Your Retreat Business is Losing Customers With These Mistakes

You work so hard to make your retreats an amazing experience for your customers.

You put in the time.

You work yourself long hours.

But still things don’t seem to be going as well as you’d like.

You’re likely losing customers without even knowing it.

If your boat is leaking, should we be building more sails?


The first thing to do is fix the leak.

So let’s see where your boat might be leaking, and how to turn the leak into an opportunity.

1. Not Following Up After Cancelling

It happens.

Retreats get canceled.

Either you can’t find enough people to join, or the teacher falls through, or the center has issues, or something totally unexpected happens.

This unfortunate situation is a crucial point for your business.

You can either lose customers for life, or build an even greater loyalty and trust.

Put yourself in the frame of mind of your retreat guest. They had such high hopes for coming on your retreat. Maybe they even bought flights or travel that they can’t get a refund on.

This might have been a vacation they were planning on (and counting on) to help them deal with mounting stress.

They are going to be very disappointed.

Even if you fully refund them their money, and talk to them personally on the phone, they will still be disappointed. It’s only natural.

The last thing you want to do is just send them an email telling them it’s cancelled, and leave it at that. Why?

Because 53% of customers say they will switch over to a different company because they feel underappreciated.

The Solution

Try to immediately get them booked on another retreat you offer.

They’ve already gone through the process of evaluating you and your offerings. That means they’ve placed enough trust in you to pay a significant amount of money, and spend a significant amount of their life attending your retreat.

If you have another retreat scheduled, that would be a great opportunity to save the situation.

Even better, offer them a discount. Up to 20% off of the price as a show of your appreciation.

This is a way to make a customer for life. Turn a bad situation into a display of how much you care.

2. Crappy Website Design

People’s expectations are high these days.

88% of people are less likely to return to a website after having a bad experience on it.

That means your website should be up to standard.

The Solution

There are so many beautiful WordPress templates and talented, but affordable designers available. You should be taking advantage of this.

If you need us to direct you some recommended resources, feel free to ask.

In addition, should be taking advantage of a site like ours which provides everything for you.

Beautiful design, simple checkout process, payment processing, review management, and a high-converting layout.

Our listings are built to help customers find you and leave with a great impression of your business.

3. Low-Quality Descriptions

Potential customers only have a few resources available to evaluate your retreat.

You want to maximize those resources. One of those is your description.

If you’re not putting time into your retreat descriptions, you are losing customers.

Plan and simple.

I’ve worked with various bestselling authors, and one thing that always struck me about authors…

…they spend up to 5 years writing a book and 20 minutes writing a description.

But truthfully, 20x more people read the description than buy the book. The same is true with retreats.

Way more people are going to read your description than are going to send you an enquiry, and ultimately book.

The Solution

Put in the necessary time and energy to write the best description you can. Both on your own website and on your listing on our site.

When you’re writing your descriptions and creating your listings, you’ll want to do these 6 things:

  1. Use an Intro Grabber
  2. Immerse them in the experience
  3. Use the power of images
  4. Create a video of your retreat
  5. Give the benefits they are looking for
  6. Remove their obstacles

Learn more about these 6 and see the full post we wrote on writing killer descriptions and powerful listings

4. Frustrating Negative Reviews

Social proof.

We all look to others to inform our decisions.

Reviews are one of the biggest tools used by online shoppers to evaluate a product or company.

In fact, 86% of people report that negative reviews influence their purchase decision-making.

You can’t please everyone all the time, and negative experiences will happen if you’re in business long enough.

That’s to be expected.

The Solution

Put a system in place for dealing with customer complaints, monitoring negative reviews, and gaining positive reviews, you’ll be doing the best you can in this arena.

If a negative review is posted, either on our site, on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, or even Facebook, you’ll want to follow up as quickly as possible with a solution.

Remember, this is a crucial time. One that can turn an angry and negative situation into a customer for life.

