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Many companies take employees on retreats for training, development, and team building experiences. Corporate retreat center businesses offer a place for holding these company-sponsored retreats and frequently help companies plan their retreats.
As the economy continues to recover, companies are becoming increasingly interested in corporate retreats. For prospective business owners, this means renewed opportunity.
Who is this business right for?
Anyone who is organized and has strong interpersonal skills may enjoy running a corporate retreat center business. Hosting retreats requires balancing many different tasks, and there’s a constant conversation between the retreat center and company sponsoring the retreat.
While not absolutely necessary, it’s also helpful to have a background in corporate work. Business owners who have themselves worked up the corporate ladder are aware of what companies and employees each want, which is helpful when planning retreats.
What happens during a typical day at a corporate retreat center?
The days when companies hold retreats are busy days at corporate retreat centers. Employees are setting up audio/visual gear for presentations, guiding members through recreational activities, preparing meals and making sure rooms are ready for guests. Of course, business owners may also get any number of requests from company representatives and/or attending employees. Feasible requests ought to be honored so that everyone enjoys the retreat.
When there’s no retreat currently being held, employees might clean, reorder supplies, repair items, and work on planning future retreats.
What is the target market?
Corporate retreat center businesses cater to companies that have employees. These may be local businesses with just a few employees that they want to strengthen ties between, or they might be Fortune 500 corporations that have thousands of employees to unify.
How does a corporate retreat center make money?
Corporate retreat centers primarily make money by hosting company-sponsored retreats. Retreats may last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
What is the growth potential for a corporate retreat center?
Most corporate retreat centers have just one location, for maintaining and promoting a single location takes a lot of time and money. Essex Woods and Beaver Hollow Conference Center are two examples of corporate retreat businesses that each have a single location.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful corporate retreat center?
Before starting their own corporate retreat center, business owners should first gain experience working at an established center. First-hand experience will show business owners the many facets of running a center, and it will provide them with some contacts in the industry. Having contacts can help a new center get its first corporate clients.
What are the costs involved in opening a corporate retreat center?
The costs associated with opening a corporate retreat center business are substantial, for business owners must acquire a facility that has:
- Advanced audio/visual equipment
- Spaces for meetings, presentations and trainings
- Areas to enjoy recreational activities
- Common areas for lounging and networking
- A kitchen for preparing meals
- Rooms for attendants to stay in
If there isn’t an existing facility that meets these requirements and falls within a business owner’s budget, retrofitting an old bed and breakfast, hotel, or motel might be an affordable option. Building a center from scratch is always a possibility, but tends to be expensive.
What are the steps to start a corporate retreat center?
Once you're ready to start your corporate retreat center, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your corporate retreat center is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your corporate retreat center keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. Save 15% when you create a business website with Weebly.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a corporate retreat center?
When choosing where to build or purchase a facility, the location is of the utmost importance. The right type of location is in a rural setting but close to a metropolitan area. Such a setting affords attendees a peaceful getaway without making the retreat a hassle to get to and from.
Having an airport nearby can provide great long-term opportunities for centers. An international airport makes it easy for large companies with employees in multiple countries to host a retreat that brings all employees together in a single location.
How to promote & market a corporate retreat center
There are many ways to market a corporate retreat center business. Encouraging retreat attendees to share photos on social media and leave reviews can generate grassroots buzz. A professional website, brochures and pamphlets can help convince higher-up decision makers to convince higher-up decision makers to book a retreat.
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How to keep customers coming back
A corporate retreat center business can keep companies coming back for retreats by providing the highest level of service. This is why meeting every possible request is so crucial.
How and when to build a team
Corporate retreat center businesses need several employees from the outset because there’s so much to manage. At a minimum businesses, need people to see to attendee needs, prepare and serve meals, clean rooms, perform basic maintenance, manage the grounds and plan retreats. Smaller centers may have people perform several of these tasks, but the work still requires a team.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a corporate retreat center business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
Certificate of Occupancy
A corporate retreat center business is generally run out of a large building with rooms and public areas. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a corporate retreat center business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your corporate retreat center business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
How much can you charge customers?
The costs for corporate retreats range depending on how long the retreats last. Day-long retreats generally cost between $55 and $70 per person. Overnight ones that include lodging, meals, and activities can run from $300 to $350 per person, per night. Some high-end retreats cost much more, but these are exceptional.
What are the ongoing expenses for a corporate retreat center?
The ongoing expenses for corporate retreat center businesses are substantial. They include maintenance costs, utilities, insurance premiums, employee wages, and food and activity costs. Business owners should also budget for regular updates so that they can continue to attract companies in the future.
How much profit can a corporate retreat center make?
With substantial per-person fees, corporate retreat centers can earn a substantial profit. Hosting a 100-person retreat for one day could bring anywhere from $5,500 and $7,000. Hosting a weekend retreat that included two nights for the same number of people might bring in between $60,000 and $70,000.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Diversification plays an integral role in many corporate retreat centers’ business strategies, as they help increase income and reduce vacancies. Group sessions, special events, individual getaways, conferences, and catering can all bring in extra revenue from a centers’ facilities and staff.