12 Executive Retreat Ideas for Leadership in 2022

Home » Resources » Executive RetreatsUpdated: July 25, 2022

Here is our list of the best executive retreat ideas.

Executive retreat ideas are ways to bring corporate leaders together outside work settings to realize the retreat’s goal in a fun, stress-free manner. For example, beach picnics, movie nights, or football tournaments. These events aim to motivate corporate leaders to clarify work issues while having fun. These activities are similar to “leadership retreat ideas” and “management retreat ideas.”

These activities are examples of executive team building activities and company retreats. You can use destination management companies and event management software to help plan these events.

This list includes:

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  • ideas for leadership retreats for executives
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Here we go!

List of executive retreat ideas

You can plan several executive retreat activities in your company, ranging from a fishing getaway to a spa day. Here is a list of executive retreat ideas to try.

1. Cruise Retreat

A cruise is a trip on a boat or ship that allows passengers to see different destinations, cities, and islands from the boat. Cruises are an exciting idea for executive retreats. There are many facilities available on the ship for activities.

For example:

  • Casino
  • Spa
  • Fitness center
  • Beauty salon
  • Cinema
  • Medical center
  • Roller coaster
  • Skydiving simulators
  • Restaurants
  • Planetarium
  • Bars

Cruise retreats are relaxing and an excellent way for corporate leaders to de-stress. In addition to the fun-filled activities on the cruise ship, you get to have space to discuss business. Another plus is that attendees must stay for the duration of the trip instead of leaving early.

Pro tip: Before you book the boat, confirm that none of the executives is prone to extreme seasickness.

2. Fitness Sessions

Corporate leaders spend significant time working and reviewing goals for the company. Fitness sessions ensure that executives tend to their health in addition to the health of the organization. Exercise is one of the most energizing leadership retreat ideas for breaks. These sessions involve yoga, simple workouts, or healthy meal preparation.

If you want to organize a fitness event for executives, then you need to take your time to plan well. First, you should agree on the type of fitness activities by polling attendees.

Also, decide if you want to employ the service of a professional fitness trainer to supervise the event. For example, if the exercise is a simple fitness session involving dancing or skipping, then you may not need an expert trainer. On the other hand, you should book an experienced facilitator for activities like yoga. The trainer will supervise the fitness activities and ensure the executives take the correct form.

Also, decide the space you would need to use. For example, you can rent a local gym or take your workouts outdoors on sunny days.

Check out this list of team workout ideas, this list of online fitness classes for teams, and this guide to team yoga.

3. Spa Day

Spa days are relaxing experiences that make excellent executive retreat ideas.

There are many benefits of visiting a spa, including:

  • Spa services help you relax from work-related stress
  • Treatments like body massages and saunas serve as self-care
  • Spas reduce stress and can improve sleep quality
  • Treatments offered in a spa can increase blood circulation in the body
  • Body massages help to relax your muscles
  • Body treatments in a spa also enhance the appearance of your skin

Spa services vary by location and facility. Many spas have pools, saunas, and fitness spaces. A spa day is a fantastic opportunity for executives to recharge and return to work with more energy.

4. Executive Karaoke

Karaoke is one of the most fun and interactive executive retreat ideas. Karaoke is a form of entertainment where participants take turns singing their favorite popular songs.

This form of entertainment is fun because it is a group activity that promotes socialization and the expression of emotions.

Organizing a memorable karaoke party for executives is relatively easy, although you have to plan well. You can hire a private karaoke room for the party. Many karaoke lounges provide special lighting, equipment, and catalogs of music, or you can recreate this environment by renting a machine and setting up a large screen TV for lyrics. Do not forget to add refreshments like pizza, buttered popcorn, and cocktails or mocktails.

5. Leadership Movie Night

Movie nights are laid-back activities for executive retreats. These events are cost-effective and relaxing.

Required supplies

  • A space
  • A projector
  • Popcorn, cheese, and other snacks perfect for movie night
  • Comfy blankets
  • Beverages
  • Movies

Simply set up the seats and screen, pick a film, and allow the group to watch together.

