The single best way to ensure your retreats will be successful is with a productive planning visit to the retreat centers under consideration. Sometime you cannot visit the camp retreat centers in person, but these tips will help you make the best decision possible, even if the “visit” is virtual. This list of preparatory measures will not only save you time, but also provide your partner retreat venue with everything they need to do the best job for your upcoming event.
Build a Personal and Professional Relationship
In addition to the legal business partnership you may have with the retreat center, you are now presented an opportunity to set the foundation for a lasting relationship. Seize it! Every positive working relationship builds a reputation for both you and your group. You also never know when you could need a favor.
Stay the Night
Experience is key! The best possible thing you can do for your group is put yourself in their shoes. Stay a night in the same rooms you are providing for your retreat. Make sure to (at least request to) see all the venue’s amenities, types of rooms, and take in all the sights the retreat participants will be expecting. This is the best kind of quality control you can provide! Additionally, the retreat center’s Event Manager should be able to provide a reduced rate room for your stay. The prolonged stay will be invaluable to the aforementioned relationship you are trying to build with the venue. It shows a more serious and lasting interest than just business quality control.
Be organized and specific when it comes to scheduling. By specifying start and end times for every aspect of the meetings and phone calls about the retreat you will ensure that important meetings between you and your point of contact are well organized, timely, and will help you maximize the already limited time you have together. It seems simple, but you would be surprised how often meetings are cut short due to conflicting commitments on either end.
Have a copy of your contract in front of you and your contact so you can go over it together. You may need to refer to the contractual terms and conditions during your visit or call with the prospective retreat venue. Having it available for a quick-reference will help avoid any follow-up delays.
No Question Left Unanswered
Compose a list of questions accounting for any and all scenarios, unknowns, and potential issues. Make sure to check them off, follow them up, and review them as they are answered. This is yet another small but powerful quality control service you can provide, and by keeping a written record of it, the process becomes both organized and concrete. Once you finish your visit or meeting, share what you learned with the retreat director of the property so they can make sure you understand the same thing about the property and retreat details.
Request diagrams and room descriptions in advance. You can both refer to the same spot when laying out retreat details.
If you cannot visit in person, ask the property to send you photos of many locations. Some retreat centers may be uncomfortable about doing this because their photography is not first-rate. If this is the case, explain to them how important it is that you both visualize the same spots when planning for the upcoming retreat.
Most retreat venues will be happy to provide you with references from groups that have previously held retreats at their camps. Be sure to speak with them in advance so they can give you suggestions for the best use of the spaces and amenities available.
Remember, retreat centers at camps have many more options than most hotels, so think creatively when planning meals and gatherings!
Taking these simple steps can help ensure the retreat center you decide on is appropriate for your specific needs.
By Jaynie Schutlz, Co-Founder, Retreat Central
Jaynie Schultz created Garrett Creek Ranch with her mother more than 20 years ago. She served as the founding Director of Sales and Marketing and is involved in many non-profit organizations and leadership development programs.