Five Steps to Planning a Corporate Retreat

Meeting in Nature

Imagine waking up to the sound of the ocean, lapping at the shore, under your cabin. You’ve had the most luxurious sleep and can’t wait to get down to the restaurant for a top-notch breakfast. Walking down, you feel refreshed, breathing in the rainforest air, mist is hanging in the trees as the sun rises above their far-reaching branches. You’re meeting the rest of your team for a day of collaboration and innovation, with a little fun and adventure mixed in. There is no better place for distraction free connection with your team, in a natural environment that nurtures rejuvenation and calm.

So what makes the perfect corporate retreat? How can you pull this off? Nimmo Bay has been hosting group retreats for over 30 years now and in our opinion, place and planning are your best friends!

We’ve gathered our 5 top tips and tricks for planning your next group retreat.

1. Start with a Clear Goal in Mind

The first step in planning a company off-site retreat is to clearly outline your goals and the objectives. Is there a problem you want to solve? Are you focusing on strategic planning? Is there a training that you want to offer the entire team? Do you want to create a space for innovation? Is it for team building and boosting the moral of your employees?

It’s essential to decide what you want to achieve during this time away from the office. It will ensure you get what you want out of this investment. Once you have a solid trajectory, our trip designers can help you tailor the experience and you can move forward in the planning process with ease.

2. Picking the Perfect Location

Choosing the place that you’re going to host the retreat is incredibly important. You want to make sure the location has the appropriate facilities and amenities, offers nutritious meals, but also has that ‘wow factor’. You need your staff to be excited and feel appreciated. It is a major bonus if the whole space is exclusively reserved for you and your staff. This means you’ll never be stepping on toes and can plan your itinerary exactly how you’d like.

Nimmo Bay offers a space free from day-to-day city life distractions, where teams can connect on the most basic level in the wilderness. You will have access to unprecedented peace and quiet in a truly wild setting. It’s an ideal location for any group to feel restored by nature. The remoteness also means your team will spend most of their time together.

We’re working to expand the perspective of what a company retreat can look like. Take a boat out to a private island to host team building activities or meet in our new floating dining wing for a more traditional setting. Nimmo Bay’s remoteness is an asset that can help teams disconnect, while still having the ability to work remotely and support the business with access to Starlink internet services.

With an Exclusively Yours Buyout Package, guests have full access to the resort, its amenities, and the whole Nimmo Bay team at their disposal. Groups from 12 to 18 are encouraged to select this option for the most exclusive and customized experience. Choose from a 3, 4, or 7-night stay, with arrivals on Mondays and Thursdays. Nimmo Bay offers 9 private cabins, each with 2 bedrooms, allowing plenty of options for accommodation and privacy.

3. Build Downtime and Fun into the Schedule

While work is the goal, play and downtime must also be prioritized. Concentration decreases each minute you’re working, as your brain expends energy on a project. Though it takes up more time, scheduling regular breaks will lead to increased productivity in the end.

Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins are known as the happiness hormones or the success drivers. They provide us with a strong sense of well-being, optimism, promote bonding, and minimize discomfort. These are all drivers of confidence, focus, leadership, and the key to a successful retreat. So, building activities and downtime into the schedule to promote those happy hormones is a priority. Getting outside, exercise, restful sleep, certain foods, and meditation have all been proven to increase these feelings.

At Nimmo Bay, we are experts in the creation of happy hormones. First off, you’re flying into the middle of the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the lushest natural setting you’ll find on this planet. Forest bathing is one of our favourite guided meditations at Nimmo. It’s the outdoor experience of simply being mindful in nature. Enter into the rainforest and our wellness team help you hone in on all five of your senses, instantly boosting energy and mood. Or, take your team on a hike through the ancient trees surrounding the resort.

Even the foods you eat can promote success and happiness. Omega-3 rich fish and coffee are top of that list, and happen to be some of our specialities at the resort. Finally, we have been hosting music nights at Nimmo Bay since the 80’s. Let us set one up for your team! We make music together; dancing, laughing, singing, and playing, filled with pure joy. Everyone is welcome with open arms and the oxytocin flows freely.

4. Hire an Expert Facilitator

Guest facilitators can be arranged if teams are looking for some outside expertise in their field or a general facilitator to help lead your strategy sessions. There are a variety of benefits to having an expert facilitator come in to help host your staff getaway. They are trained to lead productive workshops and meetings and bring an objective viewpoint to the discussions. People also tend to open up more to strangers, and so you might get more honest chat this way.

