5 Ways to Rethink Executive Retreats for Maximum Impact

An aerial view of Bermuda's Keep Fort, a high-walled stone structure jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. A small group of executives mingle during an outdoor event on the platform, where they can enjoy a panoramic view of the clear aqua water as part of their corporate retreat's evening itinerary.

Skift Take

In light of today’s hybrid work realities, executive retreats have to do more than indulge VIPs in luxury. Here are five ways meeting planners can design intimate experiences that leave leaders rejuvenated, inspired, and ready to hit the ground running upon their return.

This content was created collaboratively by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

In the post-pandemic work world, high-level C-suite meetings aren’t just an important driver of business success. They’re also a critical interpersonal element of hybrid structures, bringing teams together and giving leadership a shared sense of purpose. The realities of business today pose a fresh set of challenges, from meeting sustainability goals to anticipating the twists and turns of developments in artificial intelligence.

To meet this turbulent moment, business leaders must step outside their routines and gain perspective by recharging in beautiful destinations. For executive getaways to work optimally, they need to be as hassle-free and convenient as possible. At the same time, they need to provide an engaging change of scenery that helps inspire new ideas. Conveniently located between North America and Europe, Bermuda balances these drives perfectly. The island oasis puts all the key ingredients within visiting executives’ reach — from breathtaking nature landscapes to high-end art galleries and outdoor adventures to community initiatives.

Skift Meetings partnered with the leaders of Bermuda’s tourism industry to demonstrate how island life can inspire a more meaningful kind of VIP retreat, from executive gatherings to board meetings and more. Pulled from the How to Think Big About Small VIP Retreats report, here are five ideas to help meeting planners design high-impact VIP retreats that make a difference no matter how intimate they are.

1. Redefine Exclusivity

Premium accommodations are table stakes for C-level executives; event organizers need to expand their interpretation of exclusivity to more than just luxury hotels. The 181 islands and inlets that make up Bermuda offer planners tons of opportunities to turn an entire landmass into a temporary private retreat complete with meeting spaces, luxury accommodations, and once-in-a-lifetime nature experiences.

2. Prioritize Creativity

At a certain level of leadership, opportunities to let your guard down and be vulnerable are few and far between. Carving out the space for creativity to blossom is an important part of any executive gathering, whether by immersion in the same Bermudian island vibe that inspired John Lennon in the ‘80s or by taking up the local spirit of adventure with a thrilling group cliff dive.

3. Get Outside

There’s nothing like a deep dive into the glory of the natural world to take full advantage of an escape from office culture and everyday work routines. And Bermuda may be famous for its glistening beaches, but there’s more there than meets the eye; the 18-mile Bermuda Railway Trail will take visitors across the island above ground, while the Crystal Caves boast sprawling underground lakes and thousands of colorful stalactites.

4. Highlight History

In addition to the perspective of distance, there’s value in the perspective of time; learning from the past is a helpful way to understand the present and plan for the future. Bermuda played a critical role in the American Revolution, became a key military base during World War II, and hosted a peace summit for post-war diplomacy. Getting up close and personal with UNESCO World Heritage Sites and replicas of 1800s Bermudian ships is a surefire way to help leaders zoom out and see the big picture.

5. Provide Convenience

No matter how beautiful a destination is, the advantages of a retreat can start to diminish if it’s too far away or hard to get to. Nonstop service connects Bermuda to major business hubs like Atlanta, New York, Toronto, and London. And along with that traveler convenience comes planner savings; complimentary experiences and booking incentives make planning a retreat in Bermuda a cost-effective investment.

In this guide, you’ll find:

  • Ideas for elevated luxury experiences beyond premium hotels
  • Tips on how to start VIP retreats even before departure
  • Strategies for using spontaneous adventure to spark creativity
  • Nature experiences that go beyond sunbathing at pristine beaches
  • The importance of connecting with local communities and businesses
  • Opportunities for historical lessons and cultural immersion
  • How to pair guest convenience and company savings

This content was created collaboratively by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.