Hey Guys, I’m Ed Zaydelman founder of Experience VIDA Events and the VIDA Retreat Center in Costa Rica which is our laboratory for transformational experiences. I’ve worked in events and retreats for over 18 years.

Planning & Producing retreats and events has been a major passion of mine. The impact they can have in transforming someone’s life can be quite profound. Hosting retreats has led me to a life of travel and adventure, impact, and purpose as well as profound personal growth and transformation. And I hope to give you a few useful lessons below that I’ve learned along the way…

Some years ago, I started working with top teachers, practitioners, healers, coaches and as well as various entrepreneurial leaders to help share their Wisdom and Transform people’s lives through retreats and events. I became dedicated to teaching them all the in’s and outs of doing retreats
through a course I created called Retreat Lab. I wanted to take all the hassle and worry away, make them more income with less risk, and more impact in the work they do because they can relax and focus on their
event and their craft. I also wanted to see these teachers thrive. They deserved it!

Okay now for some of my VIDA Retreat Center – www.experiencevida.com

Okay here’s the list…

1. 5 W’s: What, Who, Where, When, Why

  • What kind of event do you want to create or work on (Topic/Name)?
  • Who – who do you see attending?
  • Where you want it to be – choosing a venue, country, etc
  • When – What time of year? How many Days?
  • Why – why gather?

2. Location: Choose a location that has soul and speaks to you – something unique.

  • Pick a location that’s desirable to travel to – hot destinations your dream of
  • Choose a location that has soul, style and a bit of magic
  • Make sure you know the seasonality and weather conditions

3. Timing: Give yourself at least 3-4 months to plan and market your retreat successfully

  • In the first month – Typically the branding, website, venues dates, and core details – I also start to formulate my budget in this time
  • Marketing – try to give yourself at least a 3-month marketing window
  • Planning – begin all the core planning of logistics, schedule, budget


4. Experience Design: Think about the entire guest experience from before the event to after

  • What is your guest experience before the event starts – Emails, Swag bag, etc.
  • How does the schedule flow, free time, nature activities, bonding, education
  • What happens once the event is over? How do you maintain your community?

5. Budget: Plan out your event costs from A-Z including cash-flow needs and timing

  • Understand your per-person cost – Accommodation, Food, Transport, etc.
  • Find your break-even threshold – How many seats you need to fill
  • Plan well for when various payments are due – Hotel, Flights, Facilitators, etc.


6. Sales: Know your tribe, work with ambassadors and word of mouth, use social media

  • Everyone wants to know how to fill their retreat – and it’s something that takes time and building a true following. But here are some other approaches.
  • Online – Webinars, Strong Social media presence, FB Ad Campaigns, Affiliates…
  • In-person – Ambassadors, word of mouth, Commissioned sales, opening events, etc.


7. Forms: Dietary forms, Allergies, and Medical info

  • Makes sure to get your guest information on Allergies & Medical info – upon registration
  • All Dietary restrictions and allergies as well – for the chef
  • Finally, any other key data – flight info, gender (for rooming), special needs can be done at the same time


8. Post Event: Let them know what’s next and nurture your community

  • Do a post-event metrics right away – what worked? What didn’t work? What could be better?
  • Facebook group – tried and tested + Live meet ups – awesome approach to build community!
  • Content – every 2-4 weeks email your tribe w/ valuable content – let them build content as well.

9. Filming: If possible get someone to film your event – it’s such a powerful tool

  • Critical for marketing your next retreat and awesome for those who attended past retreats
  • Consider doing a work trade with someone if budget is an issue – lots of creators love to travel.
  • Consider getting testimonials and real content that evokes emotion


10. Logistics: from transportation, visas, payments – make sure you have it all set

  • Make sure you get all the shuttle times aligned with flights and check for delays
  • Any guests from abroad may need to look into visa issues (and or insurance)
  • Handle all payments with your guests as well as with your venue well ahead of time-sometimes payment plans can be helpful but must be adhered to strictly.