Best Retreat Venues: What Makes Them Great?

Hi friend, today we are talking about the best retreat venues and what makes them great. If you own a retreat venue and are looking for ways to attract more retreat leaders to do their retreats at your venue, this blog post is for you.

If you are a retreat leader or an aspiring one, looking for venues but not sure what to look for, this post will be useful as well.

(Prefer listening instead of reading? Check out this episode of ZenPreneur)

I am speaking from the perspective of someone whose retreat journey began in 2008 when I had my first retreat job. Since then, I’ve worked internationally with different venues, including being the retreat coordinator and Retreats Director in renowned retreat centers and luxury wellness hotels like Samahita and Six Senses Ibiza.

As an independent entrepreneur and a retreat leader myself, I have hosted my own retreats internationally since 2016. So, I believe I can bring different perspectives and new insights to this topic.

I Write This Post From The Perspective Of a Retreat Leader Looking for The Best Retreat Venues

Before we dive into the aspects that I believe make the best retreat venue, let me preface with some practicalities.

I will write from the perspective of a retreat leader who’s looking to host a retreat and find the best venues. If you are a venue owner, this will allow you to see things from my perspective.

The first question that comes up (an important one): Where do you think I would look for venues as a retreat leader?

You got it! Google! So, if you own a venue, one place you absolutely want to register your business is Google my business. It is free and will show your venue in the Google Maps app, along with reviews your clients will share.

If you don’t have it yet, that would be your first step as a retreat venue owner.


Video from Giphy

What Does Your Retreat Venue & Social Media Channels Look Like?

Another important aspect I would consider as a retreat leader is that your venue has an informative website with lots of high-quality images. It does not have to be the best, most amazing website out there; even something simple could work. However, I prefer to see high-resolution photos that I might be able to use to market my retreat down the road. My target audience as a retreat leader is looking for an exquisite experience, and cheap, low-quality photos won’t do it.

→ Side note about your target audience: The foundation of any business is to know and understand who their target audience is. As a retreat venue, there are at least two different demographics you are looking to attract:

  1. Retreat leaders (People like me).
  2. Retreat participants (People like my guests, your guests, and other retreat leaders’ guests).

So, it is very important that you have this clear in your marketing material and website as well.

Having said all of that, as a retreat leader, I would expect to find one dedicated section or page on your website just for me, with all the information I need to know about hosting a retreat at your venue. I would also value and appreciate an easy way to contact you and perhaps even find an easy way to set up a call with you (or someone on the team) if needed.



Finally, it is desirable that you have some social media channels. I probably won’t expect you to be posting consistently, but having an online presence, with the name of your business, and the 12 best images of your place would give me enough confidence for now.

If you need inspiration and resources on how to set up your IG channel, you can check out this video and this blog post. They were written with wellness and holistic practitioners and a small center in mind, but I am sure you can get some ideas.

Needless to say, as a retreat leader, I expect that you have all the legalities in place for your venue.

Having said all this, let’s dive in.

What Makes a Retreat Venue Great?

So, let’s talk about what makes a retreat venue a desirable option. I will start with eight basics.

Accessibility

It is a positive fact that your venue is accessible. I know for some venues, having some sort of adventurous way to access you can be cool like Jungleyoga in Thailand or Six Senses Zighy Bay. However, accessibility can be something that will definitely play in your favor down the road. So if you are not accessible as a venue right now, think about the creative ways in which you can make your location more accessible. That might include adding a transfer service.


Comfort and Cleanliness

This is a top and non-negotiable aspect for me as a retreat leader. I need to know that your rooms and spaces are clean and comfortable. There is nothing worse than going somewhere where the cleanliness and comfort aspects are not well taken care of. So it is worth it to invest some resources in this one because it might be one of the reasons retreat leaders and retreat attendees might want to come back to your venue.



Nourishing Cuisine

Another important aspect is that your venue provides wonderful food options. It doesn’t necessarily have to provide all the options and trends like vegan, gluten-free, keto, etc., although those are things that can help. Bear in mind though, that your retreat leaders and retreat attendees will very likely be holistic-health oriented folks who care about these things. Consider local and sustainable options and if you don’t cook food at your venue, consider partnering up with a restaurant or food delivery service that embraces these principles.


Legalities, Contracts & Policies Information

I have seen some venues lacking in this area and it could definitely be a weak point for me as a retreat leader looking for venues. When I ask for information from a venue as a potential candidate for my retreat, I expect the venue to have a clear contract for retreat leaders with terms and conditions, and cancellation policy information, etc. This will save you from headaches down the road. You can start with something (revised by your lawyers), that doesn’t need to be perfect at first, and eventually edit and add things as you get to run retreats and gain experience.


The Vibe!

Your vibe as a venue is critical. People (retreat leaders and guests) will opt for your venue because of the vibe and the sense of community you have nurtured. So, a good idea here could be to ask yourself what kind of vibe you would like to bring to your venue, and how can you express that in a way that feels authentic for you. Consider the vibe you want to bring (as a venue owner) and most importantly, your ideal client’s preferred vibe, and see where those two connect.



Marketing Support

Many retreat leaders will be happy to know that you offer marketing support. This might include providing marketing material to promote their retreat at your venue (i.e., high-resolution photos and videos that they can easily access), as well as having a yearly calendar on your website where the retreats happening at the venue are listed. A little bit of social media promo won’t hurt as well, especially considering that at the end of the day, having more attendees to a retreat will be a win-win situation!


Proven Experience

If you are at the start of your journey as a venue owner, it would be impossible to show that you have experience running retreats. So, one thing you can do is to start running test-retreats as beta projects and use those to gain experience, feedback, and reviews from the retreat leaders and the guests. You might want to run those retreats yourself or have someone run them while you focus on logistics and operations. This will give you -as a venue owner- invaluable experience and understanding of what is possible and what is not.


Fam Trips

Consider making things a bit easier for your retreat leaders by offering fam trips and discounted pricing for scout visits. This, in turn, can help you become the preferred option by facilitating the retreat venue choosing process for your retreat leaders. Remember, in the end, the more retreat leaders come to your venue and the more guests they bring, the better for everyone.

I hope this post was helpful. If it was, let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading, and remember this is a mid to long term project, so stay consistent and keep on! You’ve got this!

Manu.


P.S: It’s not a secret that the venue I’ve chosen for my upcoming ZenPreneur Biz Bootcamp is Samahita Retreat.

I truly believe this will be a truly transformative experience, and I chose a venue that matches and supports that transformation. Needless to say, I would be honored to have you join us! 🙏

Samahita Retreat is nestled in the serene beauty of Koh Samui, Thailand, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s more than just a retreat center; it’s a sanctuary for growth, connection, and holistic well-being.

I want you to experience the magic of Samahita Retreat firsthand because I believe it will inspire and empower you on your journey, and who knows, it might become your favorite venue to host your own future retreats!


¡Hola! I’m Manu.

I’m on a mission to help yoga and wellness professionals like YOU elevate their marketing & biz game, so they can navigate the industry fearlessly and achieve sustained growth. Having said that, I don’t like to use manipulative or coercive techniques.

You can learn about my story here.

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