Filling spots in classes can be hard and filling all the spots in a yoga retreat can be even harder. A recent discussion on ideas to market a wine & yoga retreat came to light in a Facebook group and some thoughts were shared. Long story short, there is no easy way out unless you want to spend lots of dollars on ads. To make your local wine & yoga retreat successfully full, it involves lots of work, most likely by building a good mailing list over time and strong relationships with multiple partners and vendors.
So here are the top ideas for a more actionable plan:
Create smaller (sample) events
Build a solid mailing list by creating smaller events building up to the retreat. So yoga & wine sessions in local wine bars. Or perhaps setting up a wine-tasting night after yoga. This gives people a sense of what the event is and helps you connect and sell on the experience.
Start attending local themed-events
In this case, to promote a wine and yoga retreat, it’s a good idea to go mingle at some wine events and meet the organizers. These influencers/connectors are great people to know, but they also know your target audience. There are a lot of these going around town. You will probably be impressed by the number of people that would love to try yoga for the first time or would like to deepen their knowledge. Maybe it’s a California thing, but I have never been in a room full of people where nobody does or is interested in yoga.
Build relationships with a secondary network
You are probably building a relationship with your current yoga students already. You probably already told them and their friends about your yoga retreat. So to start reaching more people, you need to broaden your network. I call it a secondary network because it goes beyond who you think first (yogis).
So for example, build a good relationship with the hostesses, bartenders, and servers in wine bars in town to promote the wine & yoga retreat. They talk to lots of people and they are always looking for nice things to chitchat about with customers. It’s hard to come up with conversations all the time, so give them something to talk about.
Find the right brand sponsors
It’s a great idea to find brands that would like to give your guests gifts and giveaways. From sample granola to yoga apparel with discounts, depending on your crowd, local brands are eager to promote their products. Finding brands that hold the same values and are looking for the same target audience can mean a life-long partnership. Not only it creates value for your guests, but it should also not be a problem for these brands to post your event on their social media.
If you can tie a product launch or a product update to your retreat, even more exciting!
Cross-post on social media
Social media reach is hard for everyone. So once you found some good partners and vendors, create a series of cross-posts that can work for everyone.
- The food you will eat at the retreat – engages the food providers/chefs
- How the food is paired with drinks (alcohol or not) – engages the drink providers (wineries/teas/kombucha makers)
- How the events and activities are organized around the location – engages other teachers/guides
Create incentives for referrals
It is always better to travel with friends. So creating a system that rewards referrals is always a great idea. For Olivia Rose (Olivia Rose Yoga) one strategy that has worked well is to reward people with chakra balancing anklets for referring friends. This also keeps a circle of kindness going, where students know their referrals are valuable to the event as a whole.
Tell all the juicy details
You are already planning some amazing stuff. Share it all!
- What is the delicious menu you carefully picked? Share some dishes, tell people you will share the recipe after the retreat.
- Post pictures of the rooms and any cool stuff about it
- If you made any plans to explore around, explain what’s the plan. Is it bird-watching after meditation? Any trails or hikes the group can explore?
- Are you planning on using oils, incenses or sound healing? Share some thoughts on the use of each and the benefits of including them in the retreat.
- For a wine & yoga retreat, what kind of wines will people be trying? What’s unique about the winery? What’s the story behind it?
Share the uniqueness of the location
There is a reason why you picked a certain spot. Weather is peaceful green scenery, has beautiful ocean views or an incredible yoga studio, you must share the excitement of the place you have picked. As this is a getaway, people need to be excited about getting there!
Post lots of content during and after the yoga retreat
It will not improve your attendance in the current event, but it will start selling the next event. Have amazing pictures taken of people having fun, the activities shared, or the dishes had. Use your phone or camera to record these moments carefully.
Heard a great story about how people have connected? Share the details of how your retreat has impacted people’s lives. Maybe they had a breakthrough, maybe they tried amazing wine, maybe they made a friend.
BONUS: ABOUT DISCOUNTS
Create some sense of emergency – to get your first few spots guaranteed fast, you might want to offer a discount in the first 24 or 48 hours. However, do not offer a late discount as it could discourage people that have signed up early from signing up next time around.
Create comfort with group discounts – in certain cases, you have rooms that can be shared and fit more people. If you offer a group discount (for 4 in the same room, for example), it can motivate friends to go together. It makes it easier on introverts and shy people to have friends with them.
If the next step is to use social media to get your word out there, read about how to use each social platform (with yoga examples).