Our Journey into Corporate Retreats, Part I: We realized renting our full hotel was a unique and interesting option for wellness retreats and other group events.
We’re not a corporate offsite company. Well, we weren’t born as one anyways.
ONDA was created as a tech-forward boutique hotel concept catering to remote workers.
We spent 2022 focused on perfecting the individual traveler’s experience at our flagship ONDA hotel in Playa Grande, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We’ve successfully designed a product that’s more than just a place to stay; it’s a place to easily connect with other travelers, recharge comfortably, get work done, eat and drink from a fresh, affordable menu, and interact with the local community.
Early in 2022, the founder of a retreat company walked through the front door of our Playa Grande hotel looking for somewhere to host their upcoming yoga retreat. They had been planning to purchase a hotel nearby where they would host their retreats, but the deal fell through. With an upcoming retreat on the books, they needed to pivot and find somewhere to host it fast.
We agreed to help them out, renting them the full hotel to accommodate their retreat group in an atmosphere they had complete control over. After a first successful retreat, they decided to host 5 more at ONDA that year.
Later in 2022, we were approached by a neighbor who frequented ONDA’s restaurant – she was interested in hosting a wellness retreat for the community she had built around her podcast, Amory. We were excited to work together and felt honored that Megan trusted us as the home of her first retreat.
These initial wellness retreat clients placed significant value in the ability to rent a whole boutique hotel, and the associated amenities, for their events. Our “Buyout” offering freed the client up to focus on delivering an amazing experience for their guests instead of being bogged down in logistics.
Other accommodation options for groups of 15-40 people would typically be:
- Block of rooms at a large hotel
- Significantly more expensive
- Not at all private or customizable
- Multiple Airbnbs
- Negotiating with multiple landlords
- Splitting up the group
- Lack of dedicated meeting spaces
- No amenities, no staff
- Block of rooms at a large hotel
In contrast, the initial ONDA Buyout offering consisted of:
- A fully private space to comfortably host groups of 15-40 under one roof
- Fully staffed 24/7 (guest services, housekeeping, maintenance, security)
- On-site meeting spaces
- On-site bar and restaurant
- Offered at a reasonable price
These early Buyouts closely resembled the experience we delivered to individual guests, with the exception that the hotel was closed to outside guests. Other than that, it was business as usual for our staff.
We quickly realized that we had an attractive whole hotel product that would deliver outsized value at a reasonable price. Buyouts quickly became our go-to mechanism for us to keep occupancy up during low season, where we could offer the hotel at the most reasonable price – a win-win for both ONDA and our buyout clients.
After a successful first year of wellness retreats, it wasn’t a huge leap for us to come to the following conclusions:
- The Buyout product would be interesting to a broader audience than just wellness retreat clients.
- We could add significantly more value for our clients by expanding our service offerings within and beyond the four walls of the hotel.
Check out the other two parts of Our Journey into Corporate Retreats:
Director of Retreats
Thanks for reading! I’m Allie, Director of Retreats at ONDA, and planning group trips in Costa Rica is all I do! From the very beginning of the planning process, to the end of your trip in Costa Rica, I’ll be your one point of contact to organize & execute the retreat of your dreams.
If you have any questions or you’re interested in learning more about hosting a group event at ONDA, please send me an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP. 🙂