PR organisation Bottle pays to take staff to music festival


Oxford-based public relations organisation Bottle has taken its employees on a four-day, employer-funded trip to a music festival to boost employee engagement and creativity.

The organisation paid to take its 24 staff to Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire between 2 and 5 August 2018. Bottle covered the cost of employees’ festival tickets, as well as supplying tents, food and accessories, such as glitter, ponchos and festival-inspired makeup. The PR agency spent approximately £7,500 on the trip.

During the long weekend, staff were divided into teams in order to compete in various challenges. This included finding different festival tribes, foraging for stories and participating in a swimming gala in the lake. Employees also took part in a fancy-dress day on Friday, with a Galactic Acid theme. The planned activities were designed to stretch employees’ creativity.

Bottle organised the all-employee trip to engage and inspire employees and bring the team together. The organisation also sought to use a different environment to help employees brainstorm imaginative PR campaign ideas.

Bottle has hosted an employer-paid ‘summer school’ trip for all employees for the past two years. Previously, the organisation provided a ‘Big Brother’ style house near the beach in Bournemouth, where employees could live and work together for a week. This year, the Wilderness Festival trip was planned to offer a different team experience, and to appeal to the mainly millennial workforce.

The trip was initially communicated to employees at the organisation’s weekly Monday all-staff meeting, four months prior to the festival. Since then, the trip was promoted at monthly meetings and through a dedicated channel on internal social media tool Slack. The whole organisation also created a WhatsApp group a few weeks before the trip to organise supplies and travel arrangements.

Natasha Hill, managing director at Bottle, said: “This was our marquee moment of the year. Our staff are at the heart of our business and if they love their job and enjoy coming to work, it makes everything better. The buzz also rubs off on our clients. It was a fantastic chance to get creative and use a new environment to come up with some exciting campaign ideas, which we wouldn’t have done staying in the office.”