Taking a trip to an exotic location with a gorgeous venue to teach open air yoga to your followers might sound idyllic, but most yoga instructors are far from blissful on retreat.
Planning an executing a yoga retreat requires a lot of time and hard work, which is why you need to ensure you lay the proper groundwork from the word go.
To help you along the way we've put together a list of all the key secrets of running a successful local and international getaway...
Know Your Retreat Venue and Do Your Homework
The venue you choose for your yoga retreat represents you in the eyes of your students. Do your homework to find the perfect venue that will contribute towards that once in a lifetime experience that your attendees are paying for. You need to be passionate about your location, so be sure to look for something that connects with you and your teaching ethos.
Other key points to consider include:
-- Visit the retreat venue yourself if possible
-- Take tons of pictures and ask plenty of questions
-- Interact with the onsite staff to ensure excellent customer service
-- Check out onsite facilities and local amenities and give them a try yourself before suggesting them to students
-- Ask for references and make sure you follow up
-- Only teach site unseen if the venue has a solid reputation or if a trusted friend has been before
Create a Solid Curriculum
Your clients are paying serious money to learn, relax, transform, try new things, see new places, meet new friends and enrich their lives, and you need to keep this is mind during the planning process. Creating a solid curriculum is absolutely essential to the success of your yoga retreat.
Each stage of the retreat should build upon the last with coordinated exercises that will help your clients growth and transformation beyond the classroom. From the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, you will be their contact point for everything, from where to shop to how to access the wifi, so try to make sure you cover all bases and have a strategic plan to keep the retreat running on track.
Always Have a Plan B
From last minute rain to a stifling heatwave you never know what might scruple your plans at the last minute. Even in the most predicable locations, unexpected weather can send your retreat spiraling out of control if you don't have a plan B. Yes you can normally get something sorted on the fly, but a solid back up plan that can be implemented swiftly and hassle free is always preferable.
Depending on your schedule your plan B could mean anything from switching to indoor yoga sessions as opposed to outdoor, alternative extra curricular activities that aren't dependent on the elements, or even on call instructors in case of an emergency cancellation. The most important thing to remember is to be open to change and to embrace new circumstances, and then hopefully your students will follow suit.
Manage Your Students Expectations Before and During the Retreat
Even if you've got a pretty resourceful and flexible group of people attending your yoga retreat, when something doesn't go as expected it can be hard for students to accept. Most of your clients will have been dreaming of this retreat for months and in doing so they'll have built up a picture in their mind of exactly how things will play out, they'll also have made a significant investment of both time and money to make those dreams a reality.
Managing expectations before and during the retreat will help your students better deal with any changes as they will be prepared. Express in all your communications, be it emails, verbal or marketing promotions, that activities and time frames are subject to change, this way you have covered yourself and won't end up leaving anyone feeling let down. Having the freedom to switch things up if they're not working out as planned will give you peace of mind and will lead to a better experience all round.
Little Touches Go A Long Way
Small acts of kindness will have a profound effect on the entire tone of your retreat, as well as how your attendees feel when they walk away at the end of the trip. Nothing beats loving, caring and thoughtful customer service which is why you should strive to treat your followers like you would your own friends and family.
Perhaps one of your students had to deal with flight cancellations or delays and arrived hours after everybody else. Being there to greet them or reminding them that they were in your thoughts with a welcome note could provide them with the pick me up they need. For anyone that falls ill during their stay why not send them a soothing herbal tea to their room to help them feel better about being under the weather? Having a natural first aid kit complete with tinctures, supplements and other herbal remedies is also a nice touch for any minor ailments that may occur.
Market the Heck Out of Your Retreat
In all the excitement of planning the perfect yoga retreat it's easy for the marketing to fly under the radar and end up at the bottom of your list of priorities, but it needs to be at the top. It's far easier to market something that people have already indicated they're interested in so before you even book the venue create a simple web page on your site where people can sign up if they think they would like to go. This way once you've drilled down all the details you'll already have a list of prospects to reach out to and hopefully turn into actual clients.
Yoga retreats are hot stuff which is why you need to ensure yours is distinguishable from everyone else's. Focus on creating a theme that capitalizes on your unique skills, passions and experiences. Always be specific and let people know what value and results they can hope to receive. A gorgeous venue and location adds massive appeal too, so don't sacrifice on quality in efforts to plump up your profit margins. Advertising is everything when it comes to filling those spots for your yoga retreat and although there are a million and one ways to get the word out here are some of my favorite tips:
-- Your email list is your best resource
-- Your existing followers are most likely to attend and they make great advocates for further bookings
-- Never miss an opportunity to announce your retreat
-- Make sure your testimonials are prominent on your retreat web pages
-- Create a beautiful PDF that people can download and explore in depth later on
-- Consider Facebook advertising (Adore Yoga generated $30,000 revenue from a $300 Facebook ad campaign)
-- Make it easy for people to share your retreat and encourage them to do so
Are you planning a yoga retreat? Do you have any questions or tips to share? Let us know in the comments below...