What do you do when you’re tasked with throwing a company retreat with 350 guests who care more about kicking back and playing beer pong than fancy floral arrangements and clean linens? You throw them the most epic house party you can imagine.
That’s what Hailey O’Bright and Amanda Bayly of The Idea Hunter did in February 2019 for their client, Flipp.
The pair had worked with Flipp the summer prior, in June 2018, for the group’s summer company retreat.
“It was a huge learning experience for us coming out of that event,” explained O’Bright. “We planned a really nice event for them, a huge party with lots of decor elements and a cash bar. But we found that lots of the guests really just wanted to hang out in their rooms and party there instead.”
A few months later, when Flipp asked O’Bright to plan their winter company retreat, herself and Bayly stressed the importance of changing things up.
“We said [to the client], ‘We really need to shake things up because your group is unique in that they are happy to stay in their rooms and party there,'” she said. “So that’s when we decided that if they wanted to have a low-key, laid-back house party, that’s exactly what we’d give them, but on an epic scale.”
The client agreed to buy out the entire JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa for its 350 staff for a weekend in February 2019.
“And that lent itself well for the vibe we were going for which was making the company’s staff feel like the whole place was their own for the weekend,” O’Bright explained. “So we made sure to have lots of branded pillows, and rugs, and decals throughout.”
During the day, guests were treated to a variety of team-building exercises and activities to promote a closer company culture. Guests also got to enjoy the resort’s many amenities throughout the weekend like the hot tubs.
What made the event so special was the closing night party, according to O’Bright.
“We called it ‘Flipp’s House Party’ and decked out the entire space with furniture and props and all sorts of things to make it look like your mom’s basement and/or a man cave,” she said. “Essentially, just like a house party.”
There were three distinct lounge areas with old-timey sofas and couches, vintage tables, and even a games corner where guests could play foosball, air hockey, and even beer pong.
Of course, the party had the usual features – like a DJ, a bar, and chandeliers. But with a creative twist to suit the guests’ personal taste and style.
For example, the DJ booth was outfitted to look like the DJ himself was in a man cave. Alcohol bottles were stored in coolers with ice. Chip bowls were scattered throughout the event, and the chandeliers? Well, they were made from red Solo cups, of course.
What made the event even more special, O’Bright said, was the personal touches they added to the party.
“We took the photos the guests took throughout the weekend and had them framed around the party,” she said. “And that made the guests feel really relaxed.”
Other fun personal touches O’Bright and Bayly came up with was how to present the awards ceremony. Instead of just a usual presentation, O’Bright and Bayly wanted to tie in the house party theme even more, so they dressed up as police officers and had sirens blare in the space — to mimic the party being broken up by cops to get the guests’ attention, and therefore present the awards.
“House parties are almost always broken up by cops so we wanted that experience to happen at the event,” O’Bright said.
And of course, no house party would be complete without a massive amount of late-night pizza being ordered.
“For that feature, we had the DJ stop the music and had him play a loud doorbell sound,” she said. “Then, we had servers come out of throw pizza boxes to guests all throughout the party. Guests were so excited about the surprise factor there. They went from disappointment to the party being over because the music had stopped, to excitement over the pizza.”
“We were so excited about this event because it felt like we solved a really massive problem,” O’Bright said of the difference between the 2018 Flipp event and this event. “The difference in engagement we saw from 2018 to 2019 was like 200% more. So that was amazing.”
But the biggest compliment of all was from the client who said they weren’t sure how they were going to top it.
“We were ecstatic to hear that,” O’Bright said.
Planning by: The Idea Hunter
Submitted by: Hailey O’Bright and Amanda Bayly, The Idea Hunter
Event: Flipp Company Retreat – February 2019
Venue: JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa
Divine Furniture Rentals
Decades Props & Set Dressing
JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa
Team Building Activities
Soar Management (in-house at KW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa)