The Ultimate Guide to Understanding How to Organise And Host a Profitable Retreat

How To Host A Retreat And Make Money: Planning a retreat business can be a great way to share your expertise, connect with like-minded people, and make a profit. However, organising a profitable retreat event that successfully attracts the number of attendees you want requires careful planning and attention to detail.

There is nothing worse for the host of a retreat to start their event realising arrangements are falling through, they have forgotten to organise a few vital things and they are distracted from fully focusing on their retreat guests. They are the host after all!

In the sections below we'll cover everything you need to know to ensure your retreat is not only rewarding but also profitable and how you can organise everything ahead of time to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day. We also cover new ways to use AI to help you build your retreat in half the time, how to get sponsors involved in your event and our selling-without-selling strategy for filling the spaces while you focus on how to host the retreat and make sure everyone enjoys your event and wants to come back year after year.

Finally, we share the number one thing that gets in the way of someone becoming a profitable retreat leader so you can avoid the pitfalls of others and instead become a rock star in the world of unique experiential events. So let's get started!

How To Host A Retreat And Make Money

Start by Defining your retreat goals and target audience

Let me explain. Imagine you're planning a road trip with friends. Before hitting the road, you will take time to decide where you want to go. Maybe it's a beach, a famous landmark, or a cosy glamping cabin in the mountains. These destinations are like the goals for your trip.

In the same way, a retreat business leader needs to set their goals and targets to know where they're headed. These goals are like the destinations on a road trip; they give a clear direction to follow and allow for the essential ingredients to hosting a profitable retreat event. These include:

1. Focus: Just like a GPS guides you on your road trip, goals and targets keep a retreat leader focused on what's important so they can concentrate time, effort and resources on reaching those goals.

2. Motivation: Without this, there is nothing to aim for and celebrate when it's in the bag. It's like reaching a checkpoint on your road trip and feels great when you can look behind you to see how far you've come.

3. Measuring Progress: Imagine driving without any road signs or a map. It will be really tough to know how far you've travelled or how much more you have to do. Goals and targets act like those signs, letting you keep track of your progress and adjust plans if needed.

4. Making Smart Decisions: When you know where you're going you can make better decisions about where to put your time, money, and effort. Just like you might choose a scenic route instead of a busy highway for your road trip, the leader of a retreat business can decide if they want to attract customers slowly for a soft launch or quickly through ads, which moves them closer to their goals in less time.

5. Adaptability: Sometimes, unexpected blocks pop up on a road trip. This might be an unexpected detour that no one was expecting. This can happen for retreat hosts too, which leads them to adjust their plans. But if you have clear goals it is really easy to navigate obstacles and stay on course.

So setting goals and targets is like deciding on the destination for a journey. It provides direction, keeps everyone motivated, helps measure progress, guides decision-making, and helps you to adapt to whatever the road ahead brings. And just like a successful road trip, reaching those goals brings a sense of achievement, but most importantly is the best way to host a retreat and make money!

The Retreat Leaders' Biggest Mistake When Hosting A Retreat

Many retreat leaders build their retreats without having potential attendees lined up and that's just backwards!  They organise their events without testing their ideas first to see if their potential customers want what they are about to put time, effort and money into creating. They spend days, weeks and sometimes months creating the content, organising activities, booking facilities and arranging everything, only to end up cancelling the event at the last minute when they fail to fill their spaces. 

Instead, before you start planning your retreat, it's important to think about who your target audience is and what will magnetise them to attend one of your retreats. We cover this in detail in our Little Black Book of training, renowned for giving lightbulb and eureka moments to all attendees.

In our Little Black Book to 100 Potential Retreat Attendees, Sarah Riley walks you through the steps you need to follow to attract your first potential attendees who are eager to buy from you before you start creating anything. This is perfect for any nervous retreat leaders who fear they won't be able to fill places and want to avoid the embarrassment of having to cancel their events.

In this process, you decide what you hope to achieve with your retreat. You answer the question about who is your ideal attendee is and what they want. Understanding your goals and target audience will help you make important decisions about the location, activities, and pricing of your retreat. It will also help you market your retreat to attract the right attendees so they love what you offer and can't wait to come back for more. Take some time to brainstorm and write down your goals and target audience before moving on to the next step or visit our store for access to our Little Black Book to 100 Potential Retreat Attendees.

