Filling Your Retreats: 8 Quick Tips
Marketing & Business
1. Trust your Intuition
This applies to the whole process, but especially when it comes to putting together a retreat – literally go with your gut. I might be talking to the owner of a retreat center where I want to hold my retreat, and if we are really vibing and they are responding well to all my questions, and it feels right, then I say to myself “this is the one”, and I go for it. I don’t even seek out ten other properties to compare it to.
2. Choose the Best Location
You need to pick a destination that you know other people have interest in going to. If you choose to do a retreat based on your your own personal interest, it might not hold appeal to enough people to fill your retreat.
3. Don’t Worry About the Money
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to trust your intuition, lead from your heart, and from there, money will most definitely follow. Don’t worry about the money. I know it’s easier said than done, but as soon as we put up the block of money then things just can’t flow. Often you’ll put down a deposit for a venue, and then start worrying as the date comes closer and you need to get registrations. To be honest, that worry you feel is an energetic block that prevents the money from flowing in. (But you also have to be smart with your money – so don’t book a venue until you’re really ready. You need to have a plan to promote your retreat, and that involves having a following already in place.)
4. Test the Market
Start small. Before you book anything and put down a deposit, reach out to people you already know and pitch your retreat idea to gauge the level of interest. You might be like “Hey, I am thinking of running a yoga retreat in Mexico – who’s interested? And if you are, when would you want to go? Would you want to bring a friend?” That’s how I got started. Word of mouth is really powerful. If you’re really new, you might even want to hold a retreat close to home to test the concept.
5. Build Your Following
Consider teaming up with another teacher who already has a following. Collect email addresses at your classes and get permission to send them your email newsletter each month. Build your network on social media. Do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website so people can find you. There are so many directories where you can list your retreats – make use of them!
6. Stay In Touch (But not too often!)
Make sure that you keep the relationship alive (and stay top of mind) with your followers by sending them an email once a month that has good information. Don’t spam! You need to get permission to add people to your list, and you shouldn’t inundate them with too-frequent communication. Your email should give people something interesting (for example, a recipe, a link to a cool resource, or something you’ve learned that you’re excited to share) as well as information about your upcoming classes/retreats. If all you do is sell in your emails, people will get bored and unsubscribe.
7. Find What Works and Repeat
As an ambitious person, I am always tempted to run retreats in a million different locations across the globe, but what I have learned is that I need to be focused in how I direct my energy. It’s actually easier to find what works and repeat than to create new retreats all the time. If something works for you, keep doing it! For example, I teach retreats in Ibiza, Spain quite often. Originally it wasn’t a place I thought I wanted to go, but a friend in Europe told me that it’s a place many people want to go for yoga. And she was right – for us that retreat is really popular and sells out every year. So, I would rather do four retreats in Spain every year that I know will be successful than experiment constantly with new locations. Focusing my energy in this way has improved my own health and wellbeing, but it has also made my teaching stronger because I can put my time into becoming the best teacher possible.
8. Unfold Your Core Values & Stay True to Them
Find out what the intention is behind what you do. This is a really big one for me, and I ask myself this in everything I do in life. For me personally, if I discover that the primary reason I am doing something is money, especially if it’s yoga related, then I know it’s probably not the best thing for me to do. This is because the reason I teach is not primarily to make money (otherwise I probably would have chosen a different career!). I do it because I want to dive more into my own intuition and help others to discover theirs. Now, money is a huge part of any business – of course – and you need to factor that into everything you do because you need money to feed your dreams. And, I’m a strong believer that all professions should be compensated properly – especially creative and spiritual ones, but at the same time, that can’t be your #1 soul-driving force because people will feel it and your offering will become inauthentic.
Andrea “Amrita” Clark is an experienced (RYT 500) yoga teacher and the founder of Nectar Yoga BnB on Bowen Island in British Columbia, Canada. Andrea has been facilitating exotic yoga retreats worldwide for many years, and also has a background in marketing and design. Find out more about Andrea on her website: http://nectaryoga.ca/