Whether you’re hosting a board meeting, strategy meeting, workshop or family fun day, bringing people together in a space away from the office can be transformative for your team and culture.
There’s nothing like time away from your busy schedule to get your heads together and get focused. The chance to transport into a different space and time can unleash creativity and awaken new ways of thinking. By coming together in a place with none of the usual day to day distractions, you’ll not only get some serious work done, but also have time for play and to strengthen bonds.
And after prolonged periods of working from home and endless Zoom calls, time together, in person, has never been more valuable.
But, what does the perfect venue for your corporate event look like?
Hotels are often a popular option. But they can be uninspiring and full of interruptions. You’re tied to pre-arranged coffee and lunch breaks, disrupting your flow. Your notes are cleared away overnight, leaving you floundering.
What you need is a focused agenda with all the right tools; a strong internet connection, large TV screens for presentations, and good audio. You need space to eat and sleep well, to have fun together, and to get the job done. That’s not easily achieved over a couple of days crammed into a hotel meeting room.
The venue you select for your event has the ability to define the entire experience. It can make or break the event. So what should you be thinking about when choosing a venue?
There's nothing like time away from your busy schedule to get your heads together and get focused.
Like where your delegates are travelling from and the type of activities you want to host.
Here are some of the key factors you’ll need to consider.
Of course, you’re going to need somewhere convenient and accessible for your delegates. Consider where they’re coming from. If you have colleagues coming from abroad, you will need to find a venue within easy reach of an airport. You may want to be close to a train station and for the venue to offer private parking should you have delegates who wish to drive.
The specific objectives of your event is likely to impact the type of venue you require. Is the goal collaboration, focused work, team building, motivating employees, or celebration? Make sure you keep your goal in mind when searching for your venue.
For example, if you’re planning a strategy meeting for 12 people, you’ll need a comfortable space for focused work. If you’re going to be bringing in people remotely, you will need to consider whether the venue has the technology to facilitate an experience that allows virtual participants to feel as much a part of the team as those in the room.
If you’re hosting a series of workshops, you may want a range of versatile spaces where you can gather and break out with ease. And if you want to incorporate outdoor activities like archery or tug of war into your event, a venue with large grounds will be ideal.
Or perhaps you’re looking for a space to launch a new product. You’ll need a venue of the right size and scale and with all the facilities you need to showcase them, whether that’s indoors or outdoors.
Size and layout
Understanding the goals of your event will help you identify the ideal size and layout of the venue you need. If the capacity for your venue is 200, and you have exactly 200 attendees, you may run into issues when you add in things like activities and food. At the same time, you don’t want to choose a venue that feels too large for your group as it will make it harder for delegates to engage with each other.
You will also want to think about the layout of the venue and how it can accommodate your needs. Do you want to be able to host a big dinner party after a day of hard work? Do you also want a snug library where people can go to do quiet work? How about a large open space that can accommodate a live band and dance floor?
The ideal venue will often be one with a variety of spaces that can accommodate all your needs. And that allows you to move seamlessly and freely between spaces.
A corporate offsite isn’t meant to feel like an everyday experience. You’re giving your delegates a life experience. You want it to be creative, energising, and for people to come away feeling like it’s the best event they’ve ever attended. Delegates will have taken time out of their busy schedules and away from their families. It needs to feel worth their time. So why not reward them with something a bit different? Something a bit quirky and unique? Somewhere that offers more than a hotel. Castles, villas and other unique venues are an ideal fit as they can provide an exclusive space for your team. They give plenty of opportunities for people to come together and spread out as well as space for BBQs, parties and other activities.
Ideally, you’ll want a space that is customisable. A space where you can move the furniture around and adapt the surroundings to your liking. A space with different sized rooms for small and large groups to gather and break out. This is your event. With versatile spaces, you can really tailor the experience for your delegates.
In creating a memorable experience for your delegates, good food - and plenty of it - is going to be important. After a day of talking strategy, you may want to hold a formal dinner party or a casual BBQ. A great breakfast is going to be equally important for setting your team up for the day ahead. When considering different venues, take a look at what they can offer and whether it fits with your vision.
