Your annual forum, symposium, conference or general meeting is coming up, and you’ve decided to keep it within city borders to save money. Well, you may be missing out on an opportunity to make your annual meeting a better, more fun, and relaxed affair; like a little business vacation. Yes, go ahead and have a training conference or seminar vacation, and your employees will love you; in fact, you’ll love you! When summer hits, people think about vacations and getaways, so here’s your chance to make your annual conference, or work seminar, or training seminar, or business workshop into a little vacation. It doesn’t have to be expensive travel plans to somewhere outside the country; look at the options within our own city surroundings. All right, we know money’s tight, so here are our tips to help you create a great getaway conference on a reasonable budget:
1. Look locally for a warm and inexpensive getaway that’s a short drive away: living in Vancouver and Lower Mainland we’ve got plenty of choice including a very short 90-minute drive to Harrison or Cultus Lake, or the longer but lovely drive to places in the Okanagan. If you don’t want to break the bank with a flight ticket, there are plenty of places to go that are only a drive or ferry ride away.
2. See what’s available as activities in the area for leisure and for team building: make sure there are things to do for employees or members, and set up team-building activities for your group in advance (after all, isn’t the point of a good business meeting to create affinity between employees and members?). From wine tasting tours, to kayaking, craft fairs, boating and fishing, there are tons of activities to book in and around resorts in BC. Call up the sea kayaking or mountain biking businesses to let them know you’ll be holding your meeting and they may give your group a discount!
3. Be flexible and compare resort costs: depending on your flexibility in where you would hold your meeting, you can find resorts to fit your budget – to make sure the price is right, you’ll need to do the legwork, calling and comparing prices for several locations. Also, there are vacation rentals, guesthouses, and cabins that are much less expensive for group rental than the 4 or 5 star resorts.
4. Set up a party for your employees; mingle, and socialize: sometime during the seminar days, have a meet and mingle to create a stronger bond between employees and management. Make sure the room is private for your function, and include the cost of catering the food and drinks in your budget (feeding and entertaining your employees says, I care). If you think catering the food and drinks will be too expensive for your small budget, go to the local supermarket, grab fresh foods and bottled drinks, and have a picnic or barbeque.
Have you had or been to a general meeting that’s worked successfully as a getaway? Tell us about it!