Print Posted on 02/12/2017 in Off Season

Don’t Miss This Opportunity! 10 Ways To Grow Your Retreat Business In The Off Season.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity! 10 Ways To Grow Your Retreat Business In The Off Season.

When the last group leaves, off-season improvements may be the last thing on your mind. However they may be just the ticket to better success in the coming year.

 Here are ten off-season Improvements we selected for your consideration.

1 – Assess Your Brand

What services do you provide and how healthy is your culture? Are you spreading your business thin by offering too many services? Are you missing opportunities by not offering enough? Is the company culture affecting business in a positive or negative way?

Whether you spend next to nothing on marketing or 50% of your yearly budget – it’s a fact that you, your best friend and people you’ve never met have different ideas about your business. These ideas are based in the level of service you provide, the apparent culture of your staff, and the general appearance you maintain.

 Taking the time to assess and strategize your identity is incredibly important.

Click here to have Retreat Guide get you on track with a free assessment of your business. 

2 – Education & Certification

Reward and improve your staff by offering them courses in their field of expertise. Enrich their experience and your brand-culture by cross-training employees in other departments. This helps them empathize with each other’s tasks, and could come in handy should you be short staffed next season.

 Things to Consider:

How many staff members are first-aid certified? Are any of your staff certified to train in first-aid or lifeguarding? Consider asking a trainer if they will provide a discount or trade-out should you let them use your facility for their classes.

 3 – Out With The Old

Are there any items on your property that no longer serve a purpose? Before you answer that, understand that it’s most likely something you don’t notice, but your guests often do. Consider assembling a diverse group of people for an afternoon stroll. Instruct them to look at things with fresh, highly discerning, eyes. Have them make individual lists of things that seem out of place or unnecessary. Let them talk openly throughout the tour and take your own notes of the process. Assess this study and determine if there are any items you can live with out. You may be surprised at how many expendable items are taking up space and affecting the aesthetic and safety of your facility.

4 – Step Into Social Media

(click here to learn how you may be losing business from Millennials)

Marketing is simply placing your service or product in front of potential customers. Smart marketers do this in an efficient and cost effective way. What product or service do you provide? Who are your customers, and can they afford this service? What is the best way to develop relationship and maintain communication with those customers?

 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a few of the top social media channels out there. They are a great way to develop and maintain relationship with your guests. They are also a way to advertise in a small or large way to specific people who would most likely use your services. Click here to learn more.

 5 – Paint Some Walls – Rip Up Some Floors

There is something about a fresh coat of paint that can change a room. This may not mean painting every wall. It could be as simple as painting the trim, or an accent wall. Maybe ripping up tattered carpet and replacing it with laminate floors, or painting and sealing the concrete. This can provide a low-maintenance solution that fits a modern aesthetic, and if done right can look good for years to come.


6 – Set up an Instagram Account

Instagram is well suited for camps and conference centers. Guest groups will undoubtedly tag their images with your Instagram page and location. Something to consider is creating a #hashtag that is unique to your camp or conference center. 

 Place signs around campus, giving people a certain #hashtag they can use on social media. You can make something fun – maybe change it week to week or season to season. Re-post some of these images on your own Instagram page (making sure to give credit to the original photographer).

 An Added Benefit:

Looking at posts related to your camp or conference center gives you a glimpse through the eyes of your guests. It may offer certain insights that inspire new actions in the coming year.  If you need assistance with your social media, our parent company Olive Group, LLC can help!  

 7 – Coordinate Volunteer Projects

An empty campus is an opportunity to do work. Offer opportunities and incentives for volunteers to take. Bring them in for a day, or offer a trusted group free room and board in exchange for working on some projects during their retreat. Providing food and beverage is essential in keeping them energized and happy. Consider handing out last years merchandise, or coupons for the coming year. Easy activities for groups to tackle are raking trails, picking up branches, splitting wood and painting facilities. Your operations staff will appreciate the help.


8 – Networking

Network locally, regionally and nationally by attending functions and reaching out to organizations and individuals that your camp or conference center could help. Perhaps you are in a position to host a conference, luncheon or coffee hour. When doing so (even if for free) make sure to provide your best service. Developing healthy relationships is a benefit that could turn into future employees, guest groups or even more.


9 – Reassess Vendors

Pick up the phone and let the free market work for you. Are your vending machines looking dated or not work properly? Maybe contact the competition and see what they can do to earn your business. Do the same with your office-supplies, print-services and food distribution. Also consider diversifying with small local vendors such as a local butcher, farm or dairy. This builds equity in the community and may provide better resources.

 Something to Consider:

Partnering with local a business may turn into a co-branding opportunity. One such opportunity is to create/brand your own coffee-roast with a local roaster. Maybe they could sell this to their own customers and you could sell it in your gift shop. Proceeds could help out your bottom line or go to your favorite charity.


10 – Stay Open!

Who’s to say you can’t stay open during the lean months? Surely you may need to have a smaller staff – but do the math. If you can make it work, why not keep some of your staff employed and your guests returning. Every new guest is a potential future guest and another opportunity for grass roots marketing. It’s a different experience for sure, but maybe there’s a beauty and niche just waiting to be discovered in what your facility has to offer in the off season.

 Want more exposure for your Retreat or Conference Center?
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