A retreat is a great way to bond with your best clients, and when executed effectively, can help to strengthen customer loyalty, improve sales, and create a memorable experience. Retreats are not only incredibly beneficial for your business and profits, but also rewarding to spend time with like-minded people. Personal and professional connections that are built at retreats can be leveraged in many ways. Here are some tips to help you host the best retreat for your clients.
Connect with people with experience. A trusted friend or business owner who has done a retreat or conference in the past who can provide helpful tips or hacks to get the most out of your retreat for yourself and your attendees. There’s something you’re not thinking about for sure—insurance, first aid kit, or even providing a room for nursing mothers if that’s applicable.
What is the purpose of this retreat? Is it to promote a platform you are passionate about, build brand loyalty, or both? Before you set your intentions at the event, and select a theme for your retreat that appeals to your target audience and will help you and your clients reach your goals.
Select a catchy, well-considered name that reflects both your business, the attendees and the atmosphere you intend to create. Make a list of words, puns, or phrases that describe your retreat, such as “vision”, “mindfulness”, or “nurturing”.
Retreats often involve many moving parts, including selecting and booking a venue, accommodations, and food arrangements. This planning often takes months to arrange, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to coordinate all these aspects. Set dates for each benchmark to be completed so you don’t fall behind, and pick a day for your event far in advance.
Coordinating an entire retreat by yourself can be exhausting, so building profitable and beneficial business partnerships can go a long way when hosting a retreat. Collaborate with other businesses that have a similar target audience. For example, if you run a massage studio, partner with a skincare company, a local yoga studio, or a fitness clothing boutique to attend your retreat. These companies can help share the initial financial burden, co-promote their own products and services, and share in the profits. This mutually beneficial relationship can ease the stress of running your first retreat.
Whether your retreat is based around connecting with nature, developing as a professional, or learning more about yoga, make sure your days are planned out to incorporate other aspects of a retreat. For example, make sure to identify times where participants are able to relax and recoup, grab a bite to eat, or have a glass of wine with other attendees. Your scheduling doesn’t need to be rigid, but providing a rough outline to your participants is vital to building their excitement. Be sure to build in downtime and some team building for attendees to connect.
How many people do you want your retreat to include? When considering this question, make sure to investigate the size and capacity of your venue, the amenities you are able to provide, and the food options you will have available. Once you have determined these factors, you can then decide how you want to build your list. If you have enough space to invite your community, make sure your marketing is able to reach outside your typical customer base. Post flyers on community boards, advertise on your local Facebook pages, and even reaching out to local radio stations are all great methods to reach the general public. If you are hoping for a smaller, more intimate event, then sending emails to your pre-existing clients and advertising locally in your shop or website are good ways to reach a smaller circle.
Pricing your retreat may be perhaps one of the most challenging aspects you encounter. You want to be able to generate a profit, but you also don’t want to deter clients. Consider the total costs or partial cost if other businesses are contributing, and how much profit you aim to generate. Also be wary of pricing too low, or you will risk losing credibility. Crunch the numbers before you release any public figures.
The final step in hosting the perfect retreat is the most difficult—the execution. Your event doesn’t need to be seamless, and in fact, very few rarely are. No event is perfect, but ensuring your clients have an amazing, empowering experience is the most important part to hosting a retreat. Allow them to feel like they have flexibility, while also gaining knowledge and information from your retreat, so they want to come back year after year. Be passionate in your beliefs and they will shine through.