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Amy Abbott Photo by Julieta Amezcua

Tips on Taking Corporate Retreats Beyond Borders

This destination expert shares the best ways to get clients out of town for unforgettable events.

Corporate retreats are great for employee bonding, but more and more companies are looking to use retreats as a high-level incentive experience as well. What better way to reward employees for their hard work than a trip to enjoy some sun, sea and a margarita? Taking the team on an overseas retreat can be just the answer.

Of course, companies need the help of event professionals to plan and coordinate travel, accommodations, and even the scheduling and logistics of their stay. That’s where you come in. Here are some tips on how to plan a killer corporate retreat that will have clients wanting to come back year after year.

1. Pick a great location.
This is different for every client and their team, so be sure to get to know the company’s values and gauge what interests them most. Beach destinations are often the top choice, but be careful to plan around the rainy season. For most oceanside locales, August and September are the rainiest, but it varies, so be sure to do your due diligence.

Take a look at a property’s amenities to ensure that it fits their needs. Some resorts even offer retreat packages with team-building activities and excursions. If your clients are wary about working outside of the country, rest assured that there are countless hotels and resorts at home that accommodate meetings and retreats.

2. Help your client prepare employees.
Even if this isn’t your client’s first retreat, they can always use a little help to get their employees prepared for the trip.

Create a packing checklist for travelers to ensure that nobody ends up in Mexico without their computer charger or prescription medication. For some, it might be their first time traveling internationally, so include some information on international travel and their destination. Including a pocket-sized language guide or some cultural treats from the destination is fun idea to get people excited. 

3. Plan schedules strategically.
Retreats are about making the most of the brief period out of the office, so a logical schedule is a must-have.

Work on an itinerary early in the process so that your client and their guests can mentally prepare and plan for things to do in their downtime. The less guesswork they have to do, the more enjoyable the experience will be.

My clients typically have one day to relax and two meeting days, with long lunch breaks and evening activities scheduled every night for a bit of R&R. If spouses are invited, you will also need to consider activities to keep them occupied during the day.

Destination retreats will never lose its appeal--a company can choose to go to a different locale each year for a new and exciting experience. Some places will even offer incentives such as tax refunds or significant property discounts, which just adds to the list of reasons for destination retreats to become a long-standing company tradition.

Amy Abbott is the owner of Amy Abbott Events, a design and event planning company based in Los Cabos, Mexico, that specializes in destination weddings. Amy Abbott Events creates event experiences designed to evoke emotion and exhibit the personalities of their clients, exceeding expectations every time.

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