It’s 10:00 AM. There’s a 10-person-deep line forming at registration. Your keynote speaker wants to update their slide deck 15 minutes before going on stage, and it looks like it’s going to rain on your poolside welcome reception.
But, it’s all good.
Because you have the staffing schedule, you’re already pulling in a greeter to help with registration, you’re equipped with empty thumb drives, and you’ve got an indoor venue backup on standby because you are a corporate event planning star, and you’ve planned for everything, ready for anything. That is the corporate retreat motto.
Understanding The Purpose
In the initial stages of planning a corporate retreat, it all comes down to one thing – purpose. Ask the question, why are we doing this? Has a long period of remote working post-Covid have everyone in desperate need of face-to-face interaction and a chance to get on the same page as an organization? Does an extremely grueling busy year need to be capped off with some much-deserved fun? Are you trying to connect your company with its clients and suppliers? Is it all 3?!
All these situations will require different activities, space needs, locations, etc. Understanding the purpose of your corporate event will help set the tone for everything else. It also allows you to plan around what you want your attendees to walk away from the event learning and understanding.
Plan Out Your Why, What, Who, When, Where
All the W’s of the event should be determined as a group with the key players involved – Why, What, Who, When, Where.
“Why,” we’ve already established is our purpose. “What”— a corporate retreat, obviously. “Who”— who is invited? “When”— when is it? “Where”— where is it? It is then up to the event planner to figure out all of the How’s, for example:
- How will we choose a venue that will accommodate our special needs, number of people, and budget?
- How will everyone get there?
- How will each day be laid out so we maximize time and money?
Getting the groundwork figured out first and foremost will help make the rest of the process easier to plan for.
Get Budget Approved
The second item (and the least fun): Budget. Whomp, whomp. This is the real fun sucker of any event planner with dreams of being Mindy Weiss, but in the corporate world especially, it’s very necessary. Retaining a clear budget from the beginning will help set expectations and shape the itinerary of any event. Ensure to meet with the executive team or whoever is the decision-maker for budgeting your corporate event. The best thing to figure out is how much are you willing to spend per person including travel. If you are not paying for travel that can help cut some costs and allow you to have more budget for the event. Having the budget ahead of time also lets you decide on the location, entertainment, food, and how much you will need to allocate to each.
Select Your Venue
Selecting your venue for your corporate event or retreat is probably the most challenging part. So think about the main purpose of your event to begin with. If it’s meant to be a small gathering for the leadership team and managers, then picking a venue that is more intimate might work best. If the purpose of the event is to have a bunch of team-building activities, selecting a venue that already has those available will make it easier for your corporate event! The more the venue offers to take some tasks off your plate the better! Otherwise whatever the location lacks will leave you having to scramble to have to figure out how to fill in the gaps.
Start Planning Your Timeline
You’ve met with the decision-makers. You know how much money you have to work with, you have your W’s answered, you’re working out your “how’s,” and with your purpose in mind, you are pushing forward everyday little by little. The most important thing to maintain throughout the entire process is the motto – “plan for everything, ready for anything.” All of your information is meticulously organized so if you need to quickly look something up, you know exactly where to find it. This means excel sheets, bookmarked websites, online planning tools, folders and labels, and everything in between. You have a contact sheet of numbers and emails for everyone you have worked with along the way. You’ve communicated this information thoroughly and clearly to everyone involved via calls, in-person meetings, and follow-up documents for easy reference. By the time you step foot on-site, this corporate event should run itself.
Make It Memorable with Swag
It’s almost hard to think about a corporate event or retreat without discussing swag! Having branded swag throughout the event really helps elevate the overall experience and will get your co-workers or clients excited for the corporate event to come! There are many ways to really help incorporate branded swag into your corporate event whether its part of a party when they walk in or simply a nice swag bag inside their hotel. Here are some of our favorite corporate swag ideas for events!
Sure you can send an invitation via email to help save costs, but if you want people to get excited about their next corporate event or have them arrive at your event wearing some swag, this is a great way to do it! It also allows for people to post online about your event in advance! It’s a great way to bump up registrations if this event is open to the public.
Registration Swag Bag
Nothing says “welcome to the event” like registration swag! It can help set the tone for the corporate event and get your attendees excited about what’s to come! What’s great about this offering swag at registration or check-in, is that you can include information and common questions attendees might have. So it can offset some questions coming your way, which is a plus! If you are staying at a hotel for guests to check-in, you can either have the front desk hand them out or have them ready in the rooms! What service!
Party & Giveaway Event Swag
People love to be surprised! So having some sweet swag along the event will really get everyone amped! Whether you are doing a competition, handing out our awards or simply getting everyone excited for some entertainment! Having some branded swag sprinkled throughout the event can also help make the event get shared more through social media or make it more memorable.
Let’s go, event planner! You are ready to throw the best corporate event anyone has ever seen! Remember keep your purpose in mind and the rest will make sense as to what you need to plan! Ensure you map out the details, run through them a few times, and once it’s all over with you can plan for the next one!
If you are looking for more swag ideas for event swag, we have you covered! Our team can help source fun and unique items to help your corporate event be a hit! Check us out here!