will allow our dollar to go the furthest?
Will transportation be handled individually or as a group?
Tip: If you plan to travel 2 hours or less from your office, carpooling is a great way to save on transportation
Is your team comfortable with single or double occupation?
Tip: There are lots of amazing properties with condo-style accommodations that are great on the budget, but provide each guest with their private room and bathroom while sharing a kitchen and common space.
What meals will be central to the group experience?
We have found that a light lunch is a great way to splurge on an amazing Happy Hour and Dinner experience!
Know that even with a smaller budget, there are many ways you can organize an activity-packed retreat that aligns with your goals and vision, and also won’t hit too hard on the wallet such as utilizing local parks, beaches, or hiking trails for an afternoon adventure that are often free or only ask for a small donation to keep up the land.
Most of the retreat budget will go to items like lodging, transportation, meals, and alcohol. If you find the perfect venue or the ideal team-building experience that would be central to your retreat, you can always find ways to cut costs around the next corner. The best part about a retreat budget is that it’s YOUR budget, meaning you get to personalize it to what makes the most sense for your company. Willing to have a less luxurious lodging, great that’s more money you can spend on team bonding or happy hour. Or if that 5-star venue is not compromisable, save by sticking to cheaper team-bonding activities, like a day at the beach.
Heck, you might even be able to get them both. Before deciding on a venue, realize you have negotiating power with each property or vendor. Venues will be wanting to secure your business, and the more you spend with one location, vendor, or venue, the more leverage and negotiating power you have.
We know the beginning steps of retreat planning can be a daunting task, so we put together this Ebook to give you a head-start.
BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET
Are the numbers a bit scary? Here are some tips to lower the numbers:
Avoid Major Cities
It’s no secret that places like New York and San Fran have a way of shredding through your savings, so consider location when you go to book a place. Not to mention, there’s the added benefit that your teammates are less likely to have already explored smaller cities.
If zoom fatigue hasn’t hit yet, this might be the perfect option for your company. And if there’s anything the pandemic has shown us (you know besides the importance of washing your hands) it’s just how fun virtual events can be. Don’t believe us? Check out some of these EPIC ideas.
The old saying “it never hurts to ask,” couldn’t be any more relevant. You’d be surprised by the amount you’re able to negotiate when planning a retreat. Afraid of bargaining? Get someone else to do your dirty work. By someone else, I mean us. Schedule a consultation call with us today to see how we can get a great deal at stunning venues.
And because we’re a strong advocate of stretching out your pennies, here are some more tips on how to have a baller retreat on a bootstrap budget
Well, that’s enough money talk for now; are you ready to get started?