Planning a Successful Corporate Event - Cornerstone Canmore

Are you looking to supercharge your results, revitalize your staff, and refocus for the coming quarter?

Planning a corporate event or retreat can be the perfect opportunity to reset and celebrate as a team. If you are considering hosting an out of office event for your employees or booking a venue for an industry summit, this quick guide will help you cover the basics and streamline your planning. Read on to make sure you start off on the right foot!

Why Do External Corporate Events Matter?

Regardless of the size of your company, focusing on morale and team dynamics can play an integral role in determining the long term success of your business. If you’re coming off a highly productive, or even a highly stressful season, fatigue can begin to chip away at your employees and affect your bottom line over time. Taking the chance to regroup away from the normal hustle and bustle of the office is often a positive way to refresh everyone’s mentality and boost the overall morale of your team. Common driving reasons for hosting a corporate retreat or seminar include:

  • • Team building/Development
  • • Focus on a new strategy without distractions
  • • Rewarding your team for exceptional performance, and more.

While it may seem counterproductive to take a day out of the office, oftentimes the benefits outweigh the minor inconvenience of having to temporarily disrupt your routine.

How To Start Planning

Once you’ve decided that you want to go ahead with an offsite event, you’ll want to get to work orchestrating the various details to ensure success. Start with what will affect your office the most: planning for a day away. Elements to consider here include:

How Many Staff Are Available?
Lining up employee schedules can be tricky, which is why advanced noticed and careful execution is essential to a successful event. Coordinate with your management team to discuss the best dates and times for the majority of your staff and go from there.
Will You Be Closing The Office?
If you only plan on taking your higher level managers and executives, you may be able to operate with minimal disruption to your usual daily routine. If you want to take all employees, however, you’ll want to make sure your clients and customers have advanced notice of any disruption to your regular service and that your staff have time to rearrange their priorities accordingly.
How Long Will Your Team Be Away?
If your event spans multiple days or is located a reasonable distance from your main office, you’ll need to find suitable accommodation options for your staff. Check with local hotels to discuss group rates, etc.
Location and Transportation
As with above, if your event is located farther from your office than most people typically commute, looking into group transportation options is advisable. Ensure your team has easy access to comfortable and reliable transport, as well as all of the necessary details for travel (no one wants to miss the bus!).
Define The Focus Of Your Event
In order to get the most out of your time away, clearly identifying the motivation behind your retreat is essential. Are you looking to concentrate on team dynamics? Host an AGM or focus on departmental development? While there are many different options when it comes to corporate events, knowing your focus will make sure you stay on track and achieve the desired results.
What Is Your Budget?
Once you know your objectives and have a plan to manage the office during your event, the next step is to define your budget. Doing so will help you select remaining details with ease, and avoid unnecessary strain on your finances later on. Ensure all relevant parties (CEOs, GMs, CFOs and the accounting department) approve your spend, and then proceed with planning external details.


The most important (external) detail of your event is, unsurprisingly, your venue. Choosing the right location can help set the tone and overall dynamic of your retreat, and should be a top priority. Focus on finding a location that is convenient, comfortable, and ideally manages to wow attendees. Key areas to consider when selecting your venue include:

  • • Capacity
  • • Location: how easy is it for your team to get to?
  • • Audio/Visual options
  • • Set up/tear down requirements
  • • Availability
  • • Accessibility (elevators, ramps, etc.)

Start searching for venues early, and plan to book well in advance to avoid date conflicts and unnecessary hassle.


No one likes being stuck with an empty stomach! Next to locking down your venue, arranging to have snacks, beverages, and dining options on hand should be one of your main priorities. Many venues will have on-site options available, but if not, you should be prepared to source local vendors. When choosing a caterer, make sure you consider:

– Overall cost. Catering can quickly eat up a significant portion of your budget.

  • • Flexibility to bring in outside food if needed
  • • Accommodation of any dietary restrictions or allergies.

Make sure you provide your catering team with an accurate headcount, as well as advise of any restrictions as early as possible to give them time to prepare your food accurately.


Finally, as mentioned earlier, if your team is traveling to get to your event location, it’s wise to look into accommodation options well in advance. When looking at various hotels and places to stay, make sure you consider:

  • • Location relative to the venue
  • • Any discounted rates for group bookings
  • • Amenities
  • • Included meals (i.e. breakfast)
  • • Check in and out time.

Booking an offsite corporate event doesn’t have to be a hassle. Working with an experienced team can help you save time, money, and minimize distractions from your daily workflow. At Cornerstone Theatre, our team of coordinators are happy to work with corporate guests to design an event that’s sure to leave your team refreshed and ready to return to the office renewed.

Contact us today to learn more!

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