7 ways to choose your next company retreat location

Following our line of articles on how to set up the ideal retreat, today’s topic has quite a lot of people interested in it. How to choose the next company retreat location? As always, there’s no one correct answer – it depends on a variety of factors. However, here are some general guidelines.

1. For distributed teams: use Location Finder tool

If your team is distributed, it’s best to choose a retreat location that’s close to an international airport. This way, you’ll get the best price on flights.

If you don’t know which location to choose, AI is there to help.

Our tool called Location Finder can help you find the ideal location for your next retreat, if you have a distributed team. Simply enter all of the locations and Location Finder will calculate the best option that makes the most sense for everyone involved.

Whichever option you choose, try to minimize the time for traveling. Even if someone has to travel across the globe, never have them fly for more than 24 hours. Jump for pricier tickets if you can avoid longer layovers – your employees will appreciate it.

2. The length of the retreat

If the retreat only takes a couple of days, it’s best to have it somewhere in a city location. If you would like to organise a longer retreat (more than a week) many companies choose beach locations such as Ericeira or Gran Canaria and call it an "office swap".

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3. The voice of the people

As an organizer, once you have a shortlist of the locations you’d like to go to, you can leave the voting up to your employees. That way, the voice of the people wins. This is how Buffer has done it before. Note that the final decision was commonly made by the retreat planners, as the most popular location wasn’t necessarily the best location for the retreat in regards to more practical aspects.

4. The location where nobody has been before

At Surf Office, we had a team from Cisco coming over, with a unique way of choosing their location. Namely, they had to choose a place where nobody from their team has been before.

5. The location where one of the team members is based

On the other hand, some teams from Automattic choose the retreat locations where one of their team members is based. In this way, there’s local knowledge and it makes the planning part much easier.

6. The budget

There are locations that are a great fit simply because of how much they cost. For example, if you have a team based in New York and you’d like to host a retreat in the countryside near New York – you’d spend a boatload of cash.

On the other hand, the same retreat with the same number of days in Lisbon will be significantly cheaper – and probably more exciting for your team members as well. Read more about our tips for allocating your retreat budget.

Moreover, when choosing the ideal destination, mind the flights. A destination may not be so expensive, but getting there could end up costing a pretty penny.

7. Proximity to the airport

If your team members have to spend hours upon hours in the airplane or in layovers, they shouldn’t have to spend hours getting from the airport to the location. That’s why you should aim to make the location as close to the airport as possible.

For example, at Surf Office, we put in effort to choose the locations that are 45 minutes away from the airport at maximum. Our locations in Prague, Barcelona and Lisbon are only 20-25 minutes away from the airport.

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