This is an article from a “Organising a Wellness Retreat” series.
So, you’ve got a great idea for a wellness retreat, or you have a luxurious, boutique hotel that you know would make the ideal yoga getaway, but how do you market your product as a retreat so that customers can find you as their healing haven of choice? What things are retreat-goers looking for? Where should you reach them? And what marketing platforms are available to help you connect your retreat with the perfect customers? Read on to discover our top tips for marketing retreats online to both a wide and discerning audience.
What Are Retreats?
Retreats are essentially stays that allow you to remove yourself from the activities of daily life so that you can recharge your batteries, find peace and perspective, realign with your personal goals and values, and find new skills and connections that will help improve your overall wellbeing.
Retreats can come in all shapes and sizes, from simple day-long digital detoxes that allow you to switch off from the buzz of your devices, to full-blown month-long getaways that help you work through past traumas and completely reset your life.
How Do Retreats Work?
Different retreat organisers choose to create retreats in different ways, depending on the tools and connections they have available to them. It may be that the USP of the retreat is the yoga teacher or healer who is renowned in their field, or it might be that the location is stunning and is the main attraction.
Some choose to create retreats that include food, accommodation, transfers and all activities that customers can purchase as a package, while others simply offer accommodation with add-on options for organic food, additional massages and a choice of yoga sessions.
Most retreat-goers want to have a peaceful getaway from the stress of daily life and want something to help them relax and rejuvenate, so a package option is usually best as this allows everything to be paid up-front and for guests to fully unwind when they arrive.
9 Top Marketing Strategies Every Retreat Centre Should Use
It can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to marketing a retreat as over the past decade or so it has become a highly saturated market. It is therefore important to use these marketing strategies to stand out against the crowd.
First, you’ll want to find your niche and ensure you have a clear understanding of the intention and idea of the retreat, and then you’ll want to experiment with marketing tools to see which work best for you.
Balance SEO Keywords and Authentic Descriptions
We make an assumption that you already have a website. In order to attract the right people for the right terms, you would need a landing page for the retreat you are organising. A retreat landing page is like a product page- this is where you will include all information about the accommodation, the treatment, food arrangements, location etc. Of course, it would be ideal if every customer came to your website through organic searches but to do so you need to focus on the content you are putting out there. Search engines use keywords to decipher whether your content is relevant, but your readers are also human and they don’t want to read web content that sounds like it has been written by a computer. Therefore, balancing the use of SEO keywords and authentic descriptions is essential.
Think about the highlights of your retreat and what makes it different to other offerings available and then use your content to really sell it. Rather than bland descriptions of the inclusions and exclusions, add colour and character to your information.
4 days accommodation
Spend four days staying in a tranquil Tuscan villa with a freshwater pool and a space for peaceful rooftop yoga sessions
Which retreat would you rather?
Email List & Newsletter
Email newsletter is one of the best ways to market retreats as it puts your content directly in front of your customer. While people tend to dip in and out of social media, pretty much everyone checks their email on a daily basis. It is therefore crucial that you spend time on building your mailing list as well as sending out content that is authentic and inspiring.
Your newsletter can also be a useful tool for telling people about special deals you have available such as Early Bird discounts, giving your potential customers all the details they need about your product without being restricted to a short social media wordcount.
Rather than solely putting up posts that market your retreat, try to use your social media platform as a space to share what it’s really like to experience one of your retreats. Use a variety of types of content, not only including images and videos of the retreat but also personal sharings, educational posts and inspirational content that is in line with your values. Rather than focusing on your social media marketing as a sales pitch, think of it as a space to share your authentic, vulnerable self. People will choose a retreat that they feel speaks to them, so you need to connect on a human level in addition to giving your possible clients details and data.
Networking doesn’t have to mean sales-y drinks meetings and conferences, it just refers to connecting with people who have shared ideas about growth, products and skills. You can use social media platforms to network; joining groups where you feel you can offer or learn something.
Alternatively, you can opt for more traditional networking channels in which to market your retreat such as travel shows and wellness expos. The key when it comes to networking is communication. As long as you can authentically and effectively communicate and engage with your audience (both retreat marketing professionals and potential clients) and you have a well-curated product that people want, then you’ll be onto a winner!
If you are a yoga teacher or healer then the marketing side of hosting a retreat may not come naturally to you and you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of selling yourself. However, you need to let go of the idea of sales as you might know it.
Marketing yourself and your retreat starts with being open and honest as well as having confidence in your retreat and the service you hope to provide. Students are at your yoga class or centre because they trust in your professional experience, like your style and enjoy practicing in the environment you have created. If these are things that you are going to continue in a retreat setting then there should be no reason your students wouldn’t enjoy it!
Start by mentioning your upcoming retreat at the end of a class, and put posters or flyers up around the studio. This way you are contacting an audience with whom you already have a shared passion and interest.
Me Time Away Platform
When you’re ready to step up your retreat marketing and reach a wider audience, you may want to consider using a wellness retreat platform. Me Time Away – which launches in 2021 – is a platform which collates the very best in luxury retreats to make the experience of selling and booking a retreat streamlined and simple.
Rather than having to scour the web in search of a retreat that suits your style, you can explore our hand-picked collection, filtering by destination, style or budget. Me Time Away displays retreats in such a way that the customer will not only discover the important details about the programme but also feel inspired and engaged.
Once you have hosted your first retreat it is important to collect first-hand testimonials and reviews from your clients. Not only do testimonials help you learn what clients loved about your retreats and also where you can improve, but they also work wonders as a marketing tool. Personal reviews are one of the things that help sway potential customers as they are unbiased and honest.
In addition to beautiful, descriptive content, clients want to hear from people who have experienced your retreat themselves. This adds trust and authenticity which can be the difference between being interest in a retreat and actually booking it.
You therefore shouldn’t worry too much if your first retreat only has a few clients as this will build over time when you put the testimonials into action.
While paid adverts in glossy magazines or newspapers don’t always generate much interest, credible content from one of these high-regarded media outlets can have a huge positive impact on your retreat sales. This may mean that you need to offer a free place to a journalist on one of your first retreats or pitch your retreat to various magazines and newspapers when they are featuring round-ups that relate to your product. Receiving a mention in something like The Guardian, The Telegraph Huffington Post of The New York Times is a great way to gain credibility and in turn, generate sales.
And lastly, the old faithful TripAdvisor is a great marketing tool for getting your retreat out there. Of course, you’ll need to have clients coming to your retreat or property in order to write the reviews, but once they do, the technological version of word-of-mouth will work its magic.
It’s important that you ask guests to write a review for you (as they’re much more likely to forget when they’ve left the retreat bubble) so it might be worth offering an incentive such as a free juice or coconut once they’ve written a TripAdvisor or Facebook review.
We here at Me Time Away want to help connect retreat providers with an enthusiastic audience to help as many people as possible reap the benefits of calming retreats, peaceful locations and experienced healing professionals that can really help to change lives.
Hopefully these tools and strategies will help you market your retreat so you can start gaining traction and filling retreats that will improve people’s overall happiness and wellbeing!