I have lead two yoga retreats at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica and am now on my third one. For every year that I’ve organized a retreat at Blue Osa, I told management to expect 24 attendees. Each year, the number of people traveling with me for my yoga retreat in Costa Rica was short by at least half. Finally, in 2014, I was able to meet my goal and lead a retreat of exactly 24 attendees. Obviously, I have learned a lot through this experience and now know what works—and what doesn’t work to fill your yoga retreats.
Here are my top tips and tricks so you can go above and beyond your goals and fill your yoga retreats from the get-go:
How do you fill your yoga retreats?
How did I do it? With intention, perseverance and sound advice. Everything in life starts with intention and requires holding that intention strong until the end. My intention was to bring my community together in the relaxed, warm and welcoming setting of Blue Osa. I wanted to share yoga and work on accepting change and stepping away from comfort zone. This intention gave me a sense of direction that lead me through self-doubt and fear of failure. When you have intention, it is easy to fill your yoga retreat.
Perseverance is also about holding faith
Perseverance also kept me from derailing. Perseverance is about resisting against the rational mind that questioned my abilities to plan the retreat, to cover its costs or to please guests. Perseverance is also faith and knowing to sit back and stop worrying. I had to trust that things would work out.
But the retreat couldn’t have flourished without sound advice from Aaron, the mastermind behind Blue Osa. He helped me develop a detailed program, encouraged me to market through social media and gave me tips on how to involve more people. The result are these 12 tips will help you to fill your yoga retreat.
If I could give you a grocery list for manifesting a successful trip, it would sound like this.
12 Tips To Fill Your Yoga Retreat
1. Create the image in your mind.
2. Ensure that the image is based on your truth and serves the highest good. (Be really detailed in your visualization with positive emotional triggers.)
3. Hold a Costa Rica Party (I had two, one in March and one in August 2013 for February 2014’s trip). I offered a $300/$200 discount respectively for anyone who signed up that day. People like to pre-plan their big trips, and for a lot of people this is huge! The party class was free. Past retreaters were invited and asked to bring a Costa Rican dish to share; and we enjoyed delicious food while sharing our experiences with interested students.
4. Create a trip packet and enrollment forms to inform and facilitate the sign-up process.
5. Blog, share on social media and email regularly reminding everyone of the wonderful opportunity. It takes six times before the general consumer cognitively recognizes a service and has the impulse to act.
6. Offer a payment plan for those that really want to come but cannot lay out a lump sum of money all at once. I required a $500 non-refundable deposit and allowed everyone to make whatever payments they could afford. The balance simply needed to be paid in full by December 1st.
7. Don’t give up. Sometimes the numbers aren’t exactly where you’d like them to be. Fear, doubt and insecurities will try to creep in. Don’t go there! Return and stay grounded in your positive feeling and visualized intention.
8. If and when you start to doubt, work on refining your agenda; develop a program guide and share that with participants and potential retreaters. People like to know what to expect. Reach out to those that you think might want to come and personally invite them. Request everyone’s travel itinerary. This not only helps you put together a chart of arrival and departure times for the resort, but it gets them excited and talking about the retreat. IT DEVELOPS MOMENTUM.
9. Make announcements, be enthusiastic and explain what students will experience or receive from this awesome vacation retreat.
10. Trust the universe! Gifts are delivered in many ways. Quite often they are what you least expect. When you are grounded in love and services, God delivers wonderful surprises
11. Have fun and be in a place of abundance and joy.
- Who is your target audience?
- How will you market?
- What’s your goal?
- What is in it for them? Why will customers choose to sign-up?
- Advertise, promote, announce and talk about the trip repetitively. (I used Google Ads, Facebook, Constant Contact, flyers, class announcements, and shared the experience with anyone and everyone who inquired)
In short, leading a yoga retreat is no walk in the park, but it is rewarded by unforgettable memories and long-lasting bonds. Set an intention and push through until the end. Take all the advice you can get and put it into practice to ensure a successful yoga retreat from start to finish.
If you are a yoga teacher reading this who has lead successful yoga retreats in the past, please add your tips below in the comments section. Or, get in touch with Blue Osa to start planning your yoga retreat to Costa Rica today!
About Susan Smith
Susan Smith, yoga teacher, guide and author of “The Power of Yoga” has been a dedicated student of yoga on and off the mat since 1997. With over 29 years of education and experience in exercise physiology, fitness and spiritual awakening, Susan developed a fluid style of yoga founded on her studies in Hatha, Ashtanga and Hot Vinyasa techniques. Her training includes numerous certifications from master instructors throughout the U.S. Each contributed to her teaching philosophy. She shares her vision, passion, and practicality with students worldwide.