Workshops can bring up tough conversations and tough issues. This facilitator has potentially guided hundreds of sessions, and so they’ll be prepared for anything. They can offer insight into how other companies have moved through similar challenges. It also leaves room for all staff and board members to participate freely, instead of focusing on managing the meetings.

Everyone’s time is precious and retreats are limited. Facilitators are experts in time management. They will keep you and your team on track, making sure the discussions being had focus on the goals you outlined at the beginning of retreat planning.

The last thing you want is for all the work you did to stay locked away at the retreat. So at the end of your time away, your facilitator will provide you with actionable items to take back to the office. Make the most of the planned work time so that you can enjoy the downtime in between.

5. Communicate the Plan and Agenda

There is no such thing as over-communication in this scenario. It’s essential to keep participants informed about the retreat details; including dates, location, agenda, logistics, and any pre-work or preparation required. People want to know what to expect, and they also have lives outside of work.

Start getting out information as soon as possible. This will help alleviate any potential anxiety folks might feel when getting out of their usual routine. This requires you start planning the retreat 6-months to a year in advance. Create a new team retreat channel in Slack or Microsoft Teams, as well as sending email and calendar updates. You might even consider hosting a Retreat Q&A session.

Sharing information will also help build excitement, especially when people get a sneak peek at the fun activities you have scheduled. It’s important that ahead of the retreat, you set a tone of total preparation and calm. The more information you provide, the more your team will feel that.

A Testimonial

We’ll share some of the wisdom of a long-time guest of Nimmo, “Over the past 20+ years I have had the opportunity to bring numerous groups to Nimmo Bay Resort. The superior customer service the groups experienced became associated with our Company and our people. And when our people experienced Nimmo, they then understood what great customer experiences really are. It raised the bar for our organization. The team at Nimmo arranges everything. They think of everything. They take care of everything.”

Take the leap into the remote Great Bear Rainforest, where teams can explore the wildness within, together.


Have any more questions? Check out our FAQ about booking your next corporate retreat at Nimmo Bay.

  • What is the room layout? How many people per cabin?

    Nimmo Bay offers 9 private cabins, each with 2 bedrooms, allowing plenty of options for accommodation customization. Each of our cabins is approximately 700 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a lounge area, wet bar, coffee/tea station, and a patio.

  • Do you have meeting space?

    Yes! We have several spaces that are suitable for meetings. Some are indoors and some outdoors. Our team will work with the planner to choose the best locations and spaces to match the type of meeting and the feel/atmosphere you are looking for.

  • Does Nimmo have AV equipment?

    Yes, we have equipment to project slide decks, photos, and videos. We can even livestream people into meetings. Mics are generally not required in the intimate spaces we offer, but we can accommodate any requests.

  • Can our group split up?

    If your group books the Exclusively Yours Resort Buyout package, the world is your oyster! You can split up for different activities and plan excursion options to accommodate different interests within your group. This allows you to host a trip that suits everyone’s desired pace. Whether some of your team would like to indulge in wellness treatments while others prefer to hike up the side of a mountain, we have options for all preferences and the expert guides to execute.

  • Can our entire group have meals together?

    We highly encourage meals together. Generally, groups have a more casual breakfast schedule and then depending on the plans for the day, they’ll meet for a joint lunch, or they may enjoy lunch in smaller groups. Dinner is always a full group affair and is usually in the beautiful dining room or al fresco on the floating fire dock.

  • Is there space for breakout meetings?

    Certainly! For highly scheduled retreats, we offer up to 6 breakout spaces suitable for smaller groups of 4-6. Other groups prefer to let the breakout sessions happen naturally – in the hot tubs over a cold beer, on the boat between destinations, or around the fire with cocktails before dinner.

  • Can I add on an extra night after?

    Yes! If you decide to arrive early or stay after the retreat, we offer 3, 4, or 7-night extensions. Often people will choose this option and their families join for that time as well.

  • Can I arrive before the group?

    Due to our small size and tight turnarounds between groups, we have set arrival and departure schedules. Ask our trip designers for more information about early arrivals, site visits, and pre-arrival set-up.

  • Can we send materials, gifts, and merchandise to the lodge ahead of time?

    Absolutely. We are happy to set up individual gifts in the cabins. For buyout groups, we can work with you to set up the resort to your specifications. The resort should feel like an extension of your business and we are here to help make that happen!

Words: Alexandra Janes

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