The day I decided to go into the yoga retreat business, my partner looked at me like I had struck gold.
Over the past year, we’ve hit over seven countries, searching for that spot – our spot. About a year and a half ago, we met on some idle Tuesday afternoon in Barcelona, and have been running around the globe, adventuring together ever since. But after spending the past several months in Australia, far from family, friends, career contacts, and everything we knew… we were ready to head back to Spain – the one country that set both of our souls on fire.
“So, we’ll go back to Spain, buy some big, beautiful villa on the beach for the same price we’re paying for our cardboard box apartment in Australia, and you’ll run yoga retreats from there!” he excitedly declared.
Hmm… living in paradise where the sun wakes you by kissing your face, where cleansing, tuning in to nature, and breathing in salt watered air makes laughing and loving simple, where smiles on faces come easy… getting to work with beautiful souls on similar paths, immersing myself each day in my passion, and best of all, learning and growing in myself with each individual that passes by. Done and done.
But as I started to try to figure out the logistics of it, mild panic began to set in. With an MSc in psychiatry, a BPsych, five years of post-grad education, and an internationally accredited yoga teaching certification – alas, I have never studied a single page of business. Marketing? SEO? Brand building? Lost.
As life would have it, that’s when I came across luciayoga. They have provided me with the perfect transitory opportunity: providing the stunning villa in the south of Spain, the knowledge and understanding of how to run a successful yoga retreat, the necessities such as yoga mats, and the expertise in marketing. Luciayoga teaches you about the yoga retreat business as you work with them to set up your own.
If travelling the world, connecting with like-minded seekers, and getting paid to do it sounds like a dream, read on – here are some guidelines for turning your your sun-kissing, om-chanting, green-juice-drinking, downward-dogging, living-laughing-loving lifestyle into your job!
You can do this by teaching at multiple venues, at different times in the day – this gives you access to all different types of clients. Social media can also work wonders in spreading the word about your work, especially if your work is something a little bit different and uniquely you!
Speaking of social media – these days, you need to have it. Spread the word about what you’re doing. Keep mentioning it! Yoga alliance proclaims that people need to hear you talk about your retreat an average of seven times before they book. It can’t hurt to learn a about who might be interested in working with you, and reflect on who you would really like to work with as well. Attracting the right clients is key – you want them to feel good about the decision that they’re making. That starts with what you share about what you’ll be doing.
Understand deeply that in this business, people aren’t just making a decision to go on a vacation – they’re committing to doing the inner work to make big, sweeping changes in their personal lives. Work with them to help them move through barriers to this work by sharing your own story, and ensuring they feel safe in your hands. Account for the time it takes to earn people’s trust – for international retreats, start marketing one year in advance; for domestic retreats, start 6 months in advance. The further away you are, the more they have to truly believe in what you do to want to come to you.
So don’t stop when you think you’ve done enough. Keep promoting what you are doing! Marketing is KEY for a profitable yoga retreat and getting enough students. Luckily, the guys at luciayoga have been on the ball with teaching me effective marketing strategies.
Keep in touch with old clients. Reach out to anybody who has expressed interest in what you do. Continue to generate excitement about what you are doing by sending out updates on different excursions your retreaters will be taking part in, sending photos of the places that they’ll see, and reflecting on what your program can do for them.
When considering timing, consider tourist seasons, holidays, and your clientele. For example, if many of your students have young children, it is highly unlikely that they will want to travel for long periods of time, or travel far away from home.
In terms of locations, consider how much transportation is necessary to get there. Clients do not want a lot of hassle to get to your retreat. Make sure your location is accessible. Location is one of the most important key for a successful yoga retreat
People retreat not just to cleanse and feel good, but to get away from their everyday lives. One of the benefits of doing a retreat is that clients get an all-inclusive vacation to a blissful destination, minus the screaming children and horrible food, plus an opportunity to cleanse the body, mind, and soul. Coordinate your retreat and excursions with the local culture. For example, we’ve got a private cook who will be rustling up local, organic Mediterranean food for us (vegan and vegetarian options available).
Do a raffle to win the retreat for free – this generates interest in the retreat in people who would not have previously considered it. Offer repeater discounts if you are offering multiple retreats. Offer discounts for early bookings, as this helps you with the planning process.
Ultimately, selling a service or product (ethically) is about attraction. If you love what you do, and you really believe in your ability to guide people to where they want to be on a physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental level – put yourself out there! Make yourself vulnerable by making yourself seen. This is, in and of itself, a wonderful way to build relationships with like-minded individuals.
Throw your heart and soul into planning something truly spectacular, and let it sell itself. Balance indulgence of the soul with disciplined health behaviour, adventure with relaxation, and open yourself to making truly beautiful memories with kindred souls that you’ll never forget.