You can plan and execute a great reatreat without spending a ton of money. It’s not how much money you spend, but where you spend it that counts. When it comes to shaving your budget, here are some areas to consider.

Schwag: just how many logo-embroidered polos and chambray shirts does the average person need? Caribiners? Travel mugs? Mouse pads? These can eat up your budget with little or no return on investment. Consider cutting these from your budget and spending your money elsewhere.

Open Bars: keep your alcohol budget under control by offering cash bars, or limited wine and beer selections. Not only will you save money, but you’ll send a better message.

Offfsite Retreats: there’s a trend among organizations to plan onsite retreats, using venues within a short drive, or meeting facilities very near the office. One of our recent clients was struggling to locate a meeting room they could afford at a conference center. We located a meeting room at a community center in a local park that was less than $200 per day. Get creative in how you define “meeting space.”

Restaurants: feeding a large group at an upscale restaurant can eat up a huge portion of your budget. $50-100 per head is a conservative estimate, and quickly adds up. Consider a cook-out at a park, or a modestly catered luncheon. Either option can reduce your costs and thereby increase return on investment.

Where Not to Skimp on Your Retreat

Don’t cut corners when it comes to your team building or training provider. These expenses can provide the greatest return on investment and improve work processes in the short and long term. To get skilled facilitators with corporate expertise and training based on solid curriculum, you’ll need to budget around $3500 for a group of 15 or fewer. One of the most unfortunate things you could do is book a novice speaker or trainer at a discounted rate that’ll bore your team to death.

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