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Four Steps To Designing A Workshop, Retreat Or Tour

Nov 20, 2007
If you've dreamed of traveling the world and getting paid to do so, leading group travel is a good way to do it. I've combined the things I love best - leading groups, visiting France, making art and savoring the richness of travel - to create an enjoyable and lucrative income stream. I've been leading groups since 1994 and designing a workshop, enrolling people and providing a memorable experience for your participants is easier than you think. You can do it, too.

Developing a group tour or workshop takes imagination, time, and most importantly, good planning. From navigating your marketing strategies to designing course content to juggling the dozens of details, your success hinges on your organization.

The following four steps give you a sense of how to start developing your idea for a workshop, retreat or tour. Use them as a worksheet to begin today.

Start with your big picture vision. What do you want to do? What pain are you relieving for your potential participants? Perhaps you want to lead a healthy relationship group. Your participants are people who have failed at relationships and need tools and guidance to develop healthy ones. Write this down in a paragraph or two. Let your creativity out here. Feel free to draw, mind map or write about your big vision. As you're doing this, you'll get additional ideas. Use one notebook to capture everything. That way you have it in one place for when you sort it out later.

You'll lead, but who will follow? Who are you creating this wonderful experience for? Develop a profile of your ideal participant. Where does she shop, what are her interests, what publications does she read, what would she get from joining your group? Most importantly, what itch does your offering scratch? What problem does it solve? You want to make sure that there is a market for what you are offering before you create it. You'll need to know this for the next vital step.

Develop your marketing plan. Get a clear sense of what you will do to promote your offering. Your ability to relentlessly promote your tour, retreat or workshop is the key to its success. You want to have strategies for online, in person, public relations approaches to getting the word out there. Don't shirk this step - spending plenty of time and being thorough here will help ensure your success.

Now you can dig into the fun stuff - designing the content of your tour, workshop or retreat. Go back to your original vision. What do you want people to take away from this experience? What is most important to you? Now, what elements do you need to have in place for that to happen?

Take time over a few weeks and use these steps to get started. Give yourself time to flesh out the dream and inch it toward reality. Then move toward bringing people together to share the journey with you as you create your group, tour or retreat.
About the Author
Cynthia Morris is an expert in creative travel. She leads creativity and writing tours in France and has written Go For It! Leading Tours for Fun and Profit. When not on the road, Cynthia coaches writers and visionaries from her office in Boulder, Colorado.
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