10 Steps to Hosting a Yoga Retreat at Your Hotel
Wellness Vacations are taking the world by storm (a very calm, peaceful and inspiring storm of course). If you and your resort, hotel or B & B are not already engaged in the wellness vacation, the time is now. The yoga, meditation and healthy eating movement has gone viral and resorts are either in, or out. Here are our top ten ways to engage with yoga, meditation and mindfulness retreats and stay on trend in 2016.
1. Create a breathtaking, quiet and inspiring yoga sanctuary. Whether it is the construction of a yoga deck floating above the ocean waves, a designated beach area for yoga and meditation sessions or a poolside yoga ‘studio’, the primary retreat pre-requisite is a devoted yoga space. Bonus points for ambience and decor.
2. Hire a wellness program manager or engage the spa manager with yoga programming. Running yoga retreats requires marketing, development, communication between staff, cleaning and preparing yoga props and spaces, hiring and paying yoga instructors and so much more. Having someone on board to devote time to this each week is essential in taking your program to the global public.
3. Hire a local yoga instructor. Investing in the local economy is far more sustainable than relying on international yoga teachers. This does not mean you limit yourself to local instructors (which, in some contexts, may be few and far between). It is however a powerful move towards creating a sustainable yoga community both locally and internationally.
4. Purchase Yoga Props. A little investment goes a long way. Blocks, straps, mats and bolsters are essential for visiting retreaters to feel safe, supported and comfortable in the practice space.
5. Engage your hotel/resort staff. Consider offering complimentary wellness programming to staff, including yoga and meditation classes, information sessions with your yoga instructor and free or discounted access to workshops and events. The belief in your yoga program from your team is pivotal for success, as they become the primary marketers both onsite, off-site and online. If they love the yoga and wellness programs your resort creates, so will your guests.
6. Nail down your pricing strategy. The fantasy of making millions off of yoga retreats is far from truth. They require a lot of work, effort and support. Long before going down the retreat road, sit with your finance team and outline the costs required to house, feed and entertain yoga groups of 10, 15 and 20 (or more?) and the mark-up you need to include to get the payout you deserve for your hard work in the long run.
Begin to introduce a global audience to your team, your yoga programs and your guests by engaging with these and other popular hashtags on your resort social media platforms. When the retreat is in full swing, encourage guests and teachers to use resort-specific hashtags so you have eternal access to their photos, testimonials and insights. Engage your community.
7. Yoga Selfies. The sexy, flexy trend of people doing yoga in breathtaking locations is not going anywhere and #beachyoga and #yogagirl are some of the most popular hashtags on Twitter and Instagram in the yoga world. Begin to introduce a global audience to your team, your yoga programs and your guests by engaging with these and other popular hashtags on your resort social media platforms. When the retreat is in full swing, encourage guests and teachers to use resort-specific hashtags so you have eternal access to their photos, testimonials and insights.
8. Engage your community. Retreats don’t have to be secret hidden yoga societies. Most travellers, especially yogi’s, are eager to learn the local language, taste the local food, and meet the local folks. Consider a meet and greet with nearby community members, a local language lesson or a special dinner in town.
9. Create unique and dynamic options for retreaters so they leave with a powerful, holistic travel, yoga and culinary experience. Is there an epic mountain to climb? Take them on a hike and practice yoga at the top. Are there healing waters or sulphur springs? Spend a day meditating and cleansing. Be creative to stand out in the crowd.
10. Talk to your chef. Yogi’s can be picky eaters, and you will need to provide everything from vegan to gluten free to dairy and peanut free to organic and local to … are you exhausted yet? A meeting with your kitchen is paramount to making sure all are well fed on their yoga journey.
If you still can’t figure it out, that’s okay, there are a myriad of services available to you to, including the team at Core Essence. We have worked with Resorts, Spas, Hotels and Wellness Centres across the globe to inspire, evolve and market yoga and wellness programs. Feel free to reach out to our dynamic team of writers, bloggers, yogi’s, business managers and designers or to schedule your complimentary Core Essence Development consult.