Conference Retreats: A Checklist for All Event Planners

Centers across the country offer a wide variety of venues for hosting conference retreats.  These destinations are capable of hosting groups of all sizes and types.  Most centers are located near geographic features like mountains, lakes, and deserts.  All conference retreats are unique and are best suited to a place that fulfills the particular need of the group attending. 

Common conference retreats are developed around the following interests: team development, couples’ retreats, youth groups, artist workshops, spiritual retreats, weddings, birding adventures, yoga workshops, family reunions, and also retreats just for women or men.

It is key to find a center that has specific amenities that are best suited for each of the particular interest groups. Obviously, conference retreats featuring adventures in bird watching would need to be located in a region known for its diversity of bird species.  Yoga retreats would need to be removed from noisy traffic.

The following is a checklist for event planners when searching for the perfect center for its conference retreats: transportation available to and from the center, dining hall fare, equipment available for usage, climate, insurance requirements, and deposit information.  Other details to investigate are the policies on pets, alcoholic beverages, quiet hours, and smoking.

Conference retreats generally feature guest speakers who are experts in their field. Rooms should be comfortably filled to capacity, but not over crowded. The room should reflect the appropriate atmosphere for the topic.  Rooms can be set up in one of these 4 basic seating styles: theater style, banquet style, classroom style, or reception style.

Centers for conference retreats and their meeting rooms should include most of these items: sound system, lighting options, podium, stage, chairs, tables, and water service for guests.  Speakers’ needs must also be addressed.  Equipment that is typically requested includes: projectors, screens, and TV/VCR/DVDs.

Conference retreats offer the attendees a place to withdraw from the daily routine.  They also offer a time and place to focus on business, relationships, hobbies, or spiritual renewal.  The trick is to find the place that best suits the need.

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About Mark

Mark Dubler has been a leader, host, and participant in camps and retreats for the last twenty years. He holds an M.A. in Educational Ministries from Wheaton College and is the Executive Director of Otyokwah Camp and Retreat Center, a Christian facility with a rich history of providing personal, life-changing experiences.

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