Fitness retreats are meant to be an escape from the hectic schedules that keep us from sticking to a regular, healthy fitness routine. But not all retreats need to be in Bali or Mexico. Rather, you can host one just a few miles from your studio and still offer similar benefits. Here, we solicit advice from expert retreat holders on how to make it work for your studio.
PICK A DESTINATION THAT SPEAKS TO YOU
Rebecca Butler, owner of The Sanctuary in Fort Worth, Tx, who has hosted retreats with her own studio in local Texas areas and led retreats for The Travel Yogi in Aruba and Mexico, says that the retreat location needs to be ideal for you. “If it lights you up, it will light up others and attract the right students,” she says. While the idea of a far away destination sounds ideal, it’s less attractive to some because of the time commitment and price.
“Not everyone wants to travel great distances to experience the transformation a retreat can provide,” Butler says. Nicole Katz of Yoga 216 in New York hosted her studio’s first retreat in Mexico and has plans to hold retreats seasonally from now on in Vermont and around the northeast, with more accessible locations on the calendar around holiday time.
PLAN EVERY SINGLE THING IN ADVANCE
Butler says every retreat she’s planned, whether it’s local or international, takes at least a year of planning. She plans out the contents of her retreats first, keeping a transformational effect in mind. “I want students to go home pining for the next one,” she says. In order to do that, it all comes down to preparation. Katz suggests making the retreat as relaxing as possible by allotting time for travel and unwinding when people arrive. If a retreat is far away, keep in mind that some might have time changes, potential late flights or mix-ups as well as language barriers.
The biggest things to keep in mind for your sake, not the retreat goers’, are things like: What kind of deposit is required of you up front? How long do you have before the start of the retreat to cancel if you don’t have as many people as you would like to go? And keep all of this in mind when you’re doing promotions or sales for the retreat.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT HOW IT WILL HELP BUSINESS
Katz says that the exposure for a retreat is great but that when the travel is international, it’s mostly just her studio population attending. “It’s a way to give your current clients a more rounded wellness experience,” she says. But a local retreat can be a game changer. Butler says it can attract students from the region beyond just your studio base. “Local retreats are also good for seeding the studio community. Studio attendees spend quite a bit of intimate time together, they get to know one another better creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in the studio, which is always attractive,” she says.