When word of mouth gets out that you’re looking for a place to host your gang, people can be really helpful with ideas. So helpful in fact, that it gets overwhelming. Whether you’re planning a family reunion, church getaway or a team building event for work, there are a few crucial elements to settle first.
1) Do we want to cook? Didn’t you think the first question would be about food? Let’s be practical! We all want to know what’s for dinner! The food question is a big issue because it could pare down the number of choices. Do you want to haul in food to grill yourselves, or do you want the food to be prepared and served in a dining hall? There are merits to both and they affect time, cost and atmosphere.
2) What kind of amenities do we want? Swimming? Fishing? Campfires? Spa Treatment? Golfing? The location can bolster your theme’s effect. For instance, a Boy Scout retreat would be out of place in a 5 Star Hotel. And many people prefer a mattress over sleeping on the ground in a camping area. So, find what works for you.
3) What size of group do you need to accommodate? While searching the internet for a retreat location, my co-coordinator came across a gorgeous setting with prayer gardens and a castle atmosphere. It wasn’t big enough for our retreat, but later we used it for a leadership training event!
Try several keywords when you Google places: retreat centers, vacations, and hideaways all convey the idea. When you think like a tourist, you can find things you may not have noticed before.
4) How far are you willing to drive? Even though a closer location is enticing for gas savings, it also presents a unique challenge. People feel free to come and go according to their own schedule! That means they miss out on group bonding time, as well as cheat themselves out of the amount of time needed to unwind. If they’re still running on their own timetable, have they really retreated from the daily grind?
5) How much will it cost? Your answers to all of the above questions will funnel down into this last major one. Cost will effect who can come and participate. If the cost is too high, you may eliminate someone who really needs to be there! Anything you can do to knock off some of the price will create goodwill and growth in the long run. Fundraisers in the months prior to your event are helpful, as well as build anticipation for what is to come.
Don’t let too many options cheat you out of finding the best option for your retreat. A little bit of research will launch you into the next phase of planning and equip you for the nuances of a great event!
You can find more articles like this, here.
For more tips on Retreat Planning, see my ebook, How to Plan a Women’s Retreat!