3 Tips to Create Retreats & Experiences Feature with Jen of We Travel
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Jen Corley is the Director of Development for We Travel, which is a registration and payment platform for retreats.
Not only that, but she is an incredible life Mom within the last year, and today is her son's first Halloween and the costume she's been sharing is amazing.
She is multi-passionate, a wife, a mom, and a Development Director at We Travel since the beginning of the start-up. She graduated from both Harvard University and Stanford, receiving her Bachelor's from Harvard and her Masters from Stanford.
Her incredible experiences range from investment firms to yoga alliances, and now being at we travel for several years. We are talking about three tips on creating retreats and experiences in today's episode. Super excited to share from Jen's episode on the podcast.
Jen's Story Highlights from Early Years Harvard & Stanford Experiences Yoga Teacher Training Private Equity Firm Experience Leaps of Faith to Graduate School Living in Morocco
We Travel Highlights
I found we travel which kind of combined my love of travel of yoga. I think that last count we are 34 people, but it's 17 different nationalities, 14 different languages booked on the team, and we've lived in 31 countries.
So it just really seemed like the right place for me to land professionally that would allow me to sort of combining my background, skills with everything that spoke to me in terms of my passions and interests.
I joined in 2016 when we were really small and things have just exploded since then. It's been like a crazy wild ride but lots of fun."
8:40 time stamp on episode Insights into early influences and childhood "I love travel from when I was young, particular was interested in the Middle East. I had a really good friend growing up, who is her parents emigrated from Iran. I had early exposure to Persian language, and later Arabic.
I always had this like wanderlust and this like, want to explore the unknown, and to learn about other cultures intimately. That all was present from a young age as well. And so I think it just took in adulthood. Think it was really like there was a moment when I was leaving the job at the private equity firm.
"My parents, some of my friends were like, what are you doing? This is crazy. "
Highlights about the Founder and CEO of We Travel.
He started the company he was working for he worked for Doctors Without Borders. He worked actually for the Red Cross in Tajikistan.
He was making sure like prisoner conditions were okay. He had off periods while he was there including organizing trips into Tajikistan and other places in like Central Asia and Silk Road.
He had his own experiences of wanting to start a company that would solve kind of some of the pain points around group travel. The seed of an idea was born that it would be amazing to start a company that solved a lot of these pain points for group travel like logistics to help focus on the experience.
So he founded We Travel, with our other two co-founders, one is from Switzerland, and the other two are from Indonesia and Azerbaijan. So that was, you take that as sort of the foundation of the company.
Jen shares Insights into recent group retreats in Portugal with the team and activities.
15:44 Jen on being Director of Development with We Travel
I focus a lot on education-based marketing, so producing useful content that people can learn from.
This is to position our company as kind of a thought leader in the space and to help people out. Day to day basis, that means that I'm working with retreat hosts that are building businesses.
It celebrates a kind of innovation and the ability to do new things, quarter to quarter.
My job has changed a lot in three years. We are focused on helpful content. And, you know, and helping people build their businesses in that way. "
Three Tips on Creating Retreats
1 Theme of Creating Retreats
We talk about theme types, aligned ideas, and communities.
It's important to meditate on that journal on it, get clear about what it is that's as a retreat leader and organizer, or what you want as a retreat goer. Where could you shift and change but just get keeping your audience in mind?
And similarly for retreat goers, I mean, this is a two-way conversation, right? If you have a teacher or a coach or a mentor in your life that does retreats, and you know, you know them you have a personal relationship with them.
I think that's, that's great to join on that basis, but also really making sure what are your options? What are your expectations, making sure that you, you know, find the retreat experience that's going to speak to you whether that's educational, experiential, really travel-focused, service-focused, whatever it might be just making sure that you're not easy to like Google yoga retreat Costa Rica.
2 Pricing Retreats We talk about things to think about before, during and after the retreat. We cover pricing ideas for national & international retreats, as well as ways to generate income and reduce expenses during and after retreats.
Some highlights include: $997 ideas for national $3000+ international Including toolkits Collaborations & Press
Factors that go into pricing: Venue Transportation Food Tours Press Insurance Visas Service
Retreat Attendee Side Highlights of retreats and what is typically included and what usually isn't (your airfare).
Determining what type of retreat you want and what you are willing to invest in? We discuss location options, types of retreats to consider, and details to pay attention to.
3 Marketing Your Retreats How do I connect with my community? How do I connect with my tribe? Where do I find them? What do I do? So let's talk Jen about being strategic about marketing.
There is often a lot of fear tied up in selling enough spots for your retreat. I think setting real realistic expectations around what you can expect from online marketing.
