Top Ten Must Know Tips on Hosting a Successful Wellness Retreat
Congratulations! You have decided to host a wellness retreat. For many yoga teachers, nutritionists, personal trainers and beyond, the decision to host your first retreat can be a dream come true. But retreaters beware! It is far too easy to lose yourself in the fantasies of “being paid to travel” or “travelling with your friends” or “teaching in paradise” while losing sight of the hard work it takes to get there.
While all of these wishes can come true, the legwork that goes into hosting a retreat can be both exhilarating and daunting. Our team of expert retreat hosts have put together a top ten list of must know tips on hosting a successful wellness getaway. We hope our guidelines can spare you hours of headache and lost revenue while simultaneously helping to ensure you are en- route to hosting the retreat of your dreams!
Tip 1: Partner with a Co-host.
Sharing in the upside of your retreat and the earnings made is well worth it to have a guaranteed partner in crime on retreat with you. Not only will this expand your community of participants and broaden your reach, a co-host will also share in the administrative, logistical and emotional responsibilities that will inevitably arise. Save the solo-retreats until you have run a few with a support team by your side.
Tip 2: Google Drive.
Every wandering entrepreneurs best friend. Use Google Drive to track all of your shared files and documents while being able to access them from anywhere in the world.
Tip 3: Determine and Stick to Your Budget.
When crunching numbers, you really do have to think of everything: ground transport, travel, food, facility rental, photography, special activities, emergency funds, first aid kits… and beyond. Ensure you have calculated every last expense (and left room to pay yourself!) before determining the price of your retreat. Resist the temptation to add “special touches” if it throws you over budget.
Tip 4: Strategic Pricing.
Once your budget is secure, evaluate the marketplace and ensure you are pricing within the competitive landscape. Launch with a limited-time offer that incents early bookings. “Early Bird Pricing” will help secure your first retreat guests and get the momentum going. If interest is lacking, try introducing a 24-Hour Special Price available exclusively to your social media followers or your students at a particular studio. Finally, up that price a small amount beyond your actual required budget as your final price.
Tip 5: Hire a Travel Agent.
With the increase in the number of retreats being held every year, many regions, (including the province of Ontario) require that all travel is booked through a certified travel agent. The penalty can be severe for leaders hosting without this certification, so be sure to check the local regulations near you to ensure you are in-line with the law.
Tip 6: Photography.
Every moment of your retreat can be support material for future events. Be sure you have set a creative plan to capture various moments throughout the arc of your retreat so that you can use for future marketing and promotion. If you have the skills/camera yourself, snap away. If not, it is wise to invite a photographer at a discounted rate in exchange for some epic FOMO inducing photos and videos.
Tip 7: Social Media.
Social media is your marketing BFF when it comes to retreats. Image-hungry fans will drool at your adventures so start posting breath-taking photos of your retreat site and program plans at least 6-months in advance. Create a hashtag for your retreat so you can have access to all your guests’ photos while also encouraging guests to share widely on their own social media platforms.
Tip 8: Create a Marketing Strategy.
Start by building a list of dream clients you would love to have on your retreat, and then sit down and hash out every strategic online and offline way to reach them (and their community). Hosting a pre-retreat party, class or event gives those that are on the fence but not yet committed a chance to learn more.
Tip 9: Plan Ahead.
Allow more time than you think you need to finalize all of the details and widely promote your retreat. People are busy! Ensure they have ample notice of the dates and rates of your retreat so they can weave you into their holiday schedule. We suggest a minimum of 9-months lead time for all retreat events.
Tip 10: Contracts Contracts Contracts.
For each of your suppliers - hotel, food, ground transport and any special excursions or activities you are planning to include – ensure you have negotiated deals, dates and rates outlined in writing. For your guests, have them complete a waiver and intake form to ensure you are well aware of their goals, needs, and desires as well as any health concerns and considerations. Plan ahead for dietary restrictions, allergies and medical concerns while ensuring you have emergency contact information for each participant complete and on-hand.
This is just a sampling (and by no means all-encompassing!) list of helpful tips on hosting the retreat of your dreams. If you would like to learn more about how to travel with your clients or how to select the best retreat destination for you, contact our team.