Yoga Teachers: How to Maximize Your Profits from Yoga Retreats [Pro-Tips]
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Yoga retreats can be a profitable way to earn side-income for seasoned teachers while creating unforgettable experiences for your students.
Here, I will share some insights that will help you maximize your earnings from your retreats and avoid the common financial pitfalls.
So, you’ve been teaching yoga for a few years, you’ve built up a nice following and are looking for additional ways to make money teaching yoga.
In addition to teaching regular classes, hosting yoga retreats is a great way to support your teaching income while deepening your connection with your students.
From my experience creating yoga retreats at East+West, a properly managed program can earn teachers as much as $20,000-$30,000 for a single week!
However, I often see beginner yoga teachers making a variety of mistakes that prevent them from maximizing their earnings.
For starters, it’s very common not to know how much to charge, how to find a resort, or how to manage your finances. Furthermore, a lack of financial knowledge also prevents new organizers from maximizing the quality of their events.
Basic financial knowledge not only allows you to make more but also allows you to get a higher quality resort and create a better experience for everyone.
Getting a good handle on the money isn’t necessarily about making the most for yourself, it’s about ensuring that your students will have the best possible experience for what they paid.
Check out these important financial aspects of creating a quality retreat and learn to maximize your earnings!
Find a venue with reasonable prices
It usually goes like this: you see some pictures of a stunning resort in an exotic location, you fall in love and decide that you absolutely have to hold your retreat there without truly considering the cost.
The price of retreat centers varies drastically. I have seen resorts with similar quality that vary in price from $27 a night to $140 a night! This makes it absolutely essential that you do your research. I highly recommend making a spreadsheet of all the resorts in the location you are searching.
While a $20 difference per person per night might not sound like a big difference, if you sell out a 7-night yoga retreat with 25 people, that’s a $3,500 difference in your profits for a single week!
Higher prices don’t necessarily mean better service and accommodation. I have found almost every major retreat destination has at least one center that is the perfect combination of quality and affordability. The extra work you put in into researching will always pay off.
*Pro-tip: Find retreat centers that offer shared rooms, with food for under $75 a night per person. This is very, very doable. That means your costs per person will be around $560 for the week. That will give you plenty of room to lower your prices down the line if you need to sell some extra spots.
Charge more than you are comfortable charging
Retreat organizers rarely know what is an appropriate amount to charge for their events. Often times, leaders set a price considering what they or their close friends would pay.
Not everyone will be your guest, and you don’t need them to be. While there are plenty of affordable yoga holidays, retreats are generally for a higher-end client who wants a luxury getaway.
Time and time again, I find retreat leaders are surprised at how willing their students are to shell out $2,000 or $2,500 for a week in paradise. This may sound like a lot to you, but there are plenty of people out there who are paying this anyway for all-inclusive vacations in Mexico.
*Pro-tip: Never charge less than $1,500 for a 7- night retreat. If you have to go less than this, your quality will likely have to be compromised somewhere, which ultimately will only hurt your event. It also gives you room to lower the price later on if needed.
Offer early bird pricing
I recommend offering at least $200 off for people who book 5-6 months in advance of the start date. The moment you announce your retreat in your class, you will likely have a ton of students who are “interested” in attending. One of the biggest challenges is moving these “interested” students into actual sign-ups.
Creating urgency by offering early bird pricing is the best way I have found to do this. It gives people a hard date to make a decision.
*Pro-tip: You can also extend your early bird price date another month or two, allowing you to continue to create urgency for those who have yet to inquire.
Send out feelers before you book a resort to reduce your financial risk
Holding a retreat usually requires you to put down a minimum 20% deposit to reserve a space. This can often amount to $5,000 or more, a sizable financial risk, especially if this is your first time.
There’s an easy way to get around this. Have all the teachers and facilitators involved email and put social media posts out asking people “would you be interested in a retreat in this location?” More than likely, you’ll get a few interested which will give you more assurance that you’ll have your first few customers.
It’s even possible to get people to put deposits down before you even book a space. This way, you make sure you have at least 3-4 people who are willing to pay up-front before booking anything. This covers the deposit and lowers your financial risk.
*Pro tip: Offer a $200 discount for the first few sign-ups for paying up front, which could cover your deposit for the resort.
5 List your event on all the major listing sites
List all your retreats on websites like BookYogaRetreats.com. It’s free to list and is free exposure for your event. You would just have to pay a commission on every participant booked.
Many teachers are often hesitant to pay the commission, but I strongly disagree with that approach. Unless you have been teaching for 20 years and are certain your event will sell out, it makes financial sense for you to pay marketing sites even up to $500 per customer they send you. If you are making $1000, and they are making $500, what’s the harm? This is a customer you otherwise would likely have never had come to your event.
*Pro-tip: Ask the resort you are hosting at to list your event on their website. This will not only give you free exposure, but the quality link will also boost your SEO ranking for your website.
Collect all payments 30 days before the event
You’ll likely have to pay off the costs of your resort by the time you arrive, potentially making a difficult cash-flow situation if you have not collected all the money from participants.
After participants sign-up, make sure they know the full cost of the retreat must be paid off in full at least 30 days before the start date. I highly suggest being firm with this, as it can create significant problems if you have half your students waiting to pay on the last day.
*Pro tip: do not accept cash payments on site. This creates a hassle for everyone and can create difficult situations if someone has money stolen or lost, which can easily happen. Instead, set up an online payment method for people to pay online via credit card.
Finally, a little math…
Finally, if you are charging $1,500 for your retreat, and you find a resort that is below $75 per person all-inclusive for costs to you, and you find 20 people, you’ll make about $1,000 per person, or $20,000. Not bad for a week’s work!
If you’d like to check out a step-by-step guide on how you can organize your very own yoga retreat, be sure to check this infographic.
Looking to get certified so you can hold your very own yoga retreat? Book your spot on a yoga alliance certified teacher training today!