There are in-person personal connections that you've made with people and maybe the seeds for those replanted online as well like it, you can definitely utilize a dual-pronged strategy but knowing for you and for what your level or kind of engagement is.
We dive deeper into money mindset, things to think about with first-time retreat leaders, and examples to consider for marketing.
Katrina on Creating & Launching Retreats I love what you talked about so many different things that I got from that. What I got the most from your insight is making sure you are sharing about your retreats.
What I learned from creating retreats with FIT Life Creation since 2016, is if you won't talk about you and you won't talk about your company, there's a very good chance that you're not going to get the minimums and or sell out.
You get to believe in what you are offering more than anyone. I love the personal relationships and creating them. I love to create word of mouth online as well as via content creation, and influencer marketing.
Some examples include this podcast sharing about our retreats coming up in Atlanta, San Antonio and Brazil, as well as Instagram stories and videos, connecting over 10,000 people in the last four years with influencer marketing.
I decided to do word of mouth in the online space. I was willing to learn and get uncomfortable no different than getting degrees or walking through Corporate America.
To start, Facebook ads didn't resonate. I look at them as a scaling mechanism from the word of mouth from testimonials etc. I love to provide value upfront to create a community. In addition, analyzing data as you go.
For example, we've kept track of influencer marketing data getting to 2500% ROI last year on earned media. I knew the next step was reach and conversions. This year, we've gotten to >300MM in reach via influencer marketing platforms.
Marketing Cycles We share on customer avatars to keep in mind like Type A Angela (immediate action), Frank the Follower (usually waits until Angie takes action), and Polly Procrastinator (maybe months or years before she takes action or something moves her.
We Travel Mission & Vision Registration & Payment Processing Platform to help Retreat Leaders avoid awkward money conversations and disorganization. Retreat Goers see organization and professionalism of platform so feel safe.
We talk more about retreat diversity, platform, and logistics on the episode.
Jen with We Travel Amy Hanson, who does like sacred expression yoga and writing retreats. I stand up paddleboard and yoga. It's amazing what people are creating!
It's cool for me because I see all of these people like they have dreams and visions, and then they're able to manifest.
Katrina's Reflections Exactly. You know, and I love that you talked about, like, for me, I love tools. I love technology. I love to learn or play in it or do the analytics.
So when I find something like We Travel, it's like, oh, this is amazing. This is solving a problem. This is making it simple. This is making it easy. I didn't have to create it. So leveraging tools, leveraging technology. And this isn't something that we're naturally taught at school.
So that's something that I want to remind people, like, look for innovative ways and shift your mindset. I love how you talked about manifesting it.
Jen with We Travel Highlights Yeah, well, there's a company out there that has been a client of ours, Soul Seed Retreats.
It's been cool to see how they've been able to grow their business a ton from doing you know, a handful of retreats every year. They've grown in several ways.
So from early days, but they, you know, they in parallel with us, like, they've been putting out a lot of content, they've gotten some great press.
I touched on a few of those, but also just seeing businesses being able to kind of grow and be successful and create financial abundance for the founders.
We care deeply about wonderful transformative experiences. We also care deeply about supporting people that are building businesses and entrepreneurs that are taking risks and helping them succeed and grow.
That's, that's definitely like personally really fulfilling to see the success stories and people that have been able to build cool differentiated brands from kind of the ground up.
I love that part of my job.
Katrina on Retreat Leadership & Entrepreneurship It takes a different breed. There's a transformational process within entrepreneurship itself.
With retreats specifically, we've been hosting a couple retreats a year. My goal and vision are to enhance them to grow the event size, leveraging from the retreats.
It's to have co leaders and leaders because this isn't in any way shape or form just for me. Yeah, so I love that you've touched on that.
Figuring Out Your Themes, Pricing and Marketing for Retreats
Whether you are a retreat leader or retreat goer, figure out what your next step is. Honor where you are right now at this moment. Celebrate your progress. Challenge yourself to take the next step for your transformational growth.
If you are a retreat leader (or want to be), figure out your theme, pricing and marketing steps to take. If you love to travel and you are ready to create with a retreat, what type of retreat would you love to attend?
How will you create next? If you post on social media, please tag us @katrinajuliafit @fitlifecreation, Traveling soon? You'll love these tips on creating content when you travel.
We Travel Resources
Retreat Planning eBook (tri.ps/RetreatPlanningEbook)
Retreat Leaders' Resources area of our blog (tri.ps/RetreatLeaderResources)
Our Retreat Leader Hub Facebook group (tri.ps/RetreatLeaderHub)
Check out our site at WeTravel.com