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Return-to-Work Policies Spark a Rise in Hotel Corporate Retreat Bookings

As corporations bring more employees back to their offices, hotels are benefiting from an uptick in companies booking staff retreats.

Barbara Stirewalt, vice president and general manager of Mohonk Mountain House in New Platz, New York, said in an email interview that her property is experiencing a year-over-year increase in demand for corporate retreats, with a total of 33 on the books from Oct. 25 until the end of this year.

“I do think this can be attributed to the uptick to the return to office and companies’ interests in providing a space for their employees to form meaningful relationships and reestablish their company culture,” she added.

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Shown here is the Seaview Resort, Dolce Hotels and Resorts by Wyndham, in Galloway, New Jersey. (Wyndham Hotels and Resorts)

Carol Lynch, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ senior vice president of global sales, said her team began seeing more interest in April from companies wanting to book retreats, particularly at its Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Seaview Resort in Galloway Township, New Jersey.


Corporations want their team members to reconnect and hold strategy and planning meetings in person again, she added.

At Miraval Resorts and Spas, Dina Fenili, director of brand and marketing, said via email that leads for corporate wellness retreats have increased across all of Miraval’s properties in recent months.

“Recently, we’ve been seeing companies looking to fit these retreats in before the end of the year or even in the first half of next year,” she added. “We are so grateful for the interest and are working hard to capture this business across all three Miraval properties.”

The size of groups that are booking is growing, too.



Shown here is the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. (Miraval Resorts and Spas)

Fenili said group sizes at Miraval are averaging about 20 guests and growing to 50 and 60 at times. Miraval encourages guests and groups to stay for a minimum of three nights, and it is seeing an extended length of stay for these groups of three to four evenings on average.

Groups at Mohonk Mountain House are from a mix of small and large companies, ranging from six to 60 people, Stirewalt said. In general, the booking window is between two and four weeks and the typical length of stay is two nights and three days.

At Wyndham’s properties that are hosting corporate retreats, the booking window is about six months out, Lynch said.

“We expect that could shrink a bit as more and more companies get back to their offices, when more planning takes place together in person,” she added.


While many of Wyndham’s long-term corporate customers are returning and requesting these bookings, there are also new customers interested in corporate retreats. When Wyndham launched its business program a year ago, it generated 1,000 new accounts, she said.

Additionally, Wyndham launched the Meetings Collection in November, with the purpose of creating a “network of premium meetings-focused hotels,” according to a news release.

“The whole reason we launched this collection was to be able to capture as many of the meetings as an individual corporation would have,” she added. “So if somebody came to us today and said we have a corporate retreat for you … we would be more than happy to do that. Then, on top of it, our next question would be ‘What other meetings are you planning?'”

If a client books two or three meetings within a certain amount of days, Wyndham could offer a discount and extra added benefits, she said.

Ray Aberman, associate director of marketing and communications for real estate investment and development firm Time Equities Inc., which includes the Shoal Bay West, Anguilla-based Altamer Resort in its portfolio, said the resort hasn’t seen a significant increase in year-over-year corporate retreat bookings yet. He expects an increase in smaller group corporate retreats with 10 or fewer employees now that Anguilla is fully open to vaccinated travelers.

“Many employees have been away from the office for long periods of time and there is a unique opportunity to rekindle in-person professional relationships, introduce newer team members that were hired during the pandemic and give back to employees,” he said via email.

Mohonk Mountain House has a group recreation and planning team, which prepares team-building activities such as scavenger hunts, escape rooms, a cardboard boat regatta as well as group mindfulness sessions with its director of mindfulness programming, Nina Smiley.

Stirewalt said having a dedicated sales team, which includes the group recreation sales manager, is a benefit to seamlessly coordinating all aspects on-site.

At Miraval’s properties, retreats include team-building challenge courses, yoga classes, culinary classes as well as spa treatments, Fenili said.

“The challenge course is a very popular activity choice for corporate retreat groups. It induces stress at a high level and the stress is then used to illicit a response, either positive or negative. We then introduce tools to recognize a negative response and replace it with positive options,” she said.

Lynch said because corporations for the most part have pulled back on spend during the pandemic, they are now increasing it when bringing teams together in person.

An increase in spend is evident in food and beverage for the retreats as well as activities like jeep tours at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Additionally, some of the groups coming to Wyndham’s properties are smaller, which allows the corporations to spend more.

Aberman said Altamer is known for its villas with wide-open living and common areas that make for easy collaboration with groups and to host rotating workshops. He noted guests are still placing value on enhanced safety precautions as well as more assistance with arrival and departure logistics, especially as it relates to COVID-19 testing protocols.

Wyndham kept nearly its entire sales team during the pandemic, which has been even more beneficial now that planning for events is starting to return. Lynch said individual properties are also doing their own marketing for different programs.

Stirewalt said Mohonk Mountain House relies first and foremost on the word of mouth by groups or independent travelers that had a positive experience at the property. Its director of sales and marketing also remains active in meeting-planning events and opportunities.

“The pandemic paused the large conventions that sometimes felt less personal. We have taken a more one-to-one business cultivation approach using our best contacts in the industry,” she added. “We had a very strong repeat group pattern through 2020 to 2021 and are seeing it continue into the spring of 2022.”

Fenili said customers are looking for flexibility and to customize offerings. Miraval is quick to work with groups to create a three- to five-day retreat.

“Further, we are lucky to have three resorts in different regions — Tucson, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Lenox, Massachusetts. If date or availability is a concern, we are able to quickly offer alternate options to ensure each of these retreats can be captured as the companies’ desire,” she added.

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