City Cruises

The rise of gratitude getaways to support in-house talent


Cat Bird, National Sales Manager at Center Parcs Conferences & Events talks about the rise in gratitude getaways as a way to add support for staff.

The three phrases most used by event planners when they come to us and describe what type of event they want to run is ‘immersive’, ‘a thank you’, and ‘relaxing’. This reflects just how much conferences and events have evolved since we’ve emerged from the pandemic; employers recognise there’s wealth in wellbeing.

Pre-pandemic we were hosting more traditional client-facing or networking conferences & events, these have become increasingly inward-facing – with more and more businesses opting to host a corporate event purely for the benefit of their own staff.

Larger events include increasingly an element of support for staff

Of course, we continue to receive high demand for product launch events, awards and gala dinners which help to deliver a message, inform or educate, train or enhance brand image – but these bigger events are increasingly being combined with a more relaxed team-building element. Such additional activities support the company’s talent retention strategy by helping staff to bond with each other and connect with the company’s values.

Tapping into the need for an element of relaxation and down time, overnight stays are in huge demand, which we see in our own bookings – 70% of bookings since we relaunched in September have included residential accommodation, and they’re set to increase in 2023 with quarter one bookings at 90%.

Functioning as ‘work perks’, businesses are choosing to offer their staff add-on activities that can fit around the main event and group activities, which staff can enjoy at their own pace during their down-time. These can include day passes to a spa, a massage, or restaurant vouchers.

This new breed of ‘gratitude getaways’ has emerged in the context of a growing skills shortage and a ‘war for talent’. Savvy businesses know that being a competitive employer entails rewarding and thanking staff for their hard work, so that they’ll be motivated to keep up the good work and stay on at the company for years to come.”


About Center Parcs’ conference and events offering

Center Parcs Conference and Events offers a unique, nature-rich escape to suit the needs of all types of corporate events, including conferences, team building and away days, product launches and galas.

Its two high-quality dedicated conference centres are located at two of its sought-after short break destinations in the UK: Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.

Each set within hundreds of acres of woodland, Center Parcs is the ideal place for colleagues to reconnect and recharge.

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