Make a habit of gaining positive reviews as well. Anytime a customer expresses a positive experience to you over email, Facebook, or the phone, ask them if they could put a review up on

Send them the link, tell them it only takes 2 minutes, and say how much it means to you.

Then make sure to showcase these awesome reviews and testimonials all over your site and marketing channels.

The perfect review follows this format:

  1. The problem (or belief)
  2. The solution (or new belief)
  3. The accomplishments (or results)

They have a problem that made them want to go on your retreat. Your retreat offered a solution. When they finished your retreat, what results did they get.

A very short example:

“(#1 Problem) I was feeling stressed out from work over the past two months and needed a week to re-center myself. (#2 Solution) I saw an ashtanga retreat at Lush Jungle Retreats that looked like a perfect way to relax and recharge. (#3 Results) After a week on the retreat I feel like my mind and body have been given a full detox and I’m ready to take on the world again.”

Our review system automatically attempts to structure perfect reviews.

So the best thing you can do is give them the link to your listing on our site and tell them how to add the review.

5. Not Embracing Social Media

46% of people utilize social media when making their decision to purchase.

That means they’re checking you out on Facebook, Twitter, and possibly Pinterest and Instagram.

They want to see if you’re active. If you’re fresh. If you’re responsive.

So naturally they turn to the places where they expect to see fresh content, and responses.

It’s a way to see what you’re all about.

The Solution

Choose a frequency and schedule for social media, then stick to it.

Focus on putting out awesome pictures of your retreats, great content from your site and other sites, inspirational material, and anything else your audience will resonate with.

People often follow companies because they know they can find out about discounts or promotions, so if you’re running an early bird offer, social media is a great place to promote that.

Here are a few great tools for managing your social media presence:

  1. Hootsuite
  2. Buffer
  3. Canva (we LOVE this tool)

You can read about these and more essential tools every retreat owner must use here.

6. Bad Customer Service

The customer is always right. Right?


…not really.

But the customer will almost always feel like they are right, if they feel they are wronged.

93% of customers will take some sort of action after bad service.

This might include posting a negative “revenge” review online (34%), talking poorly about you to friends and family, and posting multiple low ratings on review sites.

The Solution

Be super attentive from the moment they book. You want to respond ASAP to their booking.

If they’ve just paid you money, you want to pay it back 10x with your great service.

You should aim to respond to any phone call or email within 24 hours. If you can’t do that, make sure people know your operating hours and how long they can expect to wait before hearing back.

Set proper expectations.

If you have a staff that handles customer service, they should be trained in how to handle sticky situations.

If you have social media channels, you should never leave them unattended for long periods. If someone messages you through Facebook, they still expect a response, whether or not you check Facebook.

Overdeliver on what you promise and give people those little extra things that go a long way. Surprise them with a free massage, a room upgrade, or a free special dessert.

Here are some great resources you can use to get better at customer service:

  1. 3 Customer Service Experts Share Stories of Turning Bad Support Interactions Around
  2. The 10 Customer Service Roles That You Need To Be Good At (And How To Get Better At Each One)
  3. Social Media Customer Service: 7 Tips For Getting It Right
  4. The 6 Customer Service Mistakes That Annoy Customers Most
  5. How To Make Your Customer Service More Personal (And Why You Want To)

Final Words

Fix the leaks in your boat and avoid these 6 mistakes. Your customers will love you and so will your business :)

  1. Not following up after cancelling => Immediate followup with discount offer
  2. Crappy website design => Use a nice WordPress template, utilize our site, find an affordable freelancer
  3. Low-quality descriptions => Put in the necessary time and energy to create higher quality
  4. Frustrating negative reviews => Turn negative situations into customers for life by having a system for handling reviews
  5. Not embracing social media => Use these tools to set a schedule and stick to it
  6. Bad customer service => Avoid the major customer service mistakes, do the little things, and overdeliver

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