How to Plan Your First Coaching Retreat & the Three Types of Business Models

how to plan a retreat

Have you ever dreamed of traveling for work, have people pay for your travel or provide others with a transformative experience in an incredible location? Retreats are needed now more than ever to help people to slow down, relax and enjoy life. Whether you're a wellness coach, meditation & spiritual guru, health coach, entrepreneur, or yoga instructor; planning a retreat can diversify your income streams and benefit your business. It can also reduce stress, eliminate tunnel vision from everyday work, give your customers valuable and give your clients tax-deductible business training. Most people leave retreats with lasting impacts and relationships. Learn how to plan your first coaching retreat and which of the three types of business models will work best for you. To start, we need to get clear on the type of retreat you want to create and why.

Define Your Mission

Your mission is why you are creating this opportunity, what it will provide for your customer, and how you will create that experience for them. Ask yourself, Why are you doing this? What are your passions? What do you want out of this? What places make you feel most alive? What places are on your bucket list? What place would you like to return to?

Clarify the Type / Theme of the Retreat

What is the theme of your event? Is it to create a mind, body, and soul wellness retreat? Are you looking to bring together women who need business expertise and support? Is it a pampering spa like retreat, a couples retreat or an adventure and exploration retreat?

You most likely have a lot of ideas but narrowing in on one to start is a great plan to ensure focus, reaching your target customer and success. Brainstorm your retreat vision, ask yourself, “what does it all look like?”

Identify Your Target Market

In order to sell to the right people, you need to get really clear on who your audience is and what they want from you.

You will want to first understand the price point and the type of client you are looking to attract, what their disposable income looks like and what results are they looking for in a retreat.

Then you will want to get clear on their pain points. You’ve identified the target audience and the objective or theme of the retreat, now why is it important to your customer? What problem and/ or pain are they in and how will this trip solve their issue?

Explore & Solidify Collaborations for your Retreat

When planning your retreat, you will want to tap into your resources as much as possible. Using your social networks, people you know, email list and referral partners you will want to brainstorm how you can leverage others to make this retreat the best possible experience for your customers at a reasonable rate.

  • Who can you work with to plan this?
  • Who can provide services for this retreat?
  • Do you know anyone who owns an Airbnb or a timeshare?
  • Who can provide services for this retreat?
  • Do you know anyone who can give you discounts?

Clarify Retreat Outcomes

In order to ensure that your clients have the best possible experience, you will want to identify the outcomes for your clients and what they can expect for deliverables.

You will also want to identify what your business deliverables will be for the trip. By creating goals you will more easily be able to sell this retreat, set expectations for your clients and be able to measure more appropriately.

What is the direct result you are creating for your client?

Additional Considerations:

  • Off-season usually costs less, but the weather may not be perfect. When is the off-season for your potential locations?
  • The high season is when the weather is best in a location, but prices and crowds are jacked up accordingly. When is the high season for your potential locations?
  • Shoulder season is usually the perfect middle ground for timing your retreat. However, depending on your client base, they may not be able to get away from work or school. When is shoulder season in your potential locations?
  • Hot locations may alleviate some of the marketing pressures, however, they tend to come with a bigger price point. It may be good to think of places that are well known but not big-ticket locations. Hot locations may be better for future retreats instead of beginning retreats.

Planning where to stay is one of the most key components of your retreat, sometimes it will be the reason people will or will not commit to the trip. It is important to do your research! Below, I have listed the 3 types of retreat business models and it will be up to you to decide which is best for you.

how to price your retreat

Types of Retreat Planning Business Models

1. Vacation Rentals

Vacation Rentals are online marketplaces for lodging, primarily homestays for vacation rentals, and tourism activities. VRBO and Airbnbs are the most commonly referred to styles of Vacation Rentals in the online marketplace. They typically rent out for a week or weekend, while also providing the option for longer stays too. Vacation Rentals are easily located all over the U.S. and other countries outside of the U.S. This provides ease in finding a location anywhere but also finding the location that fits you best.

2. All-inclusive

All-inclusive resorts are holiday resorts that include at a minimum lodging, three meals daily, soft drinks, most alcoholic drinks, gratuities, activities and possibly other services in the price. This can come with a heavier price tag, but everything is taken care of for you. This provides less stress in the planning of the actual event itself. All-inclusives are more common than in tropical locations and cannot be found everywhere.

3. Retreat Center

Retreat Centers can typically host individual, couple and small group retreats. They can host self-directed and directed retreats as well as workshops led by retreat leaders. They often also offer their own retreats and programs.

This may come with another heavier price tag, depending on the type of retreat center and what they are offering. However, the benefits are shown in having activities planned out. Retreat Centers may be harder to find and only in select locations.

How to choose which type of retreat plan is right for you?

Now you might be thinking, how do I choose which one will fit my business and my style

This depends on your business, what you’re really looking for, and your budget. You’ll really have to sit down with yourself about and determine what is best for you and your business.

Vacation Rental

Choosing a vacation rental may be better if you have specific timelines. It’s also better if you are trying to completely plan your own retreat full of entertainment, food, and different activities for your group. It gives you flexibility in pricing and sometimes can be the cheapest option for you.


All inclusives may be better for you if you are not wanting to worry about all the details of finding places to eat, entertainment, and different activities for you or your group. This may be a less stressful environment and a great option for your first time planning a retreat. This is more expensive than vacation rentals, not on your dime, but maybe because your clients will be booking their own lodging it actually is an affordable option.

Retreat Center

Retreat centers may be better if you are looking for either an escape into nature and want a structured plan to follow set by the retreat center or you want more structure by professionals. This could be one of the most expensive options, depending on what exactly you are looking for and where it is located, but provide convenience and an exclusive feel.

Final Thoughts

The next step is finding different options in the locations of your choosing and really mapping out your budget and deliverables. Ready to create a budget and price out your retreat? Download your Retreat Pricing Guide for just $7 to plan out the exact steps you need to consider when it comes to budgeting and what to expect relative to pricing and next steps.

retreat pricing guide

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