4 Insider Secrets for Successful Retreat Planning

February 10, 2024
Milana Martinovic

Milana has been involved in hospitality and events her entire career. Her journey in operations, support and distributed work started with Airbnb and continues among other startups in the ever evolving tech space. The two worlds connected 6 years ago when Milana got involved with building one of the frontrunners in the company retreat market in the evolving space of remote work. OnsiteHub was created as a culmination of 20 years experience in hospitality, tourism and startups to help distributed teams get together and enhance culture and connection.

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Discover four essential secrets that can transform your retreat planning process. From leveraging shoulder season advantages to understanding blackout dates and group booking dynamics, these insights will help you optimize your retreat experience. Let's uncover the hidden truths and actionable strategies for successful retreat planning.

Secret #1: Unveiling the Power of Shoulder Season

Maximize your retreat's potential by harnessing the benefits of shoulder season. While the individual hospitality industry recognizes high and low seasons, company retreats thrive during shoulder season—the sweet spot between offseason and peak season. As individuals typically vacation during the summer, companies still seek opportunities to leverage pleasant weather in various locations. May/June and September/October emerge as the ultimate high seasons for company retreats, which usually leads to the common mistake of assuming lower group pricing in September, for example.

Instead, opt for the optimal combination of lower prices and favorable weather in Mediterranean destinations during March/April and October.

Secret #2: Understanding the Impact of Blackout Dates

Take note of blackout dates, a vital consideration in retreat planning. Accommodation venues often have blackout dates, during which group bookings, promotions, and special offers are not available. These dates are strategically chosen based on high demand, including holidays, festivals, conferences, and peak travel seasons. When determining your retreat dates, wise selection and accounting for external factors like local events and bank holidays are crucial. Remember, blackout dates not only affect accommodation availability but also limit options for restaurants and team-building activities.

Secret #3: Debunking the Myth of Cheaper Group Bookings

Contrary to popular belief, group bookings are not always more affordable than individual ones. In the hospitality industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, activities, and transportation providers, group bookings can sometimes come with higher costs. Revenue management plays a significant role in this pricing structure. For instance, airline tickets follow complex pricing structures influenced by demand, discounts, seat availability constraints, and the intricacies of managing group bookings. Hotels and accommodations adopt a similar approach. Instead of booking out an entire venue for specific dates, they strategically allocate rooms for different booking seasons, allowing them to adjust prices and maximize revenue.

Venue buyouts present an even more intricate situation. While a full venue buyout may seem like a great deal, it can potentially result in revenue loss for the establishment. Factors such as limited availability for other guests, additional staffing requirements, venue customization, and disrupted supply and demand dynamics often lead to higher price tags. The same holds true for restaurants and activity providers who must make advanced preparations, source adequate ingredients, and hire extra staff to accommodate large groups.

Secret #4: Leveraging the Benefits of Specialized Group Travel Companies

Collaborating with specialized group travel companies can help reduce costs, even after factoring in their fees, as they negotiate exclusive deals and discounted rates for bulk bookings. However, these discounts are typically specific to the arrangements made with the travel company, making standalone group bookings more complex. These companies possess negotiated deals and contracts with suppliers, enabling them to offer discounted rates for bulk bookings. This collaboration helps mitigate the complexities of one-off group bookings. While the discounts may not be widely accessible to individual travelers, they can ultimately contribute to cost savings, in addition to tapping into their wealth of expertise.

By applying these four retreat planning secrets, you can optimize your company's retreat experience. Leverage the power of shoulder season, navigate blackout dates, understand the dynamics of group bookings, and consider the benefits of collaborating with specialized companies, such as OnsiteHub. Implementing these strategies will enhance your retreat planning process and deliver a successful and memorable event.


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