Very few offsite meetings are all work and no play. Incorporating a sense of fun is vital as it can help boost teamwork and camaraderie. So when choosing a venue, it’s important to think about how you can add in activities or opportunities for people to try something new. A game of tug and war, an outdoor cinema experience, a banquet dinner or live band. The choice should be all yours.
It’s also a good idea to plan unstructured time into your programme as it’s important for delegates to have some discretionary time. Look for a venue that has space for employees to take a walk and decompress, or for a pair of colleagues to slip into comfortable armchairs and catch up over a drink.
Whether you're hosting a board meeting, strategy meeting, workshop or presentation, strong, unlimited wifi and sound AV technology are going to be crucial to your event. Any good venue should provide these for free, but the standard will vary, so it’s always a good idea to check the capabilities. If you’re looking for a venue to live stream a launch event around the world, this will be especially important.
If your event is taking place over a couple of days and attracting people from all over, then you’ll want to provide them with a place to stay. The ideal scenario would be to choose a venue that has accommodation on-site. It may be that your chosen venue doesn’t offer enough accommodation for all of your delegates, in which case you may also want to consider if there are hotels or B&Bs close by where wider teams can stay.
The importance of a site visit
If you want your event to really wow your delegates, a site visit is absolutely necessary. Once you step foot onto the grounds and into the venue, you’ll know instantly if it’s that something special you’ve been looking for. You’ll also want to check practical elements like equipment capabilities and the flow of the venue. All of these details will help you understand what your delegates will be walking into.
How you and your colleagues can benefit from time together away from the office.
Getting together away from the office is the perfect way to boost productivity. With none of the day to day distractions, your team will have dedicated time to focus, be more engaged, and better able to get great work done.
Stepping outside of your normal context can have a subliminal effect. It awakens new senses and ways of thinking, allowing new ideas to come to light and creativity to flourish. Offsites also enable employees to break away from their office personality and relate to each other in different ways, which can lead to meaningful ideas.
Better aligned teams
You may have teams who on a day to day basis, never get the chance to interact. Bringing together people from different areas of the business offers a chance to hear from different voices and better understand each other.
Spending time with colleagues outside of the normal working environment allows for new friendships to blossom and relationships to strengthen. There’s time to see each other in a different light and connect on a personal level. A deep conversation over dinner, a helping hand during a physical challenge, your team will feel more connected than ever.
Sometimes all it takes is a few days out of the office and some focused time together to get people aligned to the same page. The best kind of corporate event is one where delegates come away feeling better connected, with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
Your office conference rooms may be fitted with technology, but a different venue could provide you access to newer or better technology. This can allow you to be more creative with your presentations or your virtual meetings, so people get more out of them. Or you may be looking for a venue from which to launch a new product around the world, in which case you’ll need advanced technology to make it possible.
If you’re looking for something different, somewhere unforgettable to create lasting memories, Rose Castle is the perfect exclusive use space for your corporate event or offsite.
You’ll have full use of the six historic reception rooms and 60 acres of outdoor space to bring your vision to life. And with 15 comfortable bedrooms, there’s space for you and key delegates to stay at the castle.
Six historic reception rooms can each be tailored to your requirements. The State Dining Room can host an intimate banquet for 30, up to 80 seated theatre-style for your keynote speakers to energise and inform your wider teams, or up to 100 standing for a product launch or party. The Bishop’s Library and The Nicolson Room offer intimate spaces for small workshops groups for up to 30. While The Peace Study works as a boardroom for 12.
You’ll also have full access to the castle’s 60-acre grounds. Set up a marquee on the Bishop’s Lawn, the perfect space to host a product launch or family fun day. Or make use of the 7 acres of curated gardens, orchards and paddocks for workshops, break out groups, and contemplation.
There’s plenty of space to get great work done and to inspire reflection, informal dialogue and personal connections.
