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Planning a Fitness Retreat

Planning a Fitness Retreat

Previously, Staci Alden shared why your health club should consider offering fitness retreats. Here, Alden shares essential steps for planning a fitness retreat.

I previously shared why running a fitness retreat can benefit your facility and some retreat ideas. Thinking about giving it a try this year? Here are some essential steps and questions to begin planning for the retreat.


Visualize and develop a description of the overall retreat experience you’d like to provide. How would you describe the experience? Luxurious or rustic? What will the energy of the retreat feel like? Will it be calming or energetic? Will families be allowed or is this retreat for adults only? Having answers to these questions early on will set the right expectations and help you determine the audience you’re aiming to attract, their expectations and the price they are willing to pay.

Set Goals

After costs, how much would your club like to earn from the retreat? If member retention and exposure are satisfying enough for return on investment, then it’s OK to make the goal of breaking even. Another question to ask in the beginning stages of planning is the max amount you want to aim to charge participants. What is the lowest number of participants to help you reach these goals? Knowing these goals will help you determine the answers for the rest of the decisions you need to make as you continue planning the details of your retreat.


You will need to decide the region and the lodging location you’d like the retreat to happen. How far are you willing to travel and possibly ship equipment and supplies? There are a lot of options for lodging. You can offer accommodations as simple as a camping spot or yurt to a more elaborate hotel room or vacation rental. 


What time of year would you like to host the retreat? Aim to choose a time when weather is more predictable for travel and possibly outdoor excursions, but you’ll also want to avoid prime vacation time when prices are highest. 

How long will the retreat be? Since you’ve determined the location and have an idea of the max price you’d like to charge – whether you cover the cost of lodging or not – the length of your stay will significantly affect the cost for you as the host and the participants.


Aim to choose instructors who are reliable, positive and adaptable. When it comes to compensation, it’s possible to pay them for a daily rate rather than per class and cover their travel, lodging and food, with a daily budget. Would anyone on your team be willing to offer their assistance in other ways to attend the retreat for free? 

Determine What’s Included

Now that you’ve determined where you’d like to go, how long and who will be teaching, it’s time to decide the total price (travel, lodging, food). Travel can vary depending on vehicles and flights, so it’s not very common for a retreat price to include travel. Since it should be easy to secure a lower-cost group rate for lodging, you can offer the group rate as you work with the location and give participants the option to upgrade if they are willing to pay. As for food, it’s possible to offer snacks in the workshops and classes and offer one-to-two meals per day. Breakfast and lunch may be the most reasonably priced.

Learn More: The 2022 Club Solutions Leadership Retreat

While organizing, marketing and running a retreat can be beneficial and fun, it is not easy. Remember it’s perfectly fine to start small if you are planning your first fitness retreat. With each retreat, you’ll learn new lessons to improve your process and the guest experience. I hope the above considerations and steps will help guide you through the process of developing an unforgettable retreat experience.

Stay tuned next month to learn how to save money while planning a fitness retreat, and retreat marketing strategies.

Staci Alden

Staci is committed to helping group fitness managers elevate their programs, instructors and leadership skills through consulting, writing, presenting and her YouTube channel. For over a decade she has overseen a team of over 100 private Pilates and group fitness instructors at a luxury health club in Seattle, Washington. Get in touch with Staci through stacialden.com, Facebook, Instagram or connect on LinkedIn.

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