keys to a successful retreat
Keys to a Successful Retreat

A successful retreat is dependent on a variety of factors – so many in fact that getting control over them all can seem a little like herding cats.  When planning a retreat that is open to individual registration there are a few keys that will help you stay sane and focused. The first are keys to property selection.  It is important to know where you’d like to host the retreat along with the right time of the year. This will help you know what your pitfalls are during the summer or cold seasons and can go a long way toward ensuring a successful retreat.

Timing of Your Retreat

Retreats held during the summer month’s book faster, therefore, it’s important to plan ahead. Retreats held during the winter months could be impacted by inclement weather depending on where you live. In that case, having an alternate date and a list of close-in emergency locations make sense during winter month planning.

Retreat Location

Decide how far away from home you would like the retreat to be held. The general rule-of-thumb is one hour for every night away – not much further.  Whatever your choice, the right scenery is also important if you are to have a successful retreat. For example, a wellness retreat should have a relaxing feel to it, surrounded by lots of trees or other natural aesthetics to enhance the experience for your group.  

You also need to think about whether or not you will provide transportation for your group. This is a big expense and a huge challenge, so make sure you give the group travel time for the stragglers. Deciding how long the retreat will be includes how much people can afford as well as the overall goal you want to achieve. Overall, a well-organized retreat will leave your group coming back for more. 

Retreat Amenities

Knowing the individuals in your group is an asset to the planning process such as, would your group prefer a cabin style stay where it’s more of a do-it-yourself (DIY) environment or a conference type setting. The wrong location will destroy participation the second time around.  A location where all meals are included, more amenities are offered and the rooms are designed in a hotel type setting is the best option for bringing a group together and can go a long way toward ensuring your retreat is successful. 

It takes great planning and organizational skills to hold a successful retreat. Here are a few things you’ll want to do: 

  • Get a commitment from your group members and set up a payment plan.
  • Set a date for the down payment, refund policy and last payment due-by-date.
  • Set some ground rules without being too extreme. Inform all members of the do’s and don’ts while on the retreat. Present them with a bit if humor and they will not rebel.
  • Make a list of items they need to bring.
  • Stay on task as the group leader. Others are depending on you to stay organized and deliver. They’ve invested in the retreat and have expectations and outcomes.
  • Include an opening and closing ceremony.
  • Follow up with a thank you letter, survey and registration for next time upon completion. You can do that on the last day if you’re short on time. Stay focused on great customer service and customer concerns while on the retreat. 
  • Have an open door policy so people can come to you any time with concerns but not so open that you do nothing other than trouble-shoot.
  • Keep an over-the-top positive attitude. 

Attention to these details during the planning process can go a long way toward ensuring a successful retreat, and will deliver  rewards for the host and the customer. I hope your next retreat turns out great! 

Written by Brenda Pitts
Founder The Chi Center for Wellness
The “Chi Center for Wellness” is located in Northern New Jersey. Chi Center for Wellness offers group classes in meditation and Chinese healing exercises. It has a focus on wellness for women and offers healing retreats two times per year. also offers workshops in helping women get into full alignment with their purpose in life. Visit to learn more.

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