Some top tips for running a retreat – Part one, the attendees:
Be clear about what is included, accommodation, food, drinks etc. Is tea, coffee, water and soft drinks included and do they pay for their own alcohol or are drinks only included at sessions and mealtimes.
Are they expected to find their own way to the venue? Is there any easy way for them to chat to the other attendees and potentially share a taxi or car hire?
Are they expected to share rooms? What is the supplement for anyone wanting their own room?
Sounds obvious but check the flight schedules if travelling off or low season, some flights only operate at certain times of the year. Seasonal flights might mean that some people will not or cannot attend.
One of the biggest gripes from attendees is the extra costs. e.g the cost of a taxi to the venue. The fact that they cannot fly in on the start day and out on the last day, so have to find accommodation for pre and post event.
Is there a preferred rate available for any attendees wishing to arrive earlier or stay on later?
Is there an additional charge if they want to bring a friend/ spouse to share their room but not attend the event? Do you even allow this?
Be clear on the dress code for your sessions and any activities you have planned.
Make sure the wifi and mobile reception is good enough – attendees might run their own business and need to be contactable or have family with whom they need to able to check in with daily.
Here's to your success!
Celebrating another successful event!
Some of your guests will have dietary requirements - so ask, ask and ask again. Reassure them that their requests will be taken into account at all times. Be clear on what is a requirement and what is a Medical Requirement – if someone is anaphylactic, this needs to be taken very seriously.
Confirm the menus for everyone, especially those with dietary requirements, over and over again, including when you arrive at the venue, and before each meal, don't assume that because you told the venue months ago, that they have remembered. There is nothing worse than communicating your dietary requirements well in advance and then being handed a plate of bread because they thought that vegetarians eat fish! I can guarantee you that it reflects as badly on the organiser, as it does on the venue. I know this from personal experience.
Also note any prefences for herbal teas, non-dairy or lactose free milk.
Allergies and phobias – check for allergies re bedding, hayfever, animals – were you planning to go horse riding or do a flower arranging class. Is anyone scared of heights, that cliff edge walk or zipwire might not go down well with some people – rather than make their phobias become a big deal, have alternative activities available.
Are there tea / coffee facilities in the room? Hairdryers? Complimentary water?
What are the power sockets like and do they need to bring adaptors?
Remind them to check their passport validity, visa requirements for their nationality and please recommend, very highly, that they have travel insurance.
Also, be very clear - what are your deposit, balance and cancellation terms.
If you are planning a retreat for your membership community let me know. I will take the hassle out of sourcing and booking the perfect location, so you can concentrate on your content.