7 Offsite Meeting Mistakes To Avoid!


My team and I have been busy recently with venue search for a possible casino-themed event as well as coordinating for a group of Japanese directors to attend the Monaco Ball. Yes as in Prince Albert’s Principality of Monaco. It is organised every year by Society International who uses this as a platform to raise funds for the underpriveleged. Its main patron is of course Prince Albert of Monaco.

On our part we have to book accommodations, arrange for the guests to go from point A to point B and even advise them on what to wear (this year’s theme is “La Dolce Vita”), where to rent tuxedos in Monaco and more! The headaches come where there are cancellation requests for some guests or when they seek our help to negotiate rates and requests for certain things not normally available from the hotels on their behalf. Ah well, its part and parcel of the job!

Having just organised an offsite retreat recently at Sentosa, I was inspired to write about what are the mistakes to avoid when organising your own Offsite. A lot of companies derive value from organising an offsite meeting as it IS the fastest and the most efficient way to get everyone in the company to bond, talk and work together. And especially if you want to thank your staff for a job well done, what better way than to bring them on an all-expenses paid trip to relax and rejuvenate?

An Offsite Meeting & Retreat meant to “relax and rejuvenate”  however, can go wrong if you do not avoid these common mistakes – read on!

To your success,

Maya Kuchit-Desjarlais
The “EventWhiz(TM)


Your intentions are great – to reward your staff after a grueling year which turned out profitable or to give them time to “recharge” and “relax” before starting the next financial year or to get the different overseas offices or departments to “bond” and talk to one another.

However without proper planning, your ideal “off-site meeting” may turn out to be a fiasco and you will have a hard time getting your staff to go to the next one! Here are the top 7 mistakes to avoid when planning an offsite retreat :

1) Not Having A Clear Objective

I cannot stress this hard enough. If you don’t have a clear objective of what you want to achieve from your offsite meeting, its easy for anything to go astray. Some clients came to us with “I want them to bond” or “It should be a relaxing trip – kind of” objective. However there are many different ways to bond and to relax! Say something like ” At the end of the day, I want them to understand more about our company, our goals, our culture – to have each department to talk to one another, learn something about team spirit and have fun at the same time!” So be clear about what you want to achieve or you will end up wasting everyone’s time, energy and not mentioning, your company’s money!

2) Choosing The Wrong Site

The venue chosen can make or break the event! When choosing the site, bear in mind what you want to achieve and at the same time know what you can spend on. If you have the budget to bring your team overseas – by all means do so, we are surrounded by many beautiful islands in Bintan, Malaysia, Batam. If you have more money – bring them to Bali, Phuket, Vietnam and even Macau! With budget airlines aplenty – there is no excuse! If not, there are plenty of venues that you can choose from in Singapore. If your company is located near the city centres or if it’s a hassle to organise trips overseas due to visas (your company may have foreigners) – choose out of the way locations like Changi, East Coast Park, Pasir Ris and our good ol’ Sentosa Island for your retreats. If your companies are in Jurong, Tuas areas – go to JB city centre, theres’ all these 5 star hotels like Hyatt JB or Pan Pacific which can be cheaper than holding them in Singapore. Choose city locations if your company is not located there and vice versa – for a change of scenery.

3) Not Having Interesting Activities To Do

Too many “Free & Easy” slots in your itinerary can be too boring for the group. When its “Free & Easy” everyone may be doing their own things – so where is the “bonding”? Organising interesting activities can prove to be a challenge for some. Yes you can’t please everyone but it IS possible to have activities that everyone can enjoy. If you have a big group and would like to organise lots of cool activities for the group – get an experienced teambuilding facilitator or choose a venue that has tons of interesting recreational activities for your group to do.

4) Having Too Many Activities To Do In A Day

On the opposite side of the spectrum – do NOT cram too many activities for your group to do in one day. Meetings in the morning, and teambuilding is best done either half day or full day – don’t squeeze in more games for them to do the next day and at nite! That will be too much for anyone to handle. Part of the plan is to get your team to relax – remember?

5) Not Choosing The Right Speaker For The Meeting

When organising an Offsite Meeting, its great to invite a speaker that can motivate and inspire your team. Choose a lousy speaker – and the whole event can fall flat. Choose one that is engaging and can get the crowd going – the idea is to empower and inspire!

6) Organising The Offsite Over The Weekend or Public Holiday

Having the Offsite over the weekend or public holiday can prove to be quite disastrous as resorts are normally crowded over the weekends. Not mentioning the higher weekend rates for the use of accommodation and facilities. Always do your best not to cut into your staff’s rest day/weekend time with their families unless your team is a young crowd with no family committments – a lot of people may back out from going.

7) Not Getting Feedback From Your Team

After each Offsite Meeting – always gather feedback from your team. What did well and what not so well – how can you improve on the next one. Not being able to follow through with what was discussed during the Offsite Meetings is also another “no-no”. The idea is for people to be able to work better together AFTER coming back from an Offsite retreats. So get to work and implement those ideas, fast!

©2010 Maya Kuchit-Desjarlais, Convention Links (S) Pte Ltd


You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: The EventWhiz(TM), Maya Kuchit-Desjarlais publishes an ezine every 1st Thursday of the month on Creating Events That Work! Our ezines talk about and share practical experiences in running successful events. These bite-sized info, tips & ideas are specially suited for the busy, time-crunched Corporate Executives, Business Owners, Event Officers, Executive Assistants, Administrative Professionals, Marketing & HR practitioners who want to run their own events successfully, hassle-less, stress-free and with more grace & ease! If you’re ready to create successful events, easily AND get the recognition you deserve – get your FREE tips now at www.eventwhiz.com

Visit www.successfuleventplanningstrategies.com

An Excellent Hilltop Location For Private Events @ Emily Hill

If you are looking for something exclusive and private for your upcoming event, look no further than Emily Hill @ Mount Emily. Perched on top of a hill, with its majestic presence, you seriously cannot go wrong- And yes, it IS in Singapore!

I found this venue to be an absolute gem – an excellent place to organise themed parties, product launches and even offsite retreats. Great especially for internal staff parties like celebrating an Anniversary, Awards Nite or Gala Nite with a twist. Forget boring hotel venues for your dinner & dances! Organise your next event at Emily Hill for something different and unique for a change 🙂

If you would like us to manage your events and meetings for you, please email us.

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