Hosting your first retreat or workshop at your house can be a great way to start connecting with your tribe through live events. Sharing your private home makes connecting deeply with your attendees faster and easier. However there are also unique challenges compared to hosting at a hotel or conference facility. With the following tips, you’ll be enjoying the experience as much as your guests!
Pre-arrival overview– make sure your attendees know what to expect when spending time in your home and what your norms are. If your retreat is overnight, detail how sleeping areas will be assigned and the type of accommodation. What facilities and spaces are available for their use? Is food being catered or does everyone need to be prepared to pitch in? How about dishes and clean up? Should everyone bring shampoo or are shared supplies available? Do you have pets? What is the neighborhood like? Post photos to give an even better sense of your house and environment.
When attendees know what to expect they can be prepared to dive right into the meat of your message rather than spending time acclimating to the environment.
Welcome instructions– what are the house rules? Don’t assume guests know your preferences. Can guests feel free to rummage through the kitchen to find a midnight snack or is there a specific space for treats and drinks? Where are towels and extra supplies? Where is the closest store, coffee shop, or medical center?
House cleaning- deep clean 1 day prior with quick refreshes 2x per day during the event. Give extra attention to the bathrooms, kitchen, and surfaces.
Resources- Designate which rooms are available for work spaces or private phone calls. Will attendees have access to your printer? What is your wifi code?
Notes- Posted notes and directions can help guests help themselves and not have to ask the host for assistance with minor questions. Remember that the hall light switch which is quirky for you, might be confounding for your guests in the middle of the night!
Drink station- Stock the beverage bar with sodas, flavored waters, mixers, coffee, etc. so that guests can help themselves. Group glasses, ice, straws and spoons in one easy to grab location. Note the hours that alcoholic beverages are available.
Snack station- Set out a basket of snacks so attendees know where they can grab a quick bite and won’t need to rummage through the cupboards.
Rentals- Do you have enough dishware, serving utensils, chairs, and tables or do you need to rent extras? Are you having a theme dinner and want to bring in rentals to make your table pop that night?
Ambience– fresh flowers and décor that speak to your retreat theme can elevate the environment and make it feel special for this event.
The final to-do is arranging for HELP! Make sure to bring in assistance, even for a small guest count. You want to be able to focus on deep learning and connection with all of your attendees. Ensure you have enough resources to help coordinate catering, chefs, or drop-offs, clean up, a/v issues, setup of the next activity, and all of the other details that pop up. The right assistance is crucial to a successful retreat and even more so when hosting at home.
Hosting retreats in your own house can be one of the most amazing bonding experiences a group can have. Make sure you’re prepped for success by checking off all of the details that make your guests feel at home too!
For more tips on Event design and management, head to www.e3planning.com