After the movies, there should be a moment to discuss the film, share opinions, criticisms and have fun. You can also play games like two truths, one lie, charades, and trivia.

Here is a list of movies about leadership and teamwork.

6. Beach Day

The beach is one of the most relaxing executive retreat locations to visit.

Before planning a beach picnic, make sure you check the weather. You would not want a surprise rain to disrupt your picnic. Also, you need to pack up everything you need for the executives’ comfort and have a memorable, fun-filled day.

Beach picnic essentials include:

  • Folding chairs
  • Sunscreen
  • Picnic tables
  • Beach towels
  • Cutlery
  • Beach tent
  • Water bottles
  • Food containers
  • Hand napkins
  • Blankets
  • Beach mat
  • Beach umbrella
  • Flip-flops
  • Cups

Watching the waters at the beach or taking a swim can relax executives. Plus, execs can compete in challenges like sandcastle building contests and volleyball.

Beach volleyball fosters team building, which is one of the purposes of an executive retreat. First, gather a volleyball, a volleyball net, a volleyball court, and four or more players.

Then, divide the players into two teams. Each team will stand on each side of the volleyball net.

The basic rules of the game are:

  1. Only your hands can hit the ball
  2. The ball cannot touch the ground
  3. A team can only hit the ball three times before hitting it over the net back to the opposing team.
  4. A team scores a point when the opposing team allows the ball to touch the ground or hits the ball more than three times.
  5. When a team scores 21 points, that team wins a set.
  6. The team that wins two sets wins the game.

You can tweak some of the game’s rules to the choice of the executives. After all, the goal is to have a fun-filled day and not engage in stiff competition.

Here is a list of the best beach day ideas for work.

7. Executive Camping

The woods is one of the best ideas for executive retreat locations. Camping provides you and your team the space to discuss the goal of your retreat while reconnecting with nature.

You can book the service of a camp retreat business to take your camping experience to a new level. For instance, some camping resorts have fire pits attendees can gather around in the evening to play games, sing aloud, make s’mores, or discuss business.

You can rent or lodge in rooms with bunk beds. Using bunk beds will allow two or more executives to share a room, get to know each other better, and experience a bonding moment.

If your executives are not outdoorsy types, then you can book a luxury glamping experience instead of roughing it.

Check out more outdoor team building activities.

8. Hiking

Hiking is a great physical exercise to keep your body and mind active. While walking, participants can see natural views like lakes and mountains and get a sense of calm.

To set up a hike, first, choose a simple path. Then, obtain a map of the route and familiarize yourself with the directions.

After studying the map, select an appropriate day for hiking. Before committing to a day, you should check the weather forecast and perhaps choose a rain date. Ensure you recheck the weather forecast and dress appropirately for the weather conditions. For example, if the weather is freezing, you will want to wear thicker clothes than hotter periods when light clothing might suffice.

Also, wear good quality shoes with good traction. This type of shoe will give you a good balance and reduce the chances of slipping.

More importantly, take all necessary gear with you. Before starting the journey, go over your equipment to ensure none is missing.

Your gear should include:

  • First aid kit
  • Extra clothes
  • Food
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Trekking pole
  • Light
  • A knife
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Lighter or matches

Hiking offers many health benefits to executives, like stronger muscles and a lower risk of heart-related problems. Executives can chat casually or hold a walking meeting while traversing the trail.

9. Go for Wine Tasting

Enjoying a glass of wine is relaxing. Wine tasting is one of the most sophisticated leadership retreat ideas to try. As the name implies, wine tasting means sampling and sharing opinions about different kinds of wine. The practice dates back thousands of years.

Wine tasting is an excellent idea for an executive retreat. You organize the tasting with a specific theme if desired. For instance, you can focus on the value of the wine or taste wines from around the world. If you are hosting a DIY tasting rather than visiting a winery, then gather all necessary materials beforehand. Required supplies include glass cups, wines, and a spit bucket for those who would like to spit out the wine after tasting.

To engage in wine tasting, pour each executive an ounce of wine. The executives experience the drink with senses such as sight, smell, and taste. Proper technique involves swirling the wine in the glass or mouth and spitting the drink instead of swallowing.

