FREE Webinar: 'Immersive Experiences Unveiled'
Join us for a FREE webinar, 'Immersive Experiences Unveiled,' on July 25.

Guest Column: 4 Tips for Balancing Work and Relaxation at Corporate Retreats

Margaritaville Hotel Nashville’s director of sales and marketing shares tips for maximizing productivity and relaxation at corporate retreats.

Tips for Balancing Work and Relaxation at Corporate Retreats
The Seagrass meeting room at Margaritaville Hotel Nashville.
Photo: Courtesy of Margaritaville Hotel Nashville

Michelle Stuermer is the director of sales and marketing at Margaritaville Hotel Nashville. With more than 20 years of professional experience in hospitality, sales, marketing, revenue management, and operations, Stuermer helps spearhead growth, on-site activations, and the overall marketing strategy at Margaritaville Hotel Nashville.Tips for Balancing Work and Relaxation at Corporate RetreatsMichelle StuermerPhoto: Courtesy of Margaritaville Hotel Nashville

As event planners navigate the exciting return of in-person meetings, it’s important to consider how to get the most out of your face-to-face gathering. After all, the last thing you want your attendees to think when they leave is, “This could have been an email.”

While corporate retreats are great for aligning goals and strategy, they're also fantastic opportunities to instill a renewed sense of team camaraderie and bond over shared experiences. For that reason, event planners must think about ways to maximize enjoyment while ensuring the retreat is still highly productive and engaging.

There are several factors that companies should consider when planning retreats to strike the right balance between productivity and relaxation, including venue, amenities, group size, itinerary, and location. 

1. Find the right venue.
Finding the right venue for your group is one of the most important factors for boosting engagement and enjoyment. To start, consider what activities are on the agenda. If you plan to hold several team meals, networking sessions, and happy hours, consider choosing a venue with various on-site restaurants and dining options. If your group will have ample downtime, select a venue with workout spaces, pools, and spas where they can spend their free time.

No matter what activities you have planned, it’s important to choose a venue that encourages and embodies relaxation to show your attendees that you are committed to their work and health. This will help you set the tone for your attendees to be productive throughout their meetings, and take time to relax and grab a margarita at the end of the day.

2. Keep the group size and engagement in mind.
When planning a retreat, keeping your group size in mind is paramount to maintaining high engagement levels. I’ve found that larger groups respond well to longer presentations, while smaller groups tend to benefit more from breakouts, training activities, and ideation sessions. If you plan to host both large and small sessions, make sure to choose a venue with flexible spaces, so you can gather everyone together and have space for breakouts.

No matter the group size, gone are the days of dimly lit conference rooms and stuffy meeting halls. If you want to hold a beneficial conference, the environment needs to be conducive to productivity! Naturally lit meeting spaces are crucial in this endeavor, as research—including the Workplace Wellness Study shows—that natural light can significantly boost mood, wellness, creativity, and motivation.

3. Create a strategic and balanced itinerary.
Strategically planning your retreat itinerary is one of the best ways to maximize your attendees’ productivity and relaxation. Consider scheduling the lectures and educational portions of your conference in the mornings when your attendees will be the most alert and engaged. It's also important to offer enough breaks throughout sessions to allow people to move around, answer emails, and engage in organic conversations. Planning built-in breaks like group lunches can also give your group a nice intermission, allowing them to network and bond outside the meeting room.

One great way to keep your group engaged in the afternoon is by holding team-building activities and interactive sessions, so attendees can move around and get their blood flowing. At Margaritaville Hotel Nashville, we offer several interactive team-building activities with this goal in mind, such as our Lost Shaker of Salt Scavenger Hunt, where groups must work together to solve clues around the property.

4. Choose an inviting location.
Remember that in addition to boosting productivity, one of your primary goals is to host a memorable retreat for your attendees and reward them for their hard work. One of the best ways to achieve this is by planning your retreat in a city with ample attractions, restaurants, and activities you can enjoy as a group.

At Margaritaville Hotel Nashville, there are countless interactive activities just steps from the property that are perfect for groups of all sizes, whether it be catching a sports game at Bridgestone Arena or Nissan Stadium, touring the Country Music Hall of Fame or The Ryman Auditorium, or participating in a line dancing class on downtown Broadway. By choosing a location with various attractions nearby, you can make the most of your in-person experience and maximize the time for your attendees.

Choosing an inviting destination also allows your attendees to stay for a couple of extra days beyond the meeting dates to further explore the city without having to plan a separate trip. When organizing your conference, be sure to look into travel options to make sure that there are convenient ways to move to and from the venue, explore the city, and get to the airport if needed.

While there are many factors to consider for planning a relaxing and productive retreat, keeping your group’s unique needs in mind will help you make the right choices as you begin planning. Recognize that there is significant value in creating an engaging in-person experience, and that these events can produce tremendous long-term benefits, such as boosting employee retention and overall team morale. Taking time to plan a retreat that’s relaxing, intentional, and memorable will yield measurable, meaningful results for all parties involved.

Page 1 of 8
Next Page