Yoga teachers, it’s no secret: yoga retreats are gaining popularity! According to a 2016 survey conducted by The Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, 62% of American yogis would be interested in attending a yoga retreat in the next year. This is the perfect time to plan your first international yoga retreat in Costa Rica!
Now, in part one of this two-part retreat planning series, we’d like to impart some knowledge on how to make your retreats sell out for you. As yoga teachers, our main goal is to help as many people as we can, but we also want to create profitable businesses. Hosting successful yoga retreats now and throughout our careers is one of the best ways to do both.
How To Fill Your Yoga Retreat In Costa Rica
Know Your Crowd
When planning a successful yoga retreat in Costa Rica, it’s important to know who is going to want to participate. You need to know what kind of group to plan classes for and who will be most likely to prioritize the retreat in their annual budget.
Part of knowing your target audience is being aware of some basic facts about yoga practitioners in general. According to the aforementioned YJ & YA study:
- Yoga’s main attractions are the enjoyment of yoga itself, yoga’s impact on health and yoga as a stress reliever. People are recognizing that yoga is enjoyable and that it can help them feel better overall!
- 74% of yoga practitioners have been practicing for less than 5 years. There are lots of newcomers who are hungry for knowledge!
- Over 70% of practitioners are women, but there are more male and older practitioners than ever before (about 10 million male yogis and almost 14 million over 50; this is up from about 4 million and 4 million, respectively, in 2012). So women are still the main market, but men and older practitioners are the up-and-comers to target as well!
While statistics can be useful, more important is knowing your current students and community. As your students’ primary teacher, you already know what types of yoga they enjoy the most, what poses they’d like to work on, and what limitations they may have for specific sequences or styles of class. If you have a decent amount of regulars and have cultivated relationships with them, you are more likely to fill your yoga retreats in Costa Rica!
Love Your Crowd
66% of yoga practitioners say that the #1 quality they look for in a teacher is that they are warm and friendly. This comes as no surprise! Our goal should be to create a safe and friendly environment for our students to comfortably explore and expand their practice.
You can use this one tiny piece of knowledge as a major advantage when filling your yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Take time to be sensitive to each students’ needs. If you know that they have an interest in the retreat or that they have already booked their spot, be sure to ask them questions about their personal practice and what they experience difficulty with so you can accommodate to their uniqueness on the trip.
Not only will this make people comfier traveling with you and therefore more likely to sign up, but it will create a tailored experience for them that they will sign up for in the future, and definitely tell their friends about!
Choose Your Best Theme
Part of loving your crowd is knowing why they love you. Tapping into their opinions and feedback can be the best thing you do when planning your retreat. Create a powerful curriculum by knowing what your students respond to and what your own personal strengths are.
The following tips can give you useful insight when putting together the content of your trip:
- Get feedback: be open to suggestions for improvement and remember when students respond well to certain aspects of your classes
- Ask students what problems they’re dealing with in their lives or their practice, choose one that speaks to you and think about how you can create a program to solve it
- Send out an email survey: what in yoga and/or meditation do you want to learn more about?
- Reflect upon the questions that you get asked the most by your favorite students then design a retreat around it
- Notice what classes and themes you get the most compliments on: if you’re good at it, go with it!
Picking a theme for your yoga retreat in Costa Rica can be a challenge, but it’s the most important piece of the whole equation.
Pick a Great Location and Stick With It
It might be tempting to try lots of retreat themes and lots of exciting new locations as you start to plan more and more retreats. But many teachers say the old adage is true: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
If you find a great location that fills up your retreat each year, and you’re getting really good at a specific curriculum, then spend time honing those things and banking on their dependability. If people love what you’re offering and know what to expect, they’re more likely to be repeat customers and suggest your yoga retreat in Costa Rica to their friends and family!
Promote Your Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica
In our past posts, we’ve stressed that marketing is important in filling retreats. We hate to be repetitive, but this part is important! Self-promotion makes many of us cringe, especially since it can feel inauthentic to push yourself on people when what you’re trying to do is gently help them along their own path. But people will respond if your message is from the heart and they see that you’re offering something they don’t want to miss out on!
- Use social media to your advantage. Post frequently about your yoga retreat in Costa Rica and specifics of why it will be awesome: the resort, the surrounding area, what classes you’ll offer. Post pictures and videos. Get people talking about and sharing your content. If you’re excited about it, it will shine through your posts. Excitement is contagious!
- Build your following, get to know your students, build community and care. If you show people love, they’ll want to follow you, come to your classes and travel with you!
- Stay in touch, but don’t spam people. Get email addresses from your students so you can stay in touch once a month or so. Consider a newsletter with helpful tips, interesting information, link a cool resource or share something you’ve learned and are excited about.
- Word of mouth is powerful. Talk about your retreat in class. Talk about your retreat at work. Talk about your retreat to friends and family. Talk about your retreat to strangers. Just talk about it!
- Post flyers at your home studios and around town.
- Invite people personally. If you know of a handful of people that would be interested in your yoga retreat in Costa Rica, reach out. Invite them in person, make a phone call, or send them an email.
Love What You Do!
While the money piece of your retreats is important, the most important thing is that you’re delivering your message to help people. When you do that, you have to trust that the rest will follow. The Universe has a way of funneling success to you when you’re living your truth. On top of this is the fact that Americans spent over $16 billion on yoga-related purchases in 2015, so there’s plenty to go around!
Gaining popularity as a teacher and building a solid community is really all about the time and love you put into your students and yourself. Picking a location, planning the content and giving your participants a memorable experience are all very important parts of fully booking your trips.
It can be time-consuming and stressful, but the bottom line is, as long as your message is authentic and you’re pursuing your truth, people will follow you to your yoga retreat in Costa Rica year after year!