THOUGHTS AND INSPIRATION FROM A RETREAT OWNER :: Part 2
Last week we talked about your intention and qualifying your retreat. These are two good launching points for getting yourself organized and ready to move on to the next steps. Now that you are clear on your bottom line, type of retreat you want to lead and the demographic you will promote to, you can move on to the fun part: location and retreat venue!
Where do you want to go?
There’s a whole world out there filled with all different kinds of retreat facilities - from small, intimate B&B style retreats with personal service, hosting one group at a time - to large resort style locations that cater to multiple groups; there are rustic styles with open air and mosquito nets, and modern styles with A/C and hot tubs and everything in between. What suits your group best and what type of atmosphere appeals to you most? Also, consider location. Are you keeping it local or do you want to venture abroad? If international, check travel policies; visas, vaccines, etc. A word of advice, if you are looking to venture a bit off the beaten track, say for instance, to a place like Costa Rica - consider your guests: are they afraid of bugs? Spiders? Lizards? You don’t have to beat them with the details, but simply remind them that they ARE venturing into an exotic location and all that it brings: weather/hot; bugs/sometimes many; roads/can be bad, etc. Once you’ve decided on a location, narrow it down to a few, comparable retreat facilities and ask LOTS of questions. This is where a good idea can potentially go bad. Communication is key. DO NOT ASSUME anything. Here are a few things to consider:
Total occupancy capacity. Do you need several single accommodations or will most of your participants be in shared rooms - double vs triple, etc.?
Pricing: how is it structured and what is included (meals, tax, transportation, etc)
Room types: how many beds per room, are the accommodations all the same or different? Private or shared baths?
Accessibility: (some locations are quite remote and you may find yourself doing the “planes, trains & automobiles” gig.) Ask specifically about travel modes and distance from the airport.
Transportation: who will be arranging this? If the facility is arranging the group transportation, get clear instructions from them and make sure your group is informed. Airports can be confusing and chaotic, and travelers can be tired and anxious from a long journey to a foreign country - to avoid confusion, the group should be clear on who to look for and/or where to meet upon arrival.
Meals: What kind of menu are you looking for? Most retreats are sensitive to vegetarians today, but will your group need special modifications? If so, make sure the retreat facility can accommodate. (You may have a more difficult time coordinating this with larger resorts).
What kind of activities are offered, on-site and off. If off-site, ask about the travel times to/from excursions.
Bodywork/massage/healing therapies? Will your group be indulging? Most do. Perhaps you would to offer your participants a massage as part of the package. If so, ask about a group rate.
How is the facility set up? Is it contained or spread out with lots of walking to/from the practice space, rooms, dining area, lounge? Are there hills? Lots of stairs? I’ve had several guests tell me how they appreciate the layout of our space, without having to traverse the acreage to get from one spot to another. Are you looking for a wide-open yonder where people can wander or a space that keeps your group together? Again, this will most-likely depend on the nature of your program, so feel free to check back next week when we will be addressing: Your Program Theme and Schedule.
Until then, Peace&PuraVida!
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