5 Steps to Starting an Onsite Yoga Studio Retreat
As the owner or manager of a yoga studio, there’s a good chance that you’re always looking for ways to increase your yearly revenue. It’s part of your job description for pete’s sake. That said, one of the easiest ways to add a nice one-time bump to your bottom line, while also giving your members and community visitors a great potentially life-chancing experience, is to set up an on-site yoga retreat at your business. On-site yoga retreats have gotten more and more popular over the last few years. You see them in Costa Rica and India all the time, but you also see local versions that are just as popular (and much more cost-effective). If you’re looking at starting an on-site retreat at your yoga studio, here are five simple tips to get you started down the right path. If you need some literature on where to hold your retreat, here’s a great book on Amazon to get some ideas.
1. Give Yourself a 6-Month Timeframe
You might think that it’s only going to take a couple weeks to get your yoga retreat idea off the ground. Think again my friend. Even the smallest business ideas can take months to get started. You’re going to need permits, employees, catering, advertising, and more. Add these responsibilities onto your already busy schedule of managing your yoga studio and you’ll burn yourself out if you don’t take the time to do it nice and easy. Pick a weekend six months in the future and lock that down as your yoga retreat weekend. This will give you plenty of time to follow the next steps.
2. Figure out Food & Beverage Logistics
If your weekend retreat is successful, you could have anywhere between 20 and 75 people show up for your classes and seminars. That’s going to require a decent amount of food, and we’re not talking about chips and dips and mini-weinies. You’re going to need to contract a local restaurant or catering company to provide your business with enough food to feed all your retreat participants. Obviously, you don’t need to go overboard, but make sure that you choose quality food that meets various dietary needs and that also makes members feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
3. Book Influential Yogis & Speakers
Now that you’ve got the food situation under control, focus your energy on finding some good speakers to present at your retreat. These can either be seated discussions with note-taking, or they can be demonstrative yoga lessons where your guests can practice alongside the guest speaker. Regardless of the type of speakers that you get, you’re going to need to get speakers and that can take time, especially if you’re trying to get more well-known gurus. You’ll need to pay a speaking fee, so make sure to work that into your entrance fee. You don’t want to be losing money on this business venture.
4. Start a Localized AdWords and Facebook Advertising Campaign
You’ve got a date, you’ve got speakers lined up and you have food for your guests. You’re probably a couple months from the actual event date, and this is great. It’s time to start investing in a localized marketing campaign on either Facebook, Google AdWords or both. I’m a personal fan of Google AdWords since I think it has better localization options, but Facebook can be very good for getting your advertisement in front of a very specific set of eyes. Either way, set up a budget and start promoting your event. Don’t go overboard on spending, but make sure you’re getting the word out. You can also leverage some guerilla marketing and have your current members spread the word through their social media profiles. The more people who learn about your retreat, the more that will sign up.
5. Produce Shirts and Swag to Promote Future Events
Last but not least, look into producing commemorative t-shirts or screen-printed yoga pants for your guests. These can have your retreat’s logo on it, as well as the date and any other info. This is a great way to say thanks to your guests (who probably paid a decent entrance fee) and also serves as a way to promote your future events. If someone sees their yoga neighbor wearing your leggings from last year’s event, they might make it a point to ask how it was and see if there is an event this year.