Set a budget and pricing strategy

Setting a budget and pricing strategy is crucial to ensuring your retreat is profitable. Start by estimating all of your expenses, including venue rental, food and beverage, transportation, activities, and any other costs associated with the retreat. Once you have a total cost, decide on a pricing strategy that will allow you to cover your expenses and make a profit.

Consider offering early bird discounts or payment plans to incentivise attendees to sign up early. It's also important to be transparent about your pricing and what is included in the cost of the retreat to avoid any surprises or misunderstandings.

If you own a glamping site you already offer a unique stay for your guests so adding another level of experience can turn it into a retreat and a different set of figures will apply. There are additional elements to consider - such as additional legal considerations - as running a retreat means a different set of insurances and terms and conditions apply, etc. so check you have the right elements in place before you begin so you are legally covered.

Retreat Training

If you want to know what it takes to launch a retreat business and want an example of set-up costs and potential income then take a look at the Perfectly Planned and Profitable Retreats System. This system also shares how you can use the power of Artificial Intelligence to build your retreat in half the time and the exact steps you can take to get sponsorship for your event.

The key to getting your budget and pricing strategy right is to know your break-even point. However, retreats aren't always run at a profit and knowing your numbers will help you choose the right strategy for your business model. 

The times when retreats are intentionally run at a loss

From time to time retreat leaders decide to organise a retreat that makes a loss. Sounds balmy I know but hear me out. In the above example, most money can be made on the accommodation side, which is why it works so well in the hospitality industry. So if you have your accommodation costs covered and in profit at quiet times when they would otherwise be empty, then the added activities of the retreat need to be covered to break even.

When marketing the event you will naturally raise the profile of your site, generate email sign-ups and potentially have future holiday bookings, all adding to a healthy bottom line and better occupancy levels.

So the times when an experiential retreat event is designed to make a loss there are always alternative elements in place to raise income for the retreat leader or organiser. For example, a cold water immersion event might sell dry robes, etc. Selling your own branded gear can be very lucrative if you are interested in designing and selling merchandise.

Remember that your retreat customers are more likely to buy from you in the future. Research shows us that it is up to seven times cheaper to keep existing customers than to find new ones. That is a very efficient way to build a retreat business!

In summary, if you keep your retreat attendees happy and connected with your business afterwards you will find there is profit to be made in the event you organised and ran at a loss. The key is understanding your strategy and the approach you want to take from the beginning to get this right for your business and set the correct budget from the start.

Market and promote your retreat effectively

Once you have planned and organised your retreat, it is time to market and promote it effectively to attract attendees. Start by creating a website or landing page dedicated to your retreat, where potential attendees can learn more about the event and register their interest. We share our 'selling without selling' sales page strategy within the Perfectly Planned And Profitable Retreats System®

After you have everything in place, you can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your retreat and engage with potential attendees. Consider partnering with influencers or other businesses in your niche to reach a wider audience. If you have used our system for getting retreat sponsors on board then make sure you work with them to share your event to a wider audience. Finally, don't forget to leverage email marketing to keep potential attendees informed and excited about your retreat as the date approaches. The 'joyful buildup' to a retreat event is just as important as the event itself.

How to become a rock-star retreat leader!

Did you know that there's an official 'Quitters Day'? Yes, it surprised us too when we found out!  The research was carried out by the running app company, Strava, which took 800 million pieces of logged activity by their users and figured out when most people are likely to give up.

The research showed us that it happens on day 19 in any new routine. It can impact everything from your new fitness routine to your efforts to build a new lifestyle business running retreats or starting a unique hospitality business as a retreat leader.

The best bit about knowing this is that we can take steps to avoid it.

But how do you do that?

It's easy!

You just need to get the support you need to make your dream business happen. Having your cheerleaders in place helps you through the tricky times when you start thinking about giving up. This is the key to making your profitable retreat business happen and it is the first thing you need to work on if you want to organise and host a profitable retreat event business.

Get the support you need to design, organise and host a profitable retreat event business

For more help launching a retreat business, setting out plans to use this style of event to increase occupancy levels for your accommodation business, or taking part in our free retreat start-up training, visit our retreats information page or get in touch with Sarah about your options.

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