Once the executives identify which wines are their favorites, you can gift bottles to participants.

For remote teams, here is a list of online wine tasting experiences.

10. Fishing

Fishing is a fun sport that can foster better communication among executive members and is one of the executive retreat ideas corporate leaders should try.

Planning a fishing trip is not so easy. First, decide if you want to fish in your region or travel to an ocean, river, or lake. Next, agree on the species of fish to target. After deciding on these details, you should secure lodging.

Also, make sure all participants have good fishing gear like hooks, rods, and lures. Fishing is a great sport that relieves stress. In addition, the practice can improve concentration and communication.

Traveling to fish in another location makes the experience a lot different. If you plan to fly to a fishing destination, then check with the airline to be sure their guidelines allow fishing tackle on the plane.

Even if you do not base the whole retreat around fishing, you can make the sport a part of the experience by renting fishing equipment and heading towards a pond, lake, or river. You can also charter a boat for a more intensive fishing experience.

11. Talent Show Picnic

You can also organize a talent show event for the executives to display their talents and ward off work stress. For this event, you do not need ample space or a venue. Instead, you can organize a picnic-themed talent show.

Before the event, list out a run of show. Also, decide what food to eat on that day. Ask the executives to note down food allergies so that you can plan the menu accordingly.

Organizing this talent show event is straightforward. After picking a date and getting everything needed ready, ranging from blankets to picnic foods, you can start the show. Each executive takes turns to show off talents like dancing, singing, juggling, or beatboxing.

This event allows corporate leaders to de-stress and bond together. After the talent show has ended, you can briefly talk about work. However, if your primary goal for the executive retreat is team building,  then you can participate in other bonding games like scavenger hunts.

Pro tip: After the games, you can give the winners a gift. Vacuum insulated bottles and mini wines boxes make great executive retreat gift ideas.

Learn more about hosting your own employee picnic.

For remote teams, you can plan a virtual talent show as well.

12. Soccer Tournaments

Soccer tournaments are one of the most fun executive retreat activities. First, prepare the location to play the matches. You can rent a small space or use a readily available area like the carpark.

Next, divide the executives into teams, and let each team wear jerseys. Set the game’s rules, including the amount of time spent in each round, and communicate the rules to every player.

Then, decide the style of the tournament. You can choose to play until participants agree to stop, and the team with the highest number of goals wins. Or, you can choose to play in rounds, and the team that wins the highest number of games wins. If there is a tie, where both teams win an equal number of rounds, then play an additional round. The team that breaks the tie by scoring the highest number of goals in the new round wins.

Soccer makes an awesome team building game for the executives. If your group is not soccer fans, then you can play a tournament with a sport of choice.

Conclusion

An executive retreat is an excellent way to carry business matters from the regular conference rooms to more informal settings. These events allow executive members to de-stress, keep fit, discuss work matters, and build a strong team at the same time.

You do not need to spend a lot of money to plan executive retreats. You can schedule an event that is fun yet within your company’s budget.

Next, check out these lists of fun group activities for retreats, leadership activities, leadership skills and VIP gift ideas.

FAQ: Executive retreats

Here are answers to questions about executive retreats.

What are executive retreats?

Executive retreats are activities that focus on team building and de-stressing. These retreats also involve coming up with strategic plans to solve workplace issues.

What do you do on an executive retreat?

On executive retreats, you can play team-building games with other executives. You can also engage in fun activities like swimming and focus on your mental and physical health. These exercises boost the morale of the executives and re-energize the group.

What are some good executive retreat ideas?

Some good executive retreat ideas involve taking a yoga class, having a spa session, or going to the beach.

How do you hold an executive retreat?

First, you have to plan to hold an executive retreat. Planning involves defining the goals of the executive retreat, and selecting activities. You also pick a location and calculate the cost. The cost calculation will include all equipment you buy or rent, transport cost, cabin or hotel rent, food cost. It helps to recruit a committee to help with planning and running the event. Finally, send out invitations, gather your group, and enjoy the activities.

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Author: Grace He

Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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