Retreat Leaders: What to Do Once You Book Your Venue

Posted by Amanda Reta on

You’ve put a deposit down on your retreat center and set the dates. Now it’s time to get the word out and fill your retreat.

It’s easy to get stuck here, so with our decade-plus of personal experience leading retreats, and current tenure as advisors to other leaders, let us shine a helpful light with a few clarifying tips. 

That whole maxim: “if you fail to plan, plan to fail” is a little extreme, so let’s just say having an action plan for getting the word out can mean the difference between a full retreat, and a not-so-full one. 

Whether you're a seasoned retreat leader or just starting out, these eleven essential actions will help you connect with the right people and create a smooth process for marketing your retreat.

1. Establish a Pricing Strategy

Determine your retreat pricing carefully. Consider the psychology of pricing: $2995 may sound better than $3100. Account for all costs, including your time per person, per day.

Offering creative payment options, such as a sliding scale, tiered pricing, sponsorship opportunities, or Afterpay can make your retreat more financially palatable.

2. Define Your Retreat Outcomes

Keep in mind, that without you creating a meaningful experience for your retreat guests, they could always just go on a simple vacation. You have a special sauce in what you offer! It’s why you have students and/or clients!

Ask yourself these important questions? What are guests going to walk away feeling? When they arrive back home to their lives, how will they be different? And why your retreat and not an all-inclusive resort in Cabo? 

Decide what you aim to foster during the retreat. Clarify your objectives and make them central to your retreat marketing. Is it nurturing meaningful connections? Is it personal growth? A deeper connection to themselves? The more specific and clear you are, the more you will attract the right people. 

3. Emphasize Your Value, Not Retreat Amenities

In bold for the folks in back!! This is a big oops that we see all the time. It’s not the location people are signing up for and paying the big bucks - it’s because they want to experience what you’re promising in #2 or they want to spend time working with and learning from you, leader.

When marketing your retreat, focus on the value that you add and the experience you intend to create, rather than selling the location, amenities, or food. Ask yourself: How is this retreat unique from other retreats offered? (Hint, it’s likely the same magic you create in your classes or sessions! You can even ask your students for input.) 

While centers like Topia Retreat are stunning, your retreat center's beauty and services should be the icing on the cake, not the main attraction.

4. Create a Captivating, Clear Website

Develop a website with a dedicated landing page for your retreat. Be transparent about pricing and provide clear information about what participants can expect. This builds trust and sets clear expectations.

5. Get Clear on Logistics

How much are flights? Can I room with my friend? Can the retreat staff accommodate my food allergy? Once you begin talking about your retreat, you are going to get a lot of questions about logistics and details. Work with your retreat center to get very clear on the nitty-gritty.

Topia Retreat offers a leader support kit answers all logistical questions a guest could possibly ask! It includes sample menus, amenity and transportation details, and activity and spa options to equip you with all the information you might need, and then some.

6. Create a Guest List

Building a list of those you want at your retreat will make developing your retreat content far easier when you know who you are talking to. 

Create your list wiithout thinking about their personal logistics or whether or not they can take the time to join. This list should include people who help create the energy you want your group to have. 

The list should have 25 - 50 individuals and include:

  • Long-term students
  • Students who have moved away
  • People you would LOVE to have on retreat
  • People you think would benefit 
  • Friends and family
  • Social media followers who engage with related content

Even if they cannot attend, they may share your retreat with other aligned individuals who can.

7. Pick Up the Phone

Instead of relying solely on social media or mass emails to connect, take the time to send personal notes and even pick up the phone to call those on your list.

It may feel vulnerable, but this personal touch can have a meaningful impact.

If these students can’t come they will likely become your biggest cheerleader and refer people who can. 

8. Kick-Start Marketing

Once you have your pricing and have defined your outcomes, start your marketing efforts immediately. Even before you have all of the logistics outlined, you can still create hype with an announcement or a save-the-date.

9. Outline a Promotion Calendar

Plan your promotion calendar strategically. Consider early bird pricing, "bring a friend and save" campaigns, and tie-ins with holidays. Create a sense of urgency and excitement among potential participants.

10. Make a Referral Program

Collaborate with yoga studios and teachers, offering referral incentives for those who bring sign-ups. We’ve found a flat dollar amount works best, and can help you easily expand efforts and connect with new people. 

11. Use Third-Party Retreat Sites

Consider investing in third-party promotion sites rather than relying solely on Google or social ads. Sometimes, paying for a dedicated platform can yield better results and more exposure. Retreat Guru, Book Yoga Retreats, and are three we suggest, and likely offer sponsored listings to give your retreat a boost. 

Bonus Tips:

  • Consider offering scholarships rather than discounts as your retreat date approaches; this not only maintains the value of your offering but can also drive valuable referrals.
  • Don’t discount your retreat with money off (i.e., $100 off, or 10% off.) This can cheapen your retreat branding, and discount those who paid full price at an earlier stage. 
  • Avoid scheduling retreats too close together. This can overwhelm both you and your audience. 

Take these actions, and you'll be on your way to hosting a smooth, fully-booked retreat.

At Topia, we are here to guide you through every stage of your retreat. Best of all, once you and your guests arrive, we take care of all of the details. 

To book your next retreat with us, go here.

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