Sourcing a venue for the company away day
January brings with it a new year of opportunities and challenges. Get ahead of the KPIs and business goals by holding a company away day that will set you up for success.
But how do you find the perfect venue that will truly cater to your needs, meet your budget, and be appropriate for your away day aims?
Read on to find out about our top tips on sourcing your away day venue.
The trickiest part of the planning can be where you should hold the away day. It can be tempting to forego the expense of hiring an external venue, rather than using existing company properties, but holding the same old meeting in the same old room can be stifling to blue sky thinking, and often lead to engaging waning quickly. Investing in a structured away day in an environment which best suits your purpose and needs can provide a welcome step away from the pressures of the office.
For locally based companies, getting out of the familiar can be an excellent way to free up mental creative space and reassure delegates that they are in a safe space to share ideas. Seek somewhere that is an hour or two away from your usual haunts with good access by rail or road so there are no travel related dramas. If most people are travelling from a similar place, car pooling or going by public transport in groups can be an added way to increase bonding between team members, whilst keeping costs down too, win win!
Those that are based more regionally may wish to either pick a suitable mid-point where everyone can meet, or to go bold, and pick somewhere beyond the regions you work in to provide a blank slate for everyone. Travel impacts will of course be trickier with this approach but exploring a new area together can be a great way to ensure favouritism or preference for top performing/ struggling regions doesn’t come in to the tone of the day.
If your company is made up of sporadically based freelancers, work from home professionals, or otherwise geographically split, now is the time to find something which focuses on your company values and purpose. In this situation, there can commonly be a missing link to the true origins of the company, perhaps consider going back to where the company was founded to show the growth from humble beginnings. Or, elect to congregate in a city you are aiming to target soon as a way to introduce the idea to the team. Bringing the location back to something meaningful can be strengthen connections to the company, making them more likely to understand the upcoming plans and remain loyal to the cause.
Not all away days will need an overnight accommodation option, but for those coming from far flung places, or those involved in the set up and organisation of the day, it could be a good idea to scope out whether your venue provides this option, or if you will need to source it yourself. Having onsite accommodation is perfect for those more in depth away days with larger numbers of delegates as the logistics can be ever-changing. Having access to your plan b stash of print outs and supplies in your room upstairs could be a life saver you didn’t know you needed.
Equally, if the group has had a long day in the venue going over goals for the next year, moving away from the site of the work can be refreshing and give renewed focus when they return the following day.
Having accommodation options can also act as a beneficial option for anyone who would prefer to stay over and be prepared, or to give themselves a micro break as part of an indulgent ‘bleisure’ opportunity.
Beware the rumbling tummies. Low energy levels sap both motivation and attention, so providing appropriate catering throughout the away day is essential to ensure a worthwhile activity.
How and where catering is taken during the away day should be considered before booking your venue. If you have the team up and about taking part in activities around the venue, it could be beneficial to bring everyone back to the main room for a sit-down lunch, so they have time to take a breather and relax. Dining together in this way can result in sharing of ideas from the various activities and allows attendees to get to know someone new in an informal setting.
For those participating in classroom-based speeches or tasks, getting out of the room could be preferable. Stepping out doesn’t have to be far from the base, but just gives the team a change of scenery to reengage themselves and mentally separate this period from the learning.
In terms of the food offering itself, exploring the menu options for dishes which are going to provide a few (avoid choice overload!) nutritiously balanced meals that aren’t too focused on carbs should help give more energy without the afternoon slump.
Often forgotten until the day before, the equipment provided by your venue and how it can be accessed should be a key part of your decision-making process. Some away days will be focused on taking attendees through information and insight, requiring projectors, screens, and interactive boards. For creative collaborations, a venue devoid of technological interference could be just the thing for getting buzzing minds to light up without the distraction of the outside world.
Organisers will need to determine the goals and strategy of their away days in order to establish their equipment and technology needs in advance, but it will ensure that the location is best suited for carrying out a winning occasion.
With inspiring packages to cover a variety of different options, embracing the great outdoors, adding fun to a strategy day, or rewarding the team with a fantastic day out, Venuelior has the locations to suit your next meeting. Click here to browse our team-building and away day venues.