When planning an event or a company trip abroad, you want to get as much out of the trip, both professionally and socially, as possible. However, many fall into the trap of cramming too much into the programme, or choosing activities and venues that don't fit with the professional agenda. In the worst case, this prevents participants from immersing themselves professionally and from building the desired relationships with the company.
It is a golden balance to plan a programme that has a meaningful flow for the group and that gives an overall experience that thought has been given to the choice of hotel, activities, meeting rooms, venues etc. If you have a corporate trip in mind, here are 3 tips to help you get started with the planning. At the bottom you can also be inspired by 2 cases with a good flow.
Start with the most important basis for your trip
Find out what the main purpose of the trip is and what you want to come home with before you commit to a destination, hotel, etc. Research several destinations and don't just look at getting there quickly, easily and cheaply. If you settle on a destination based on these criteria alone, you have already made the purpose and benefits of the trip a secondary factor.
Choice of hotel and venues at the destination
Consider what will give your staff a positive surprise and what is important for you to complete the professional part of the programme. Do you need a traditional conference hotel with all facilities at your fingertips, or is it essential that you are in a different and inspiring setting to make the most of your overall purpose for the trip?
Use transport time as part of the experience
Sometimes you are lucky to have everything within a short radius. Other times the location, hotel, etc. are perfect, but mean there will be travel time. If this is the case, make sure that the trip itself also adds value to the group and becomes part of a coherent experience. Stop along the way at a scenic lookout with local specialties and refreshments. Use alternative transport instead of a bus, visit a small local church and have a private concert, or make the route a form of orienteering where you have to find your way in small groups. There are many ways that transport time doesn't have to be wasted.
We have many years of experience in creating programmes with our clients. You are experts in your professional agenda, we are experts in giving that agenda the right framework. We've pulled 2 examples from past programmes we've created with our clients.
Case: Sweden - 110 people
Day 1: Professional presentation and orientation
The event started with a professional presentation in Copenhagen, after which people were distributed in minibuses. From there, an orientation run was made to a Swedish cabin village, where the professional programme continued. Overnight was in teepee tents by a beautiful forest lake, with the possibility of fishing and Swedish hot tubs.
Day 2: Group work at the scrap yard
The morning was reserved for meetings in the main cabin and outside. After lunch, we drove to a nearby scrap yard, where the rest of the day was spent competing in building with scrap. The professional presentation from the morning was incorporated into the group work.
Day 3: Meeting, match race and party at the castle
The morning was again devoted to meetings. In the afternoon, the professional presentation was again implemented in an activity, which this time was a match race on the Øresund. At the end of the day, the group drove to a large castle, where the last evening was held with a party.
Day 4: Return journey
After breakfast, the professional programme was rounded off and the group drove back to Copenhagen.
The professional agenda included focusing on engaging in groups with different competences. Activities were organised to support this, and both at the scrap yard and at the match race the professional key points were made visible to people. In addition, the transport in the minibuses was actively used to discuss professional presentations, which worked very well.
Case: Southern Spain 250 persons
Day 1: Takeover of a Spanish village
The event was to be held in a small town - Ronda in southern Spain. The town did not have a single hotel to accommodate everyone, so participants were accommodated in 12 smaller hotels, all within walking distance of everything. In this way, the participants got to experience the atmosphere of the city in their 5 minutes. walk to and from their conference venue.
Day 2: Meeting in a monastery and evening at a vineyard
The city's monastery is no longer in use, and as the huge patio could be covered, this area worked perfectly as a plenary room, and the rest of the monastery's rooms as break out rooms. In the late afternoon, people were driven to a nearby vineyard, where the professional work continued in small groups around wine barrels set up out among the vines.
Day 3: Continued meeting and celebration in the bullring
The day started with a professional agenda at the monastery. In the late afternoon, people had some time to look around the town before everyone met in the large bullring, decorated with hundreds of candles and small bonfires. There were tables, covered with white tablecloths, and waiters in a lounge area. A fantastic scene that underlined the client's professional agenda.
Day 4: Return journey
People had flown in from 35 different countries. So all day, buses were leaving for the airport to optimise people's return journey as much as possible.
The client had not previously had participants spread across several hotels and needed to be persuaded of the slightly "quirky" approach to their event. With all the hotels so close together, and the participants meeting up in five different restaurants in the town on the first night, it felt like they had taken over this whole village as a venue. There wasn't much time for specific activities, so it was particularly important to the client that the evening dinners be experiences in themselves. The evening both in the village, at the winery and particularly in the bullring very much met and exceeded the client's wishes and expectations.