Residence N1002 at The Residences at Seafire on Seven Mile Beach
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By Sue Nickason
Corporate retreats have long been touted as an effective medium for team building and strategic planning. When employees have the opportunity to meet away from their regular place of business, some of the benefits that can result include improved team morale and collaboration, reduced external distractions and enhanced big picture thinking.
For many retreat participants, the opportunity to spend time with colleagues in a different locale from the office is also a positive perk, particularly when employee awards and recognition programmes are built into the retreat agenda and when the venue is located in a desirable destination.
Choosing the right destination and venue for a corporate retreat is a multi-million dollar business for the meeting and incentive travel planning market. From luxury resorts on tropical islands to hip hotels in major urban centres, a myriad of options is available. But with those choices come risks, which is why some companies prefer owning their own corporate retreat.
Corporate retreats often serve as an occasion to discuss competitive strategies, coordinate launches of new products and services, plan company restructuring and decide on acquisitions or divestitures. In addition, retreats serve as opportunities for employees to “let their hair down” and socialise in settings that most corporations would prefer not to be shared with customers and suppliers. For these reasons, corporate groups often prioritise locating a property which can offer confidentiality.
Even venues hired for property-wide contracts pose potential security leaks by employees. Some hotels have abolished reader boards (signs which communicate which corporate groups are on property) in an effort to assure confidentiality but, even then, group identities remain at risk.
Ravello in Salt Creek
C-suite executives, celebrity speakers and politicians who participate in retreats pose another challenge for venues – assuring adequate security. Venues which ordinarily serve the public, even if closed for a private event, do not always have adequate resources or protocols when it comes to ensuring security for these guests.
Corporate retreats are often hosted at hotels, resorts or meeting and convention centres. Popular facilities can book years in advance, with availability and rate variability posing challenges for meeting planners. Corporations that need flexible access to facilities for unexpected planning exercises or confidential meetings can be sometimes challenged to find a venue available when they need it. A hotel renovation, a change in a corporate brand affiliation or even financial volatility of the property management company can also pose risks to the retreat host in executing a successful event.
For corporations that prioritise confidentiality, security, accessibility and quality corporate retreat facilities which reflect their company’s values and brand, there is an alternative – a corporate retreat that is owned by the company itself. In addition to using the facility for retreats, the property can be used for employee incentive trips, training and development programmes, philanthropy, to host suppliers as new business opportunities are being explored and, in some instances, the property can be leased to other like-minded corporations for similar purposes and to offset carrying costs.
The carrying costs are usually evaluated against the advantages of buying a property which has the potential to appreciate in value. When considering the annual costs incurred by renting venues for retreats, training, employee incentives and other purposes, purchasing a property can make good business sense.
The location of the corporate retreat is also important. Ease of access, sound infrastructure and telecommunications, general security and ancillary services (nearby recreational facilities such as golf clubs, marinas and entertainment venues) are considerations, as is reliable access to quality healthcare. A remote tropical island or an isolated mountain property may appear glamourous at first, but factors such as complicated flight routes and weak Wi-Fi can make these locations impractical.
For those seeking a private, luxury corporate retreat in an easy-to-access destination with solid infrastructure and a tropical island climate, the Cayman Islands is an ideal choice. “The Cayman Islands enjoys a reputation for offering privacy and safety to those who visit and live here,” says Dart VP of Marketing and Sales Sue Nickason. “The islands feature an impressive collection of private and spacious estates featuring stunning waterfront settings and convenient access to the wealth of recreational and culinary opportunities available. Our year-round tropical climate and sound infrastructure has made our destination a preferred choice for meeting planners.”
Nickason notes that properties suited to corporate retreats on Grand Cayman include canal-front residences like The Peninsula Estate, a 31,000-square-foot property featuring an expansive outdoor entertainment space, a 21-seat home theatre, a 24-seat outdoor amphitheatre, a 700-bottle wine cellar, and the island’s largest residential swimming pool.
For companies seeking a smaller property that provides privacy from the public and yet has full access to resort services, a penthouse condominium at The Residences at Seafire is a good choice. The five-bedroom, 3,883-square-foot residence offers uninterrupted views of Seven Mile Beach, use of a private owners’ rooftop terrace, 24-hour security and a full-time concierge, and full access to the services and facilities at the adjacent AAA Five Diamond-rated Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.
To learn more about the opportunities and benefits of owning a corporate retreat on Grand Cayman contact our luxury property sales specialists.
About the author
Sue Nickason has been VP Marketing and Sales at Dart Real Estate since May 2017. Originally from Canada, Sue has worked in luxury residential-resort development in the Caribbean for over a decade. Sue and her team are committed to promoting the unique value proposition of the Cayman Islands to those seeking to establish a personal and/or corporate presence here. They serve as trusted advisors and offer exceptional service, timely market information and a warm “Caymankind” welcome. Sue earned a BA (Honours) from Mount Allison University, an MBA (Distinction) from University of Guelph and has completed studies/earned certificates in journalism, economic development, adult education, customer service, revenue management, and protocol. Sue is a member of the Christie’s International Real Estate Master’s Circle and an Angel in the 100 WIF network.