Can you picture it? The vision of a beautiful retreat can be wonderful, but it’s easy to get stuck in the details. Though you may love the idea, the nuts and bolts of planning can quickly become overwhelming, and many would-be retreat hosts and leaders find it easier to let go of their dream.
At the same time, retreat hosts are in demand! Now more than ever, many people desire the retreat experience and are actively looking for options. If hosting or leading a retreat appeals to you, the key is to create a detailed plan that allows you to move forward with purpose and enjoy the experience.
In this weeks Retreat News, I'll share 8 steps to planning a retreat that will go down without a hitch.
Step 1 - Know Your Why and Who
Clarity equals confidence, and confidence provides the necessary push past doubt and challenge. Know why you want to lead a retreat, and who you want to attend. It’s tempting to skip this step in favor of moving into the details, but make sure you take the time to solidify the big picture.
Step 2 - Pick Your Venue and Date
Though location, maximum occupancy, amenities, and price are all factors when choosing a venue, it’s just as important to consider the partnership between you and the venue owner. You’re entering a business relationship, and both parties should have equal stake in the retreat’s success. A negative relationship can quickly impact the guest's experience.
Step 3 - Decide the Amenities
Consider what will be included in your retreat. What will guests eat? Where will they stay? What will they do, learn, or practice? It's important to make things simple and easy for retreat guests to understand. Take credit for all the amenities that your retreat will offer. Your guest should be able to quickly see how much enjoyment and benefit the retreat will offer.
Step 4 - Work Your Budget
Don’t run from your numbers! Figuring out your cost will allow you to calculate what to charge; it doesn’t have to be complicated. List all expenses, then divide by the number of retreat guests. This will be the approximate amount to charge. It's a good idea to add a cushion in case unexpected expenses occur.
Step 5 - Invitations and Registrations
Decide who you want to invite to the retreat, how you want to invite them, and most importantly, how you want them to register for the retreat. This last step - creating a system for registration - can feel awkward since it requires you to ask for money. The key is to remember that people desire the retreat experience, and you’re offering a great one. Making it simple for them to register! If you have clarity on what your retreat provides, you will have confidence in the invitation and registration process.
Step 6 - Retreat Marketing
If no one knows about your retreat, no one can attend, and marketing is the best way to get the word out. There are many free and low-cost marketing options such as social media, online advertising, flyers, and even good old word of mouth. When marketing your retreat, make sure you are talking to your desired retreat guests and let them know the problem your retreat solves. This will help guests decide that they need to attend your retreat. And, again, make the registration process simple and easy.
Step 7 - Retreat Itinerary
At the outset of planning, you’ll have a rough idea of what guests will do, and as you finalize all your plans, you can fine-tune the timeline. It's important to always be flexible and open to change; keep in mind that the most important thing is that your guests have a great experience.
Step 8 - Guest Relations
As the retreat leader/host, you are the heart of the event. The final step is to think about how you will relate and interact with your retreat guests in all stages of your retreat planning process. How will you show up and be available to your guests before the retreat, during the retreat, and after the retreat? What type of relationship will you create? Giving thought to how you will serve your guests will help to set expectations and also to set boundaries to ensure that you also enjoy your retreat.
How do you feel about planning a retreat? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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