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Executive Retreat Trends Toward Adventure

This year, travelers are ready for a little more of a challenge.

By Amy Durham


Rather than the standard team lunch in between training sessions or the been-there-done-that leadership retreat to a golf course, many executives are hoping to find an experience that challenges them in more ways than one. According to a survey by Virtuoso®, 34% of high-net-worth travelers are looking for adventure, and 16 percent want expedition-style travel.

So what does that look like? Aim for wellness or fitness offerings, complex mental tasks, and physical treks. Instead of a restaurant event room, try a bespoke fireside dinner outdoors to engage the mind and spark connection between leaders. Move the ice breakers off the couches and bond during a challenging trek through a scenic location. Create transformational moments for the executive team during travel that’s intended to help communities in need. Or just be tourists at home and explore your city’s popular historic attractions with fresh eyes and the intention to apply past lessons to present problems.

Challenging doesn’t have to mean sky diving or even mountain biking; sometimes the adrenaline burst comes from winning a competition among peers or beating the clock for a mental exercise. Sharing in an authentic way and making personal connections beyond just business as usual might be the kind of challenge a team really needs. For a cultural adventure, many cities offer historic tours or art walks that can open participants to new ideas and give them a glimpse into the lives of the local community members without strenuous physical activity.

In planning leadership and executive retreats, remember to include something for the thrill-seekers and liven up the experience for everyone by pushing the limits in a creative way. These small gatherings are often ideal for really pushing the envelope if all the attendees are in agreement. Other ideas for smaller retreat settings include participation in local pastimes, such as fishing or dancing. Introducing an adventure or challenge into an event can ensure that participants leave with lasting memories.