Unique Retreats and Experiences Helps Build Corporate Culture
Building corporate culture, creating employee engagement, and relationship-building are key soft-power objectives of successful incentive travel programs, according to the 2019 Incentive Travel Industry Index. When organizations incorporate elements of nature, time and space for relaxation, opportunities for play and connection in inspiring environments in their incentive travel programs, their out-of-the-box approach can pay off with top performers returning home re-energized, re-inspired, and ready to tackle their next big goal.
For many organizations, just such out-of-the-box incentive experiences and team-bonding opportunities are found in Canada, in a collection of wilderness resorts and off-the-beaten-path incentive destinations and experiences, where collectively their teams can unplug from modern-day distractions, and tap into the restorative effects of nature.
It’s well documented, says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director of Destination Canada’s Business Events team, that “experiences in nature lead to improvements in attention span, self-discipline and physical fitness, all while reducing stress.” Who wouldn’t want their top performers in such shape?
Time to get off the beaten path and into the wild.
Three of Canada’s most sought-after incentive retreats are luxe, coastal resorts only accessible by helicopter, floatplane, or by sea. Each offers an unparalleled stage for exclusive corporate outings that foster creativity and fresh perspectives, making them some of the best places in Canada to reward peak performance.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
It’s been called a summer camp on steroids, or, according to a recent Vanity Fair article, where Downtown Abbey meets the Canadian wilderness. Even better than the summer camp of your childhood? Clayoquot Wilderness Resort’s wild outpost is meant for grown-up corporate retreats. Situated in a million-acres protected biosphere playground just off the western coast of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot may be secluded, but that’s just what attracts the likes of United American Insurance who hosted their leadership development board meeting in the tented safari camp.
“This was four-times as great as the European trips I have ever taken,” noted one of their executives in a testimonial for the remote, yet refined resort that specializes in exclusive buy-outs of their 25 luxury safari tents tucked along the coast and in the surrounding forest.
Sarah Cruse, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort's general manager agrees. "I see people come alive and alert at such a different level at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, as the noise of the outside world fades away, and the important things come to life, like connecting to your teammates, and yourself. The natural setting of CWR creates an environment of harmony and healing, open conversation, real talk with real people, going deep on all levels. The end results of a corporate retreat here are spectacular: teams depart the resort feeling refreshed, inspired, and united."
Book the resort for a team building experience that includes target shooting and archery competitions, rock climbing and hiking ancient rainforest cathedrals and lush fern gardens with only a compass and carefully crafted clues. The reward for the winning team? Bragging rights, of course, and a closer connection.
High-end luxury meets pristine west coast wilderness along British Columbia’s coast at Sonora Resort, a private island oasis, only accessible by charter helicopter, floatplane, or by sea. Whether you meet here to reward your team for a job well done, or to brainstorm a new corporate direction, this secluded paradise allows for meetings that are highly focused and positively unforgettable.
Pristine natural surroundings are paired with top-rate, fully-equipped modern meeting spaces and gourmet cuisine spotlighting the bounty of the west coast land and water. In between brainstorming sessions and business meetings your team can experience the best of the west: whale-watching, trophy salmon fishing, guided hiking excursions, wildlife watching, and more.
Nimmo Bay Resort
There are no roads leading to Nimmo Bay Resort making the journey part of the adventure. Just 1.5-hours flight from Vancouver, Seattle, and Victoria, this oceanside eco-resort is remote, yet easy to get to: charter seaplanes and helicopters deliver guests right from their international airport to the door of the resort which floats, magically on the Broughton Archipelago, amongst the fjords of British Columbia’s fragmented mainland coast. Tucked into the 21-million-acre Great Bear Rainforest, Nimmo Bay is surrounded by one of the largest coastal temperate rainforests left in the world; with a grand, gushing waterfall anchoring the heart of the property.
Family owned for almost 40 years, the team at Nimmo Bay “feel so grateful that we get to host groups as they come together and transform,” says Becky Murray, Nimmo Bay’s Director of Operations, Finance and People. “Everyone arrives on the go, connected to their mobile devices and unknowingly over stimulated. The magic of Nimmo Bay is that we get to offer these groups the opportunity to slow down, breathe in the natural world and watch the connections grow as the city melts away.”
Once here, the pace slows down to the rhythm of the rainforest. Murray notes that, “every itinerary is tailored for each group and we find some groups choose to set up formal meetings for portions of each day, while others use our space strictly for team-building. Most groups find themselves hiking, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Regardless of the itinerary, what we hear over and over again is that being out in nature, away from the city, the conversation shifts.”
Leveraging the natural environment to create organization change and find connections where none previously existed are just two outcomes of hosting corporate groups at the resort. “At Nimmo Bay we are able to feel the wisdom from the natural world a little more easily,” says Murray. “This allows us to feel a little smaller and to feel the differences between us a little less, which ultimately allows us to feel humbled and more connected. It truly is magic!”
The intangible takeaways of immersive incentive experiences
Memorable experiences are the intangible takeaways of successful incentive programs. And while every activity Nimmo Bay, Sonora Resort or Clayoquot Wilderness Resort offers is fully customizable, some are just downright awe-inspiring:
- Helicopter to a mountaintop picnic atop a 10,000-year old glacier, gaining access to over 50,000 square miles of pristine wilderness within minutes of liftoff.
- Spend an afternoon watching for the giants of the deep: humpback and grey whales, and magnificent orcas.
- Kayak with seals, sea lions and playful porpoise.
- Spy grizzly and black bears fishing for salmon on an interpretive nature tour.
- Heli-fish any of 50 isolated rivers or streams for wild, Pacific salmon.
Of course these are just three of the uniquely wild, uniquely Canadian incentive experiences to be had in Canada. Searching for other ideas?