You have just received a budget for your team outbound.
Or, you have been given approval, and informed that budgets will depend on the need.
You are the person, or among the key few people, who hold the money.
How will you spend it?
The Family Holiday Approach
Some teams simply think of the places they have not gone to, and start searching for good resorts there.
They negotiate the best price directly with the resort and book their outing needs there.
“We have money to spend,” said a client manager to me recently. “But we want to get the maximum value for that money.”
While that is, of course, what a team must aim to do, as they are spending valuable company money, you must not get carried away by this factor either.
The manager in the case above was actually considering going back to the same resort again because they offered him a bigger discount than the others. That is something we Indians find irresistible. Getting something more valuable for less money.
However, when you do this for a team outing, you run the risk of defeating the very objectives of the whole exercise, which is an experience that will convert your team into one big, connected family. The right environment is crucial for this.
The Travel Agency Approach
Many firms simple call up their travel agents and ask them for the best place to go to.
A travel agency would give you the best rates and shortest means to travel to a destination.
Many families buy tours from such agencies for their family holidays. These would be customized by the agency for their specific needs.
But for a team outing and for corporate event planning, this is a wrong approach.
It is, yet again, the family holiday approach. A travel agency has no understanding of how team building events work, or why they are different from a packaged group tour.
Sure, they would know how to provide you a conference hall or a DJ party at your hotel.
But, have you ever experienced the difference between a standard hotel DJ, with his standard sets, and a DJ who specializes in corporate team events, understands managing and appeasing the tastes of team members from different regions and language backgrounds?
Also, would they be able to help you choose your resort based on your conference or team building agenda? Or would they ask you what you want, and just to provide you that?
Would they actually say no to you because they feel the conference room in the resort of your choice does not have the right acoustics, or because the open ground they have provided you for training is too hot and dusty?
The Event Manager Approach
Many teams or managers call their event partners for their team outbounds.
Their logic for this is that they will anyway need corporate event organizers for the program, and the event manager will have to work closely with the hotel of their choice on the arrangements.
Some firms even ask their event manager to recommend a good training firm to them.
Again, wrong choice.
Corporate event organizers understand only logistics support and entertainment. They definitely do not understand the nuances of team bonding or strategy meets.
So, their whole focus is on ensuring the right mics or halls or fields. As they do not understand how any of these would be used, or care to understand why they are needed, they are unable to negotiate with the hotel and obtain exactly what is needed.
A simple example. When an end-to-end team building firm like ours negotiates space with hotels for team building events, we are able to explain that we need a conference hall just to brief teams, ensure the right team division and instructions for team activities, and later, to debrief the activity.
Most hotels gladly give us their conference halls for those pieces of time, free of cost, because they understand that the whole order is for a team building program.
We often even bully resorts into providing us whatever space we need by reminding them that whether we would use their resort or not depends purely on how suitable it is for team building. And how readily the resort management co operates with us on our inconvenient needs.
The Team Building Events End-to-End Specialist
How do you choose a laptop or a mobile phone?
By evaluating how you propose to use it.
Do you need a business phone or a camera phone?
Do you game with your laptop or work with it?
Are there not separate models that serve different purposes?
You should choose your team building partner agency the same way.
According to their specialization.
Just like their specialized wedding planners, you could find a team building program planner who will organize and plan your team outing or offsite from start to finish.
When you use either a travel agency or an event management firm for your team outing needs, you simply increase your own work load.
Instead of a single point of contact for to take care of your entire team outing, you become the coordinator of your own training program, and have the thankless job of conveying needs and schedules between the event manager, the travel agency and the training or engagement team.
Imagine if this entire workload could be off your shoulders. And if you could enjoy your own team offsite like the rest of the team.
It is like consulting an ENT (ear nose throat) specialist, a dentist and an orthopedic, when you have a cold, cough, body ache and fever. None of them would really know or care what the other one is doing with your body.
A simple GP (general practitioner) who views the body holistically, may give you a single anti pyretic and anti-inflammatory medicine that would help you heal.
You owe it to your team to enable them to heal holistically too.