Adding Retreats to Your Services
Creating a retreat as a high ticket service offering seems to be a HOT topic right now. I'm hearing lots of business owners show interest in hosting retreats and lots of people interested in attending retreats. I think part of this is due to the lack of travel during Covid over the last couple of years, but also out of a desire for that deeper in-person connection.
If you've been thinking about hosting a retreat or adding retreats to your services, then continue reading!
I've hosted many retreats in the past; day retreats in my home town, weekend retreats within a few hours away, and even week-long retreats overseas in tropical destinations. I have also attended a lot of retreats so I have quite a bit of insight to share on this topic.
If you didn't hear yet, Virtuwell Balance is hosting a wellness focused business retreat in Guatemala this year!😍 Our retreat will have a strong focus on your personal well-being, with a mix of relaxation and business workshops. We're focused on helping entrepreneurs like YOU create more balance in your life and business so that you can make a greater impact in your community (and I'd LOVE to have you join).
Before Virtuwell Balance, I was working in the health/wellness industry as a registered holistic nutritionist and yoga teacher. For 4 years I was working 1:1 with clients, running online group programs, designed my own recipe books, hosted yoga retreats in Canada and abroad. My first retreat overseas was in Nicaragua and it was such an amazing experience, I think it was my favourite thing I've ever done in business. I learned A LOT along the way about the pros and cons of hosting retreats and adding retreats to your services, so I'm happy to share my insight with you in this blog post!
3 pieces of advice for planning a retreat:
1) DON'T UNDERCHARGE.💸 When you love your work and you love your clients and you are excited about creating a new offer like a retreat, you can get caught up in trying to give so much to develop an amazing experience for everyone, that you are left feeling drained and broke (I've been there!).
Retreats are a lot of work. They are a lot of planning, research, upfront costs, and during the retreat you are likely going to be ON most of the time which uses a lot of your mental and emotional energy. So make sure you are making it profitable for yourself and don't undercharge.
This is not to scare you away from hosting a retreat (the opposite actually, I want to empower you!), I'm just sharing what I wish someone would have told me before I led my first retreat in Nicaragua. Like I said, it was one of my favourite things I've ever done in business because of the connections made and the experiences we had, but I definitely undercharged.
You can avoid this by doing your research on pricing everything out, running the numbers, and adding at least 40% on top of everything. This can help to cover additional costs you forgot to include or random costs that pop up on the retreat (there's always something!)😜
2) PLAN FAR IN ADVANCE.⌛ The more time you can give yourself to research, plan, organize, and book everything, the more time you'll have to promote it! The longer the retreat, the further in advance you should plan.
For example, if you are hosting a day retreat you may be able to organize everything and start promoting within a month of the date, but for a weekend retreat I would suggest at least 2 months in advance, and anything 4-7+ days long should be planned 6 months or more in advance (especially if you're travelling out of country).
Remember, your guests might need to request time off work, plan for child care, etc. This also gives lots of time for people to pay you on a payment plan and have it paid off before the retreat date!
3) REMAIN POSITIVE & EXCITED.🤸♀️🥰 It's not uncommon that; after you do your market research and decide your audience wants a retreat, you begin to plan and organize everything, and then you launch it and nobody signs up right away (I've been there!). Don't get discouraged. Keep promoting it and sharing how excited you are about it. Some people wait until the last possible moment to buy.
If you sell out your retreat, that's amazing! If you only get a fourth of the people you were expecting, that's amazing too! Show up fully for that small group and you will be surprised at the conversations and connections that happen. Sometimes you get the best experience from small groups, and they will be more than happy to leave you a wonderful review which will help you sell more spots at the next retreat.😉 When the retreat turns out different from what you expected, it’s turned out that way for a reason. Show up, be present, have fun, and then learn the lessons on the back end that you can apply to future retreats.
A few other things to consider when planning and hosting retreats:
Decide on your main goals and desired outcome for the retreat
Don't over pack the schedule, leave space for downtime, networking and mingling
Be mindful of your energy, emotional health, and how much you can give mentally
Are you going to host by yourself, or do you want to partner and co-host
Having a liability wavier is a must!
Be realistic with the number of guests/space for the venue you choose
Always find out if your guests have allergies, special needs, etc.
Leverage photos, videos, and testimonials so that it's easier to sell your next retreat!
I know the process of adding a retreat to your services seems like a lot to consider, but this is why I suggest planning in advance, and honestly, I think the planning is a lot of fun! Just to help you out a little, I've broken my entire retreat planning process down into 3 easy steps so that you don't miss anything important.🙌
Let's make the retreat prep-work fun and exciting! Want my simple 3-step retreat planning guide?? It's a beautiful, fillable PDF document that you can save continue to brainstorm as you plan your retreat.
To sum up my opinion about adding a retreat to your services...
I think adding a retreat to your services and business can be a great addition to your service/product ladder. Yes, traditionally retreats have been great for health/wellness/fitness businesses, but more and more lately, all different types of industries are starting to offer retreats as a way to connect with their community.
And you don't have to start by offering a week-long retreat abroad (actually I wouldn't suggest that) you can host an event, workshop, a day retreat or a mini retreat just to get some practice and see how you like hosting if you've never done it before. Take time to gather your market research to make sure you have an audience who is ready to invest in a retreat, and start building some hype about what you're planning!
As much as a love working online, nothing compares to the experience of working with people in-person and the relationships you develop with individuals in real life. There’s something magical that happens when women (or anyone!) get together in a high vibe environment and they all have similar values and goals to improve their well-being. Retreats are the ideal setting for creating an atmosphere that not only enables them to unwind from their daily lives but also enables them to concentrate on themselves.
From a business standpoint, retreats offer you the chance to engage your audience in unique ways that only YOU can offer, whether it be through educating, entertaining, or inspiring them. You may have the most impact this way and create a lasting impression, which can assist to solidify your brand and company for days, weeks, or even years to come.
Happy retreat planning, and I hope to see you in Guatemala!🌴