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You know what they say: location, location, location. And boy, ain’t that the truth when it comes to a destination wellness retreat. Yes, your services as a yoga instructor, fitness coach, healer, and artist are the big selling point, but if a potential guest can already use your services back home, why go on a retreat?
For most people, a wellness retreat isn’t just a way to explore their inner landscape or work on their health. It’s an opportunity to see the world, experience a new culture, and take some time out of their schedule to unwind. Destination retreats can offer relaxation time on a beach in Mexico, cooking classes in Morocco, jungle adventures in Bali, hiking in Patagonia, and so much more. So when it comes to planning a wellness retreat, your services are important, but the location should be a top selling point.
Type of retreat
Before you can select a location, it’s important to solidify the type of wellness retreat you wish to offer. Having some kind of theme or activity as an anchor showcases your talents and should complement your location of choice.
When creating a retreat theme, you want to think about your offerings just like Goldilocks. You don’t want to offer too many services because that can muddle your intention and the overall experience. However, you don’t want to offer too little because the whole point of your guests making the journey is that you’re offering something other than a normal vacation. Focus on a theme, one or two main goals, and build your retreat from there.
For example, most people are familiar with yoga retreats. Typically, yoga retreats offer daily yoga sessions, along with additional services such as Reiki, massage, and spiritual activities. Yoga retreats might also include add-on activities, such as Temazcal experiences, cacao ceremonies, or meetings with local shamans. All activities listed fit the theme and offer free time to rest, relax, and explore.
Other themes include:
- Healthy or plant-based food options
- Weight loss and nutrition
- Women’s empowerment
- Self-care and self-work
- Art workshops and creative sessions
- Gender/race-based workshops
Balance is an important selling point when it comes to a wellness retreat theme, so stick to what you know and plan accordingly.
Selecting a location
There are two things to consider when selecting a destination wellness retreat location:
- Where do you want to go? (Is there a location you’ve been dying to see?)
- What will you need while you’re there?
First, where do you want to spend your time, and will others want to embark on a journey to that location, too? Selecting a popular location, such as Mexico, Bali, Morocco, or Costa Rica is sure to bring in attention to your retreat. However, some folks desire a vacation off the beaten path. Options such as Tanzania, India, Guatemala, and Cambodia offer avid travelers a new location to add to their travel bucket list.
Second, it’s important to know what you’ll need at the retreat, which is why choosing a solid theme is key. Not all locations are created equal, and that means knowing what you need beforehand is vital to ensuring the location you select can provide you with those items and spaces. For example, if you plan on running a fitness retreat, it’s imperative that you have a space with all the necessary equipment, such as weights, battle ropes, kettle bells and other accessories, areas to stretch, and maybe even an outdoor space for running or HIIT workouts with a view.
This is particularly true for food-based or nutritional retreats. Location has to be your top priority, as you’ll need access to a kitchen and cooking supplies and/or a crafted menu that caters, literally, to your nutritional needs. Not all resorts offer organic, nutritional, vegetarian, and vegan options. If you pick a resort that serves fried foods and limited veggies, your theme becomes muddled and mixed messages are sent to the participants.
The same is true for a yoga retreat. At the most basic level, you need a flat space that can hold your requested number of participants, like a terrace, rooftop, beach, green area, or an actual yoga shala, along with mats, blocks, and other accessories you wish to use. The vibe also has to be just right, as you want peace and tranquility during your practice time. A large resort in Mexico might look beautiful and fit the budget, but the vibe won’t match and can cause problems along the way.
This is a reminder that when you’re thinking about location, it’s not just about luxe villas, popular landmarks, and stunning views. Ensure your needs are met before arriving, so your schedule goes off without a hitch.
Activities and schedule
Designing a schedule is another important aspect of creating a seamless wellness retreat, as it gives your guests an idea of what to expect. A clear schedule ensures guests know the activity level, how much free time they’ll have, and what’s included in the overall price, such as meals and excursions.
A good starting point is focusing on two activities a day. These activities could be two yoga classes, a fitness class and an excursion, a nutrition workshop and a cooking class, or a breathwork session and a cultural tour. Always think back to Goldilocks: too much and too little won’t get you far with your guests.
To help create more options for your group, you can also offer add-ons, such as private lessons/sessions, spa packages, optional tours, and cultural/adventure excursions. This way, you can give your guests free time to enjoy the location at their own pace and allow them the freedom to choose their own adventures.
Setting your price
Budgeting can be tricky when it comes to creating a solid experience, along with ensuring your needs are covered as the leader. But once again, the Goldilocks method works. Setting a price too high can deter many who may have budget restrictions or could do a similar trip for less. Setting the price too low can look great on paper, but if meals aren’t included or there aren’t a lot of inclusions within the package, it may not seem worth it to your clients. They’ll have to foot a large portion of the bill on-site.
Setting a price for your retreat really comes down to knowing your potential travelers. Who are they? What is their average income? What are their wants and needs? You should be able to answer most of these questions based on your current clientele.
Most retreats average anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 and include most or all meals, airport transfers, nice accommodation, and wellness activities. You want to make the package worth it for your potential guests. Take the guesswork out of it for them, and create a package that doesn’t break the bank while offering enough inclusions to pique their interest.
The last portion of price-setting is based on your needs. Are you covering your trip out of pocket, or are you baking your cost into the overall retreat price? Do you plan on adding a fee to the retreat price for your services? Will you offer add-ons to make extra money while you’re there and give your guests and array of experiences? These questions are yours to answer, but did you know that if you book with TourHero, you travel free if you can get 6+ participants to book as well? (Reach out to us for more information.)
Promoting your retreat
Half the battle is creating a stellar retreat. The other half is getting people to join. There are several ways to ensure you fill the spots, and it all comes down to promotion.
- Self-promotion in classes/sessions: As an instructor/coach, you undoubtedly see clients either in daily or weekly classes, local workshops, or at your own studio space. Therefore, promotion is easy, as you can use word of mouth, flyers, and online booking options on your site within these events. The more you publicize, the more likely you are to capture people’s attention and influence them to book. You are your brand. Don’t sell yourself short!
- Social media: Our high-tech world is run by the web, which means social media is your best friend. Posting on social media allows your followers to see all the retreat information, but having a business account means a farther reach. You can pay to have your event publicized, and you can also have friends and family repost, too. Extend your reach to reap the rewards of more views. More views mean more possible bookings.
- Travel platform help: There are also travel sites, *cough* like TourHero, that can help you promote on their website and social media pages. You don’t need to go it alone when it comes to promotion, so let the pros help you connect your mission with like-minded travelers.
Creating your dream wellness retreat
What do you think? Are you ready to create your dream wellness retreat? If so, TourHero is here to help! We offer customized packages that will cater to all your needs. From finding the perfect location to ensuring you have yoga mats and props, our team will be with you every step of the way. Reach out to us with your vision, and let us help you plan a solid wellness retreat experience.
TourHero is a social travel platform that enables you to travel with like-minded people and fall in love with the journey. We work closely with handpicked local operators to ensure every experience curated is unique and exclusive to your travel group. Come with us on epic adventures and create memories that last a lifetime!