Planning & Budgeting For Your Corporate Retreat

Planning & budgeting for an overseas retreat or even a team-building retreat in Singapore often can be a scary matter especially when it involves thousands of dollars.  To guide you along this process, we’ve come up with the 5 major cost areas often associated with an overseas retreat and things to consider for each area.

PS. If you are just getting started, we highly suggest checking out our article on the first 3 things to consider for your overseas corporate retreat before reading this as it’ll help set the overall direction in this part. Click here to hop over.

1. Accommodation
2. Meals
3. Transport
4. Event Management & Activities
5. Misc

Before going into each of the 5 factors, we would like to highlight the most important point that affects all 5 factors, the overall destination & location.

Destination & Location – Overall Cost & Ambience
There are so many destinations available around the world and similar to holidays, some locations would be naturally cheaper than others.

Eg. Batam Vs Bintan (Both under 1.5 hours away from Singapore by Ferry) where hotels & the ferry ride alone is about 40% cheaper in Batam than Bintan. However cheap sometimes comes at a price. The transport system, hotel facilities & area in Batam is much less developed as compared to Bintan with Batam being known for its affordability & cheap shopping whilst Bintan is better known for its serenity & pristine beaches.

However, that being said, there are hotels destinations in Batam such as Montigo Resort Or Turi Beach Resort that will end up being more expensive than an entry-level resort in Bintan.

Now that we’ve set some context, let’s hop into the 5 major cost areas.

Accommodation expenses will take up a sizeable budget of the retreat but is an area you would probably not want to scrimp on especially if there are many ladies. In every location, there’ll always be low budget, mid & high budget hotels so a decision you will also need to make would be, do we go to a cheaper location but nicer hotel or nicer location but cheaper hotel.

Apart from that, other considerations would be the no. of pax within a room. Would you want it to be twin sharing, triple sharing (with an extra bed) or single?  PS. You can also consider having this tiered based on seniority levels eg. senior management – single room, managers – twin sharing and so forth.


Meals are another area of consideration. Here’s the first part to consider. Do you plan to provide for all meals or only for the meals within the scheduled time? Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, you can start planning the different meals.

Breakfast is normally included with the hotel stay so we can get that out of the way. For the rest of the meals, if you are having a meeting, check if the meeting room package includes lunch & tea breaks as they normally come in a set. For the remaining days you don’t have a meeting, consider taking your team to a  local restaurant where they’ll get to try the local cuisine, most local restaurants in the region tend to be alot cheaper than their hotel counterparts. For dinner, mixing a nice BBQ dinner in the hotel for one night with another at a seafood kelong taking in more local culture would also be alot lighter on the pocket then two dinner nights in the hotel.

PS. expensive does always mean good and noone wants to have all their meals in the hotel.

Before we move on, for companies filled with lots of alcohol lovers, rmb to set aside some budget for booze during dinners.


Transport during a corporate retreat can be broken into 2 easy parts. International transport to get to your foreign destination (bus/ ferry/plane) as well as local/ domestic transport to get transport you and your team around once you get there.

If you are on a budget, we recommend travelling via bus/ ferry to somewhere nearby instead of spending it on flights. Popular locations to explore by ferry would be Batam and Bintan and Johor, Desaru or Malacca by bus. Most of these location options would typically be less than 50% of the cost of flying If you have slightly more days, consider heading up further towards Port Dickson.

If you do decide to fly, remember to include cost of baggage.


Event Management & Activities
There are many ways one can approach this area.
a) Manage the main event yourself including hotels & flights. Pick & choose the activities you and your team want to do locally and book direct. PS. going on a quick exploration with your team around the city might cost almost nothing and might be smth everyone wants to do and does make for good bonding.
b) Book a local event management company to help with event and logistics management once you are there
c) Engage an events & corporate retreat organizer and get them to help you with everything that you need to run the event.

At the end of the day, there are pros & cons to each. In terms of cost, option a & b will likely be cheaper than option c.

If your team is small, then we would recommend option a as coordination of logistics would be minimal and schedules tend to be more flexible, it is often also the most economical option. If you are on a budget but your event is of a certain size, consider taking option b and work with a local provider that has strong experience within their country. However if budget is not a huge constraint and you would prefer not to go through the stress of planning an event and all the admin work that goes into it, option 3 might be the answer. If the corporate retreat provider can also help plan the activities, then there might be some cost savings there as well. If you still have some money left, allocate some to local/ cultural activities such as a trishaw tour around the city, white- water rafting or if you want to help the community, consider doing some volunteer work in the local community.


Oh Misc, an area often overlooked by many but sometimes ends up leaving a huge dent on the budget . Here’s a quick list of the various other items to consider for your event as you put together your budget.
– Tourist Visas – If you have a largely international workforce, this is smth you’ll need to set some budget aside for particularly in southeast asian countries. Oh yes, since we are in this topic, if you do need those visas, do try to get that out of the way as soon as possible.
– Insurance – An absolute must for all overseas trips. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Before you jump on purchasing it, check with your HR department on the current coverage. 5 out of 10 times, companies for staff already have coverage when they travel and there’s no point buying two sets because regardless, you would only be able to claim on one side.
– Door Gifts – If you are feeling a lil fancy or have some loose change lying around after booking everything else, consider providing a door gift/ care pack that themed to your destination such as a waterproof bag, phone case and suntan lotion if they are going to the beach  or a simple event t-shirt to remember the event.
– Prizes – Whether it’s lucky prizes for the fancy dinner or just prizes for activities, prizes are a good incentive to lift moods and promote a little friendly competition. If you are on a budget but want to give out prizes, we suggest even providing local snacks or handicrafts as prizes and support the local economy.

If you’ve reached this point, you are all ready to start budgeting for the event. If you do decide that it’s too much of a hassle and are looking to work with a team-building organizer or a corporate retreat provider, we would love for the opportunity to stand a chance to win your team’s heart. Check out more info on our overseas team building retreat here or simply contact us directly here.

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