Have you every wanted to host a wellness retreat for your clients or audience? Perhaps you’ve attended one and want to replicate the experience for others. Or you want to create an additional income stream for your studio business.

In this article – we walk you through how to host a wellness retreat in 7 simple steps.

  • Why host a wellness retreat?
  • #1 – Assess demand & interests
  • #2 – Design the retreat concept
  • #3 – Find the perfect venue
  • #4 – Develop the package
  • #5 – Promote & sell places to your audience
  • #6 – Host the retreat
  • #7 – Reflect & improve

Why host a wellness retreat?

If there’s one thing recent global events have taught us, it’s that humans crave community. We all want to feel like we’re part of something and need that social connection. People have missed this in recent years and wellness retreats are one way to create it with your clients.

They’re an opportunity to bring together like-minded people and create a shared experience. Retreats allow people to focus on their wellness and can help them make progress on a particular area, without the distractions of everyday life.

Retreats can also be a great way to make money for yoga teachers, health coaches, and personal trainers. You get to help people improve their wellness while also generating an income.

They’re also an ideal way to launch a new product or service. Guests can spend an extended amount of time trying out a new type of class or testing an innovative new accessory, allowing them to really understand and benefit from it. You can then use the photos, testimonials, and feedback to promote your new offering as part of a bigger launch.

With so many benefits, it’s no surprise that wellness tourism continues to be a growth area.

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#1 – Assess demand & interests

The first step is to gauge interest in your retreat idea – will people actually want to come? Is there a demand for the kind of retreat you want to host?

There are a number of ways you can do this…

  • Ask your class attendees or one-to-one clients
  • Run a poll with your social media followers
  • Use keyword tools to see if people are searching online for something similar

Doing this will help you decide if your idea is worth pursuing and might spark other ideas too. At this stage you should also research what kind of activities people are interested in doing or learning about. This will inform your retreat programme later on.

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#2 – Design the retreat concept

Once you’ve established that people will be interested, it’s time to design the concept. This can be one of the most fun stages as it’s where you get to brainstorm ideas and put them all together!

You might have a really clear vision of what kind of retreat you want to host. If so, that’s great! It’s simply a case of putting these ideas to paper, as if you’re creating a wellness retreat proposal.

If you’re not quite sure what your retreat will involve, that’s fine too. This stage is where you develop your seed of an idea into something more substantial. Considering the following questions can be helpful…

  • What is the aim or objective of your retreat?
  • What will it focus on?
  • Is there anything you’d particularly like to help people with?
  • Is there a gap in the market?
  • Can you combine two different wellness elements into one unique idea?
  • What activities or sessions could you include?
  • Are there other wellness professionals you could partner with on it?

Once you’ve developed your ideas into a retreat concept, you’re ready for the next stage.

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#3 – Find the perfect venue

There are three factors that influence how good a retreat is – the people, the activities, and the venue. Finding the perfect location is therefore crucial to your event’s success. 

Some retreat venues you can consider include…

  • Airbnbs
  • Forest lodges
  • Spa hotels
  • Large cottages
  • Country hotels
  • Ranches
  • Glamping sites
  • Luxury villas

Which of these is most suitable will depend on your concept and audience. 

  • Does it have good access and convenient travel links for your guests? Can you arrange transport if not?
  • Do the facilities match the activities you want to offer?
  • Will they offer suitable food or catering options?
  • Does the environment match the vibe you’re trying to create?
  • Is the cost feasible for your guests and will it allow you to make a profit too?

Finding a suitable venue can take time but it’s also one of the fun parts of organising a retreat. Take the time to find the right place – it’s fundamental to your event’s success.

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#4 – Develop the package

Once you’ve found your venue, you can develop your concept into a tangible package. This is where you refine all of the details and get things organised.

  1. Define the structure of your event and create a retreat itinerary
  2. Book third-party teachers if you’re planning to work with others
  3. Create a detailed programme outlining the sessions and their benefits, logistics in terms of travel, equipment, and catering, plus any other questions your guests might have. 
  4. Think through every step of the guest/client experience. When they arrive will they know where to go? Should there be signage or will the receptionist direct them? Should you leave an itinerary on the pillow, include a welcome juice, or printed mantra by the mirror? It’s the small details that people remember and can also ensure that everything runs smoothly.
  5. Define the refund policy, balancing what’s fair to your clients with any non-refundable costs you’re on the hook for.

Once you’ve finalised your package, you’re ready to sell spaces to attendees!

Wellness Retreat Itinerary

#5 – Promote & sell spaces to your audience

So, how to you find attendees for your awesome wellness retreat? Well there are some proven techniques that teachers, coaches and event organisers use…

  • Social media – create posts, videos, and include photos of the venue 
  • Blog – write a series of blog posts to create demand, inspire people to sign up, and answer common questions
  • Classes – mention your retreat at the end of your in-person classes
  • Tasters – offer mini or virtual retreat sessions to give people tasters of the residential event
  • Early bird pricing – offer discounted prices to those who sign up early so you get commitments from the start, along with funds to pay for venue deposit and other up-front costs.

Top tip – consider finding sponsors for your retreat. Some companies are happy to provide money, samples or even deliver live sessions in return for exposure to potential customers. So think about approaching brands who could be a good fit and inviting them to be involved.

#6 – Host the retreat

So, the day of the retreat is here. This is where your hosting skills really come into their own!

Whether it’s a one-day event or residential setup, it’s worth organising an introductory welcome session to start with. This is an opportunity to outline the itinerary, set people’s expectations, and establish any ground rules you’d like to. 

Encourage people to interact with each other as much as possible so that you’re not having to orchestrate every conversation. It’ll take the pressure off you while also creating that community vibe. Events (even retreats) can be tiring if you’re doing everything yourself. 

But this is also your time to shine as a wellness professional! It’s the culmination of all your hard work and organisation. So, whether you’re delivering yoga classes, meditation sessions, or hiking expeditions, don’t forget to enjoy it 🙂

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#7 – Reflect & improve

Once your retreat is over, take some time to reflect on how it went. If you’re planning another event in the future, it can be useful to identify areas for improvement next time. But it’s also important to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Gather feedback from your guests on what went well, ways to improve next time, and 3 things they’ll take away from the retreat. It’s an easy way to gather ideas for future retreats or group events.

Do this yourself too – your behind the scenes perspective is likely to be different from your guests’ so you may identify different things to them. For example, you may have thoughts on the promotional efforts, logistics, or organisation that they don’t.

If you decide to host a wellness retreat, then these steps will help you navigate the planning, organisation, and sales process. We’d love to hear how you get on and any lessons you pick up along the way. You can always send us a message or tag us on Instagram. 

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How to host wellness retreat guide

Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.