A New Spin on an Old Idea

Canadian Event Perspective
By: Andrew Long

You might recall participating in a scavenger hunt at some time in your life. Maybe it was a car rally in high school or an activity at a resort. Scavenger hunts have come a long way since then and have become a popular activity for corporate groups.

There are many reasons for the increased interest in scavenger hunts for corporate meetings and incentive groups. A scavenger hunt is a fun, active, safe and economical social activity that everyone can enjoy; it is an excellent way for participants to get to know each other as they combine their efforts toward a common goal; and participants see more of the location in which the hunt takes place. Another reason for running a hunt is that the group’s business skills are challenged. Consider the benefits of an activity that requires teams to prioritize, solve problems, be creative and learn about the diverse skills and knowledge that each team member contributes.

But let’s backtrack a bit. What do we mean by a scavenger hunt? A scavenger hunt in its simplest form requires teams to collect information and objects within a set of geographical boundaries. Clues are in random order, requiring teams to determine their most productive route. This format means that teams set out in different directions and are less likely to follow one another. Since teams tend to spread out, a scavenger hunt is a perfect social activity for very large groups.

Most meeting planners prefer to use an experienced supplier to provide a well-run scavenger hunt. From a logistical standpoint, scavenger hunts are challenging to organize on one’s own because of the sheer number of details involved. Designing clues in a way that keeps your group interested takes a lot of effort. You also need a number of staff to score the results of the hunt. Choose the time and location, then find an supplier that can help. Then turn your participants loose and they will return several hours later with big smiles on their faces.

Scavenger hunts are a good choice for groups under pressure to save both time and money. For groups short on time, a hunt can be as brief as one hour, although 2-5 hours is recommended. For groups running on a tight budget, a hunt is more economical than many other traditional activities such as golf, professional sports matches or even going out for dinner.

Hunts can have a variety of optional features. Consider having the scavenger hunt be a learning experience for participants. Some suppliers offer debriefings following their hunt. A debriefing is a discussion based on the skills and behaviours used to accomplish the various tasks throughout the hunt and how these skills are relevant in a day-to-day business setting.

Another interesting possibility is having teams take pictures of themselves in various locations. Lasting memories and keepsakes are created, as the pictures are made available to the participants afterwards. When you are choosing a supplier, look for other features that may appeal to your group.

Scavenger hunts can be appropriate in many situations, including:

  • A corporate group looking for an active, social team building activity.
  • A spousal / family program.
  • An alternative or complement to a corporate picnic, employee day or company day.
  • A seasonal activity such as an Easter or Christmas themed hunt.

So, you’ve decided that a scavenger hunt is a perfect activity for your next meeting, conference or offsite. What are the next steps? You need to find a supplier and the Internet is a great place to look. Try typing “scavenger hunt” and your desired location into one of the major search engines.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Andrew Long is the Chief Pathfinder at Scavenger Hunt Anywhere, North America’s premium provider of corporate scavenger hunts. For more information visit www.scavengerhuntanywhere.com