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7 Top Company Retreat Cost Optimization Hacks to Have a Budget-Friendly Day Out

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

7 Top Company Retreat Cost Optimization Hacks to Have a Budget-Friendly Day Out

Managing company retreat cost is a core part of corporate retreat planning. While it’s important to make any business getaway as productive and enjoyable as possible, these benefits must be balanced against the available budget, so that your business is able to see a solid return on investment. 

In this post, we’ll help you figure out how to price a retreat, taking into account a variety of factors to enable you to get the best value for money for your team trip. A great company event doesn’t have to cost the earth if you stick to a few simple principles.

Looking to provide the best retreat experience to your team? We have compiled a thoughtfully curated list of the best company retreat locations,  corporate retreat plannerscompany retreat agenda templates, and best executive retreat ideas to help you curate an unforgettable experience for your team.

Our article on corporate retreat gifts offers ideas on choosing gifts that serve as a token of appreciation. Additionally, explore our virtual retreat ideascorporate retreat activitiesluxury corporate retreatssmall business retreat ideasone day company retreat ideasall-inclusive corporate retreats, and executive burnout retreats  uncovering how these retreats can restore your well-being and improve overall productivity.

For more inspiration, have a look at our comprehensive resources on stories of companies that have successfully organized corporate retreats, and the fascinating history of corporate retreats.

1. Why It Is Important to Manage Cost During Company Retreats

Why it is important to manage cost during company retreats

1.1. Ensures Long-term Sustainability

Ideally, you want to be able to offer a corporate retreat for your staff at least annually. To make that possible, the cost needs to be a manageable expense, so that you can continue to whisk employees away year after year.

1.2. Protects Company’s Bottom Line

Out of control company retreat costs can have a detrimental impact on your company’s profitability. This scenario is easily avoidable with the aid of a set budget and a savvy approach to digging up ideas.

1.3. Enhances Employee Morale

Excessive spending on retreats can lead to resentment among employees who may feel that the resources could have been used for more meaningful initiatives. Effective cost management helps maintain employee morale.

1.4. Demonstrates Accountability & Responsibility

Managing costs fosters a lean mindset, minimizing waste and maximizing existing resources. Having a degree of accountability for the budget can only improve efficiency and reassure the finance department that every penny is being well spent.

1.5. Helps Evaluate ROI

What is the value of a retreat? To figure out whether you are getting a good return on investment (ROI), you need to make sure the benefits in productivity and staff wellbeing outweigh the company retreat cost. This isn’t always a simple calculation, but if you manage your budget effectively, you should be able to get a good ballpark idea.

2. What Are the Different Factors That Affect Company Retreat Costs?

2.1. Location

How do you calculate retreat cost? Well, there are quite a few line items to take into account. The first is location. A five-star resort in Hawaii is clearly going to be a lot more expensive than a camping experience on a rustic ranch, but you might also find it’s cheaper to book a retreat in affordable European countries like Portugal or Czechia than it is to book a retreat in expensive US states like California or New York.

2.2. Destination

Linked to location is the distance of a destination from your office or your remote workers’ homes. To use the same example from the last point, California may be more expensive than Portugal, but if your company is based in Oregon, the travel costs to visit Lake Tahoe are obviously going to be smaller than they are to visit Lisbon.

2.3. Duration

Duration

Corporate retreats usually range from a couple of days to a whole week. The former, however, is likely to be considerably less costly. Consider how many days you really need to spend on the getaway and whether you can achieve your objectives over a shorter time than you originally estimated.

2.4 Number of Participants

Company retreat cost tends to go up according to the number of participants, as most places will charge per head or per bed. Having said that, some venues will offer better deals for larger groups, so you could actually end up spending less per employee the larger your team.

2.5. Accommodations

Individual en suites, lodges with bunk beds, and camping tents are just some of the different types of accommodation you may come across during your corporate retreat research. Each option will have a different cost associated with it, so decide how comfortable or communal you want to make the retreat experience. Bear in mind that if team members share rooms, it can reduce the overall expenditure by a sizable chunk.

2.6. Activities & Entertainment

If you plan to organize adventure activities, a live band, or facilitator-led workshops, these will all increase the expense of your corporate retreat. For businesses trying to keep to a strict budget, something like an all-inclusive, 3 day health retreat cost of a simple wellness facility will keep things affordable.

2.7. Miscellaneous Expenses

Finally, the last company retreat cost to take into consideration is the miscellaneous extras. These often include such things as food, drink, and any local transportation between your accommodation and nearby conference venues, activity centers, or tourist attractions.

