Some top tips for running a successful retreat - part two, the venue.
So you have decided to run a retreat. You can picture it clearly, your group enjoying the sunshine as you all work on your businesses, sharing ideas and getting inspired. You are super excited, and yet you are not sure where to start. This post is here to help you.
Do you want a venue for exclusive use? Note that less attendees means a greater cost per head.
If people drop out, can you offer their rooms back to the hotel to sell to the public, if you want to that is?
Does anyone have accessibility needs?
What are the reception hours? Remember that not all receptions are manned 24 hours.
Are you booking specific room types or will you get Run of House, which could be a mix of what is available on the dates of your event. If they are offering Run of House, what is the likelihood that you and your guests may have to change rooms during your stay?
Are some guests more important than others? It is important to communicate any hieararchy to the venue so that they know who to allocate the best rooms.
If you will have people sharing rooms, ask how many rooms can be twin bedded? Some smaller venues do not have any twin rooms, so never assume.
Is Wifi available in the bedrooms? Is it included or chargeable? Some properties only have wifi available in the public areas?
Are there and coffee facilities in the rooms?
What about irons and ironing boards? Some countries have regulations that say irons are not allowed in the bedrooms, so there may be an ironing room, or you may have to send items to be pressed, for a fee.
Most hotels will have hairdryers, are they fixed to the wall or professional hairdryers? It can be frustrating for people sharing rooms if the only hairdyer is in the bathroom. More frustrating still are those hairdryers that send out a weak draught of warm air, no-one has the time or patience for those anymore, so you might advise guests to bring their own.
Is drinking water provided in the rooms? How many bottles per day?
Do the rooms have a mini bar? and is it complimentary or chargeable?
Can you photograph and film around the property and use for your promotional/marketing material? Are there restrictions? Is there a contract? I have put this in bold because this is extremely important and often forgotten.
If you need to have a meeting room:
Do the meeting rooms have natural daylight? If they do not, does that rule this venue out?
How close are the toilets to the meeting room? Nearby or in another building? Meaning, should you plan for toilet breaks to avoid distruption.
Are there break out areas in case you want to split into smaller groups for a task? If so, are they chargeable?
What AV equipment is included?
Will the hotel provide local adaptors? How many? And is there a charge?
Will the room be “dressed”? Do you want fresh flowers? Tablecloths? Any additional charges for this?
Do they provide place cards? Notebooks? Pens? A flipchart? A laser pointer?
Is there a printer in the room? If you will need one , will there be an extra charge?
Where will you have your coffee breaks? If you will your breaks in the meeting room, arrange the time for the break and also for the dirty cups and plates to be cleared.
Is there a phone in the meeting room ? Perhaps you need assistance with the AV equipment, or more refreshments.
Will there be a member of staff designated to your group? It is always easier to have one point of contact for the duration of your visit.
If there is a Spa, is spa access included in the room rate?
The above is a list of some questions to ask, that will help you to understand your needs and what to expect from the venue, especially if you have not already seen it.