Creating a successful events strategy is critical to building connections within organizations and fostering a sense of belonging. Offsites and retreats are one way to achieve this, but the term now encompasses a wide range of team and company events that may not even require participants to leave their usual workspace. However, research shows that in-person events are essential for company success, with 85% of senior managers, executives, and board members agreeing that they are a useful time to collaborate, meet key objectives, and strengthen relationships with colleagues and clients.
Planning a single event can be challenging, let alone creating a comprehensive strategy that considers when, where, and how events take place. It's crucial to think beyond the scope of a single offsite or retreat and consider the cadence of these events, how they align with other engagement strategies and goals, and how they can reflect the unique identity and vision of your organization.
To better understand industry standards and tailor events strategies, Retreat customers were asked several questions about their offsite planning practices. The responses offer valuable insights into event goals, booking timelines, frequency, and duration.
The majority of organizations (58%) view offsites and retreats as a dual-purpose event, aiming to discuss and strategize around key business topics while also giving people the opportunity to have fun and build better relationships. As for booking timelines, there is a somewhat even spread between organizers booking events between one and four months in advance, with a small majority at two to four months. Beginning earlier, however, allows for more access to ideal options.
The frequency of offsites and retreats depends greatly on the size of the company. While a small startup may only host one or two company-wide retreats per year, other organizations may host one or two for every team, potentially amounting to dozens of events per year. Two events per year are a common and often successful strategy, according to the survey.
The typical length of an in-person offsite or retreat is three days or more, with 60% of respondents opting for a multi-day event. When attendees travel from all over the country and the world, it makes sense to make the most of their time together, allowing for more opportunities to build relationships and achieve event goals.
Lastly, measuring the success of an offsite or retreat is vital. While attendee surveys remain the gold standard of event feedback, assessing how eager participants are for the next event and determining what they want more or less of on the agenda can be equally telling. Overall, developing a comprehensive events strategy that considers the unique needs of your organization is a full-time job, but it is essential for building connections and achieving long-term success.
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