3. How to Plan the Budget for a Company Retreat?

3.1. Set a Fixed Budget for the Retreat

The first thing to do when planning a budget for a company retreat is to allot a fixed total amount of money to the event. This way, you’ll have a concrete figure in mind that you cannot exceed. Without this kind of definite number, it’s easy for spending to spiral and ROI to dive.

3.2. Allocate Funds for Different Expenses in Advance

There are four main buckets of expenditure for a company retreat: accommodation, transportation, activities, and catering. Allocate funds for each one ahead of time so you have a clearer picture of how you intend to spend the overall budget.

3.3. Track and Monitor the Funds

Tracking how much money you are spending (or will potentially spend) as you progress your retreat planning will help you stay on track with your finances. There’s a lot of sophisticated budget software on the market today, but you can also set up your own company retreat cost calculator using a simple Excel sheet.

3.4. Go for Contingency Planning

Always have a back up plan. The last thing you want is for something to fall through and not have a secondary option, as last-minute scrambling can be extremely costly. Consider if there are any potential risks to the successful execution of your retreat and set aside a portion of your budget to cover these risks accordingly.

4. 7 Tips to Plan a Budget-friendly Company Retreat

4.1. Research Cost-effective Locations

As we’ve already noted, you get more bang for your buck in some places than others. A good way to start finding cost-effective locations is to search for venues in states or countries that have a lower cost of living. If your company employs a lot of remote workers, try to triangulate which locations are in the middle for everyone, as this will save them time in transit and the company money on transportation.

4.2. Consider Visiting During the Off-season

Retreat prices dip dramatically during quieter times of year. These are generally months like March, April, May, September, and October, which for many companies coincides with when staff have the least familiar commitments and are thus able to take part in a company event. Try to avoid the summer vacation and end-of-year holiday season, when increased demand for flight and accommodation sees airlines and hotels bump up their fees..

4.3. Opt for Ridesharing and Carpooling for Efficient Transportation

Another easy way to keep the company retreat cost down is to make sure everybody is ridesharing and/or carpooling where possible, so that instead of reimbursing four separate receipts for taxis or petrol, you’re only covering one. Alternatively, you may find it’s most cost effective to arrange for a large bus to ferry employees between locations.

4.4. Ditch Luxury and Choose Local Accommodations

Forget the glitzy tech company retreats of Silicon Valley unicorns, you can host an absolutely brilliant company getaway in a nearby AirBnB or a down-home ranch in the not-too-distant countryside. Remember that high expenditure doesn’t necessarily translate into an effective corporate shindig. The focus will be on the activities more than anything else, which means you can afford to fall back on accommodation that is fairly simple, albeit clean and comfortable.

4.5. Focus on Low-cost, High-impact Activities

Escape rooms and scavenger hunts are some of the most popular company retreat activities because they deliver memorable team-bonding experiences for a relatively low price. There are even a few sociable pursuits that can be arranged for absolutely nothing, such as a team hike or icebreaker games, but that still provide excellent opportunities for employees to get to know one another better.

4.6. Encourage BYOB or Team Potluck Dinners

We’ve already mentioned that one of the core expenses of a company retreat is the catering, so why not cut back on that area entirely? Potluck dinners allow your staff to show off their culinary creativity and cultural heritage, while asking people to bring their own booze means they can enjoy their favorite tipple, rather than having to fall back on whatever the consensus option is.

4.7. Cut Down the Duration of Stay

The most obvious way to reduce company retreat cost is to keep things short and sweet. By drafting an efficient schedule, you can pack in plenty of skills building, team bonding, and other corporate getaway fun into a relatively short space of time. In fact, you may find that a longer company event actually results in a loss of focus that undermines your overarching retreat objectives.

5. FAQs

5.1. How much should an offsite cost?

Pinpointing a company retreat cost is a tough task because there are so many factors to take into account, such as duration and destination. To give you a general idea, however, companies will usually quote anywhere from $2,000 per person to $4,000 per person for three to four nights.

5.2. How do you structure a company retreat?

It’s a good idea to have a mixture of activities and experiences, so that all attendees stay engaged. For example, you might start the day with some communication workshops, followed by a motivational speaker, before taking everyone outside for some fun team-building activities like archery or white-water rafting.

5.3. What are the benefits of retreats?

Retreats have been shown to have many benefits, including increased productivity, improved motivation, stress reduction, more cohesive teamwork, and greater loyalty to the company. It’s up to you which aspects you wish to prioritize.

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