Rose Castle is set in the heart of the beautiful Caldew Valley, in 60 acres of carefully curated gardens with views of the Lake District and Helvellyn in the distance. Your guests will be wowed from the moment they turn onto the tree-lined drive on the approach to the castle. Rose Castle benefits from being both private and secluded from the outside world whilst also being easy to get to, with the M6, Carlisle Rail Station and Carlisle Airport all under 20 minutes away.
All the technology you need
There’s nothing worse than going to a venue and struggling to get onto the wifi or not having the right cable to connect to the TV screen. At Rose Castle, every detail has been thought of to deliver a seamless experience. 1 Gigabit wifi flows throughout the castle, there’s no technology black spot. You can even access wifi in the Chapel. Cisco Meraki, a cloud-based management system that allows you to control different levels of firewall has been installed for your ease of use and security. The local area network allows music to play seamlessly in different rooms. All bedrooms have embedded USB charging sockets so there’s no risk of laptops running out of juice right when you need it. Bedrooms can also be fitted with Sonos or Alexa devices to delight your delegates. Want to put on a remote workshop or stream your product launch around the world? We have the facilities to make it possible.
Feast over a banquet in the elegant State Dining Room or host a casual BBQ in the spacious grounds. Our team will work with you to design a menu tailored to your requirements.
It’s not often you get everyone together, so it’s the perfect occasion for an activity or two. With a 60-acre estate and the Lake District on the doorstep, there are endless opportunities for adventure. Have a tug of war on the vast open expanse beyond the moat, or abseil down the castle. Introduce a bit of competition, let the true personalities of your team shine, allow bonds to form and strengthen. A bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone.
Or perhaps you’re hosting an event for a thousand of your employees and their families. A bird of prey experience, bouncy castle or obstacle course; there’s plenty of space to entertain your guests.
With our bespoke system K.I T.E (Keep It Exceptional), we hope to unpack your guests’ needs and preferences. Do they need a USB or USB-C port? A lighting connector? Would they prefer an Alexa or Sonos device in their room? We’ll take over the practical elements of your event, from dietary requirements to pillow preferences, their favourite tea. We’ll work with you to create an unforgettable experience for your team.
Each stay at Rose Castle is designed to be so fundamentally different to a hotel. A place that’s unique, can be tailored to your specific requirements and can facilitate lasting memories for you and your guests.
Everything is tailored to your needs, from the food you eat to the activities and hosting style. You get to regulate when things happen. It’s your castle. And you’re supported by a team to deliver a seamless experience, where everything is effortless and smooth. Want to push lunch back an hour? You’ve no need to worry. We’re ready when you are.
Taking a seat at the original Bishop’s desk, with views of your castle grounds. You’re the host, this is your space. The day’s agenda is displayed on the TV screen above, so everyone can stay up to date with what’s happening.
You gather in the State Dining Room for a presentation before breaking out into the Peace Study and Bishop’s Library for smaller group work. In between sessions, there’s space to wander the grounds to cultivate thinking. Your team will come back to debating and strategising feeling refreshed and ready to focus.
As the hard work comes to a close, take a seat in a cosy armchair in the elegant State Drawing Room, and feel a sense of peace as you gaze out onto the grounds through the large bay windows. Feel the delight radiate from your team as they are served their favourite drink, unprompted. You then gather in the State Dining Room for a feast fit for a Bishop, before retiring to The Lumley Room for a nightcap.
Start the next day with a generous breakfast made from locally sourced products, including Rose Castle’s own vegetable garden. Your overseas colleagues are feeling jet-lagged, so have helped themselves to a snack from the Boost Room, open 24 hours.
After another morning of great progress, the afternoon is dedicated to taking your team out of their comfort zone and introducing some friendly competition. Cricket on the Bishop’s Lawn, tug of war, or abseiling down the Castle. Whatever you want to do, the Rose Castle team can make it happen.
You finish at 5, and there’s time to freshen up, visit the Chapel, or take a wander through the spacious grounds before the families arrive. You host a live band in the State Dining Room or outside on the grounds. An informal BBQ helps everyone to feel at ease. Outdoor table tennis, bouncy castles and face painting keep the children entertained.
You wander away from the crowd for a moment, taking it all in. Your team, more connected than ever.