How to plan your budget and price a retreat (with examples)
January 27, 2020

The new year marks a fresh start for many companies. New year’s resolutions don’t just apply to individuals. Now is when many companies set goals and share their vision for growth. Employees are particularly productive after the winter break.

The new energy that marks the beginning of the year can fade after a while. To keep your momentum going, start planning your next company retreat. A company retreat can:

  • Boost morale
  • Help teams work toward a common goal
  • Create stronger teams that communicate better
  • Help remote workers get to know one another

Now is the time to prepare and approve the budget for your next company retreat. As you build your overall operating budget, set aside some funds to be used for an offsite retreat. The budget you need depends on a variety of factors. These factors include:

  1. The purpose of the retreat (work or team-building)
  2. The location (Europe or US)
  3. The venue
  4. The number of people
  5. Transportation costs
  6. Team activities
  7. The length of the retreat

At Surf Office, we’ve hosted dozens of company retreats. We have a ton of firsthand experience in planning and pricing retreats. We’ve learned that the biggest expense is usually the accommodation costs. As a result, we start by considering the location, team size, retreat length and price per person per night.

You don’t have to be a retreat planning expert to estimate the budget. There’s a simple formula that can give you a good estimate from which to work.

Use the basic formula:
price per person per night x number of nights x number of people = first estimate of the budget.

Then add transportation estimate and an extra 20% buffer to get a final estimate. Or, just use Surf Office’s free retreat budget calculator to get started.

How to plan your budget

There are a number of factors to consider when budgeting for your company retreat. Our retreat expert, Danche, recommends starting with the location. 

“Picking the right location is probably the most important decision you make. There are many locations in Europe that are budget-friendly while still offering an amazing offsite experience,” says Danche.

The right location for your team offsite depends largely on where your company is located. For example, consider what these real companies spent on retreats with Surf Office (price does not contain flights/travel costs):

Scenario 1:
EU-based team traveling within EU

  • Team size: 14
  • Retreat length: 3 days
  • Venue type: City apartments
  • Retreat location: Prague
  • Price per person per night: 140 USD
  • Total: 140 USD x 14 x 3 = 5,880 USD

Scenario 2:
US-based team traveling within the US

  • Team size: 45
  • Retreat length: 5 days
  • Venue type: Guesthouse
  • Retreat location: Santa Cruz
  • Price per person per night: 290 USD
  • Total: 290 USD x 45 x 5 = 65,250 USD

Scenario 3:
US-based team traveling to EU

  • Team size: 51
  • Retreat length: 4 days
  • Venue type: Apartments
  • Retreat location: Lisbon
  • Price per person per night: 190 USD
  • Total: 190 USD x 51 x 4 = 38,760 USD

Scenario 4:
Fully-distributed team traveling to EU

  • Team size: 22
  • Retreat length: 6 days
  • Venue type: Apartments
  • Retreat location: Madrid
  • Price per person per night: 140 USD
  • Total: 140 USD x 22 x 6 = 18,480 USD

Retreat Budget Spreadsheet

Are you organising a company retreat and want to make sure you have all the costs under the control?

Get a copy of our free Budget Calculator spreadsheet.