Build A Retreat In A Few Easy Steps
We have all made friends through teacher training, workshops or classes. Talk with a friend or 2 and partner up to host a retreat together. It’s a lot easier to host a retreat when you partner up with someone, especially when you are first starting out.
Know Your Target Market
In order to sell out a retreat or even a workshop, you must know your target audience. You don’t want to host a retreat up north in the middle of winter to people who suffer from arthritis. Is your target audience over 40? You want to market to them through e-mail newsletters and Facebook. Looking for younger then using #hashtags and instagram is a great way to market to them
Have A Clear Vision
Start at least one year before your retreat, know what you are looking for in a retreat center. Do you want to stay close to home or travel somewhere warm in the winter?
Then begin searching online and contact other yoga instructors who have visited places you are considering. Don’t be shy about contacting other instructors, even if you don’t know them. Many instructors will be glad to tell you the good and bad about a place. Each year, review your vision and ask “Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? What am I grateful for?”
Set up a simple system of communication with people who have registered. You don’t have to make it complicated. Have forms you can use for confirmation of payments and pre-retreat questions.
Setup Financial Forecast/Projection
You want to be successful with a retreat and that means making money to pay for it all. Talk to the retreat center and ask questions about their pricing, what’s included, what’s extra and HOW MUCH! There’s nothing worse than going to pay your final payment for the retreat only to realize you don’t have enough money. Then what?
Setup a Retreat Schedule
Your guests will want to know about a schedule of events, classes, workshops and when to eat. You want to work with the retreat center to know what their schedule is. Here at Ser La Luz we have a set schedule for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also have morning and evening quiet times. Your guests will want to know those little details.
You also want them to know when they have some “free” time, if they have any. This will allow them to decide what they want to do ahead of time. I’m sure you don’t want to know at the last minute that you have 3 hours of free time. You spend most of the time trying to decide what to do.
Grow Your Contact List
If you have a website, make sure to have a page where people can sign up to be on your mailing list. When teaching classes, invite students to join your contact list. Be sure to use your email marketing for things other than selling the retreat. You do not want to send out daily e-mails as reminders.
Give them ideas for enhancing their practice or seasonal suggestions relevant to living a yogic lifestyle. We use MailChimp and have had great luck getting our promos out for a very reasonable cost.
Make New Friends
Build globally with people you meet whenever you travel. Talk to people next to you on airplanes, buses and people you see in your community. Let them know what you do and ask if they’d like to receive more information about yoga vacations and workshops. Always carry business cards with you to make it easier for people to contact you and to sign up. Keep your business cards simple.
Build Your Business Locally With Workshops & Weekend Retreats
Use your imagination and be creative. Host a 1/2 day workshop in a public park. Offer a yoga class at the beach or in the center of town in a park where people walking by can see you. Remember to always have fliers and/or business cards handy to hand out. If your looking to host a retreat with a friend, team up to hand out the information to people walking by.
Check out a community center or a local hotel to host a weekend retreat.
Go Explore Into The Unknown
When Michael & Ed started Ser La Luz, they had no idea where to start. They had an idea on settling in Costa Rica and weren’t quite sure. So they went visiting and exploring new areas. Do the same thing. Is there a place you always wanted to visit? Costa Rica? France? Brazil?
Research the areas for retreat centers. Remember your target audience. If you have a group that’s not up for hot beach weather then look for a cooler place for the retreat. Is your group older and not able to walk much? Then you don’t want to be to secluded.
Explore the areas and check out the retreat centers. Many places will gladly let you visit for a few days to check things out and help you decide. We gladly welcome guests to visit before deciding to host with us.
Remember that you’re doing this as your job (or deciding to do this as a job) AND also so that you can travel around the world to wonderful and sometimes exotic places to also learn about diverse cultures. By attracting enough students, most of the time your trip will be completely paid for, and hopefully you earned some extra money. The biggest portion of the work happens before you leave home so try to relax and have fun with your students.
Enjoy the precious moments!