Do you want to strengthen the bond between team members? Or are you planning to launch a major project? Chances are that it is challenging (or almost impossible) to squeeze in all the activities that are needed to achieve those goals in a one- or two-hour meeting. That is why many companies around the world choose to organize annual company retreats.
If you are planning to hold your company retreat overseas, e.g. London, it is a sound idea to book services pertaining to corporate transfers in London. These services ensure that your team and you can travel to any London destination safely and with exceptional ease. So, how should you plan for it? Let’s find out more!
Set the Goal, Set the Tone
If you do not have a specific goal in mind, then there is no point to a company retreat. A retreat that makes the team feel like “it’s just another day at work,” is not a good use of company time. Hence, make sure that your company retreat has a business purpose and a recreational one. You can start by writing down an accomplishment wish list. You must be able to realistically accomplish these goals within the time you have allotted yourself. Remember to break things down, i.e. determining how much time is needed for each item.
Let’s say that the purpose of the company retreat is to let people know more about your company. Additionally, you have a trip budget that can’t be exceeded. You can’t possibly invite all 350 employees under your wing. Hence, your invitees may include the senior management team and even a handful of customers if you want to learn how you can better serve your clientele. However, it is still possible to organize whole-company retreats. There are stellar outdoor spaces in London that can host such events (see venue recommendations below).
The Date of Your Company Retreat
It is useful to note that certain destinations have peak tourist seasons. If you travel to such destinations during that time, the price of accommodations and entertainment activities will be significantly higher. If you want to save as much money as possible, you may be better off booking in the off season. In the case of London, the best time to travel to the capital of England is March through May. Late spring is London’s prime tourist season.
Find Out if You Can “Piggy Back” Other Major Events
For some companies, it is good timing that their upcoming company retreat takes place before, during, or after the dates of a major event, e.g. an international conference or tradeshow. If possible, consider extending your hotel stay for a day or two. This way, you do not have to make double trips. So, plan your itinerary and piggy back these events, i.e. making them a part of your retreat activities.
Consider Hiring a Facilitator for Your London Company Retreat
The next step is to decide who is going to facilitate the retreat. A facilitator should be well-trained in group processes. The individual must be able to maintain a neutral position throughout debate and brainstorming sessions. There are two ways to approach this. One, you can hire a professional facilitator. His or her services may cost $5,000 per day. Alternatively, you can choose to facilitate your own retreat. In case you are an authority figure and the facilitator in the room, you must remember not to overstep your bounds. Every individual involved in the discussions should be able to speak openly.
Top Company Retreat Venues In and Near London
- Hampton Court House
This venue is perfect for company retreats, formal ceremonies, corporate dinners, and product launches. Its reception area can accommodate up to 300 individuals and the venue can seat up to 400 individuals. Hampton Court House offers maximum privacy, gorgeous gardens and parkland, and a unique heart-shaped lake. Its luxurious interior and 18th century design never ceased to amaze guests. There is ample space for facilitating team building exercises, outdoor workshops, and many more.
- Stoke Park
Stoke Park is located slightly out of London. It is approximately 35 minutes away from the capital. This is one of the best places for an off-site meeting. There are great facilities that can accommodate any team-building style. That’s not all. Stoke Park is home to a championship golf course, tennis courts, an award-winning spa, and a hotel with 49 bedrooms and has nine function rooms.
- Four Seasons Hampshire
The Four Seasons Hotel is nestled in the Hampshire countryside, which is about an hour outside of London. The venue has everything you need for a luxurious company retreat. Your team members and valued clients can make use of the 7,000 square feet meeting space (includes an elegant ballroom with its own private terrace), unwind in their stable block spa, and participate in an array of team-building activities, including a candlelit cruise down Basingstoke canal, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, and more.
- Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace offers gorgeous views of the London skyline and is a Grade II-listed building. It is large enough for massive, whole-company events. It has a venue capacity of 10,000 (reception) and 7,000 (conference). With the palace’s elegant settings, bright natural light, and lush greenery, your guests will be transported to a magical wonderland. Your company will have nothing but praises.
- The Garden Room at Syon Park
With an 800-people reception/buffet area and a 600-people conference area, The Garden Room is one of the best London venues for large-scale outdoor corporate events. It is a full-service corporate event venue (i.e. audio-visual services, dance floors, private parking, etc.) so you do not have to communicate with multiple vendors for your event. Next, it is located 10 miles from Central London. With 50 acres of gorgeous parkland, the park abounds with space. Your guests and you will definitely love the private gardens that border the gorgeous neoclassical Syon House. You should keep in mind that this venue is only available between May and September.
Always Remember to Book Early
As with most travel plans, booking hotels, flights, transportation early will get you better deals. So, plan far in advance to enjoy greater savings. If you are going in larger groups, you should always remember to book the right vehicles, e.g. 20-seater executive minibuses and MPVs, just to name a few.