WU Expert Tamara Golden, our in-house consultant and planner of our WU SoulTreat Retreats, is the owner of Journeywork Retreats; a full-service destination retreat planning company operating across the US and overseas.
Plenty of well-meaning, heart-centered coaches, healers, and transformation leaders have a vision of hosting retreats.
However, most of them never realize that dream. What gets in the way? Largely, it is the fear of two things; not filling the event and not making money.
Tips on filling your retreat will be the topic of my next article, but let’s tackle the profit piece of this equation.
If you missed my May 30th blog, How to Make Profit Hosting Wellness Retreats, know that this is my second treatment on this topic.
In my first article, I talked about some fundamental ways to increase the profits you make from your retreat. In this article, I’m going to outline five ways you can specifically decrease your costs and ultimately leave you with more money in your pocket.
Take the two of these articles together and you’ve got a sure recipe for how to knock your retreat profits out of the park! So, let’s dig in, shall we?
Here Are 5 Ways to Increase Your Retreat Profits:
Get Creative with Your Retreat Venue:
High-end resorts with luxurious meeting rooms sound great; and they are. However, they often come at a premium price which doesn’t leave you much wiggle room when it comes to building in profit- beyond the price you’ll need to simply cover your costs.
Get creative. Do you belong to a timeshare property that has meeting space available and might have additional rooms to rent to non-members for a few days? Know of a particularly stellar Airbnb that can get the job done? Is there a local nonprofit, community center, or cooperative workspace that rents out professional meeting rooms that you might be able to use?
When you’re just starting out and operating on a shoestring budget, there’s nothing wrong with exploring options that will get the job done at a price that won’t break the bank.
Leave Accommodations Out of the Picture Altogether:
Consider the option of renting a stellar meeting space where your tribe gathers each day for the instructional part of your retreat, and they are free to secure and pay for their own accommodations at night.
This option is not ideal for every retreat scenario, as it takes away from the cohesiveness and intimacy of the overall experience; however, this can work particularly well for domestic retreats of 2-4 days and when you’re needing to keep the event price and your costs low.
Using this option, the emphasis is truly on the education portion of your retreat, and perhaps some meals or group excursions included. Your attendees then have the freedom and flexibility of choosing their own lodging; anywhere from staying with a friend, to treating themselves to a luxury boutique hotel. Oh, and yes, they’re even responsible for their own transportation to get there!
Capitalize on Contracted Rates:
Wanting to create that sacred-space and keep everyone together on the same property, and treat you and your guests to that luxury resort experience? I can’t blame you.
Even when going high-end there are ways to cut costs; especially when aiming at doing retreats overseas. In this scenario, I advise working with a trusted “destination management company” (DMC) that has contracted prices with a range of great properties at different price points.
A reputable DMC will work with you not only to find a venue that matches your style and meets your teaching needs, but they will also help you negotiate additional perks and benefits; from freebies for you as the facilitator, to extra amenities for your participants.
They want your business and are your on-the-ground advocate. They have established relationships and good pricing with their partner hotels, and will go to bat in negotiating to get you what you need!
Forge Partnerships of Choice:
If you find a location you like and a property that fits the bill, consider hosting retreats there regularly. Why? That gives you leveraging power.
If the hotel knows you’re serious about bringing them regular repeat business, they are more likely to work with you to make your programs a success. I advise taking a step beyond that and offering to advertise them as your select hotel of choice.
In this day and age of make-or-break TripAdvisor reviews and stiff competition, hotels are looking for reliable, steady business they can count on; not to mention the free social media marketing this brings them. When faced with these opportunities of full-service, you’d be surprised how willing hotels are in working with you to keep that relationship going.
Additionally, strategic partnerships aren’t limited to hotels. They can extend to transfer companies, tour companies, caterers, and beyond!
Ask for discounted pricing in return for loyalty and repeat business. The worst they can say is no, and you may be surprised by the number of those that say yes.
Barter for Services:
I know, bartering can be a slippery slope. It can also be a fantastic way, when you’re starting out, to obtain services or access resources that might otherwise be outside your reach.
Want to add specific workshops or services to help enhance your retreat by inviting in a massage therapist, yoga instructor, or sound healer? Consider setting up some sort of barter of services, or trade of their time for promotion of their upcoming events, etc.
Know that bartering can also be key in helping you to save money on designing your retreat through to advertising it and capturing it in photos or on video. Any number of service providers that can help you in organizing your retreat and making it a success, may also be open to bartering some or all of their services as well.
Lastly, look for creative solutions and strategic partnerships where you can; and remember, it never hurts to ask!
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series on August 8th!