When it comes to creating a successful wellness retreat, timing is everything. “It’s challenging to find the perfect time of the year to suit all audiences,” says BYoga’s Anna Chung. “You’re competing with holidays, spring breaks, kids’ sports and competitions, and well, life.” According to Mind Body Spirit Network’s Sallie Fraenkel, even with an ideal location and enticing programming elements, if the dates don’t work, you’re going to have a problem.
Aside from nailing the timing, it's important to remember you’re competing with wellness offerings at home. “Today’s retreat-goers are incredibly wellness savvy,” says Melisse Gelula, cofounder of Well+Good. “Many live in places where they have access to creative healthy restaurants and juice bars, world-class boutique fitness workouts, plus services like Zeel, drop-in meditation studios, no-appointment needed acupuncture, and facial bars. Providing next-level wellness experiences on top of what people already have access to and expect is where we focus our energies for Well+Good Retreats.”
Chung also cites a more personal challenge. “I am not there to ‘fix’ people but to remind them that light will always prevail,” she says. “To encourage people to shed the fears of the future, to let go of being locked up in the past, so that they don’t rob themselves of the present. This is the biggest challenge, but it’s also the greatest gift.”
Curious as to what people are gravitating toward these days? According to Yoga Revealed’s Andrew Sealy, it’s meditation and breathwork. “From full on breathwork retreats with incredible thought leaders like Wim Hof to deep meditation retreats in the mountains of Peru, it’s all out there if you are open to opening your mind and heart to a new experience of healing,” says Sealy.
Gelula is also seeing many retreats focused on group meditation, yoga, and even self-care. According to Global Tribe Retreats’s Tom Morley, there is a shift happening in the travel industry towards mental and physical wellness.
“For example, people are wanting to learn and incorporate meditation and other stress-reducing techniques, alongside spa treatments, yoga, and general fitness, into their lives,” says Morley. “Whereas a few years ago, one might go on a wellness retreat to detox or lose weight, now we’re detoxing our minds as well as our bodies. It’s so powerful to be able to shut off from the daily grind when we travel, because it allows us to truly transform the way we see the world when we return.”