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31 July 2014

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Organiser's Guide - Treasure Hunts

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Nothing bonds a team more than getting them to pit their wits against a treasure hunt. Come and examine the clues to making a success of it.

taxi taxi.jpgWhat is it about treasure hunts that makes them so good for teambuilding? Is it that they’re a great leveller for mixed groups? Is it that they get your team out of the office and into a fresh environment? Or is it just that they’re such good fun? Probably a mixture of all three, with many more reasons besides.
Down the years, the V&E team has been on more treasure hunts than we care to remember, and though we’ve rarely (read: never) found any actual treasure, we’ve always had a cracking time. As will you – providing you book your hunt with the right company.
Our first tip is that you don’t attempt to organise one yourself. Believe us, you’re entering a whole world of pain. A professional-standard treasure hunt is a logistical nightmare to set up, and even if you’ve the mind of Machiavelli there’s no way you can possibly spare the time around your day-to-day duties.
Good teambuilding companies will have a variety of different treasure hunt scenarios (not just the inevitable espionage one). Think about what transport suits you best. An Anneka Rice-style helicopter hunt might be off the agenda, but there are companies offering days in semi-inflatable RIBs off the coast, speeding from cove to cove, or 4x4 hunts off the beaten track. For those wanting to take the metropolitan route, treasure hunts in a fleet of London black cabs have recently been making a splash for groups. Indeed, the method of transport can vary widely – hummers, vintage cars, bikes… all can be incorporated into a hunt.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need any transport at all. Hunts can be arranged at many different venues, including stately homes, country hotels and iconic buildings such as London’s Natural History Museum. In winter an indoor hunt is preferable (there’s a reason pirates, who knew a thing or two about treasure, hung around the Caribbean rather than the Arctic; they might have been short on legs but not brain cells).
Remember, technology has moved on a bit since the treasure hunts of your childhood. Expect to use a tablet computer with GPS rather than a pencil, pad and compass. This adds to the fun: clues and challenges ping up on screen when you enter ‘hotspots’; you can track other teams; and some teambuilding companies have hunts that allow you to take on opposing teams in different cities, even abroad, in real time.
When you’re wrapped up in the thrill of the hunt, things move quickly. Make sure that each team is instructed to take plenty of photos, so memories are preserved. Maybe even issue (cheap) digital cameras. A gallery on Facebook will generate plenty of good-natured banter for days after the event.
Finally, this is a treasure hunt, remember, so have some fun with the invitations. Think Pirates of the Caribbean, think Indiana Jones, think Goonies, think Kit Williams’ Masquerade… Let people know they’re going to have a good time from the word go.


This article was first printed in Square Meal Venues & Events Guide 2012.


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