Hosting a retreat or including one in your coaching mastermind is as popular as ever! People are REALLY craving in person connect + plus it’s cold outside and a lot of people are trying to get to some warmer weather! And let’s be real, adding a cool destination 🏝 can really sweeten up those sales!
But by hosting an in-person event or retreat you are opening yourself and your biz up to A LOT more liability than if you were working solely online!
So much more goes into planning an in-person event and it’s important to have a solid Retreat Contract in place to make sure you don’t end up losing a bunch of money (or worse - end up in a courtroom!)
Here are the Top 3 Reasons Retreat Contracts are Different From Other Contracts
#1 Retreats are IN-Person
This one is kind of obvious → Because retreats are in-person there are many more chances for things to go sideways versus being online where everybody is in their own location and responsible for themselves.
As an attorney, my brain goes wild thinking about all the potential liability issues at a live event.
Here are just a FEW:
❌ You provide 🚍 transportation and the driver ends up in an accident. Susie blames you for a cracked rib. Are you responsible?
❌ You provide meals at your VIP intensive weekend and had no idea that Susie had a peanut allergy or that 🥜 🥜 were even in that dish. She ends up in the ER with anaphylaxis - what now?
❌ A rogue Susie totally trashes the hotel room that you paid for as part of a package retreat. She gave a bogus credit card, skipped out, and now the hotel is coming after you…
❌ Susie turns out to be a thief and steals 3 of your guests 💻 💻 while everyone is in the pool. Your guests are NOT happy and are coming after you...
This is literally the tip of the iceberg on potential issues. I’m seeing retreats popping up in locations like Tanzania, Iceland and Bora Bora, the potential for something to go wrong is just THERE. Now don’t get me wrong, sign me up for ALL of these, you know I love to travel more than anyone, but as the person in charge, you just have to be sensible because of these extra factors.
Anyone coming needs to be signing a waiver of liability that YOU are not responsible for basically anything that could go wrong!
Events and retreats can be extremely lucrative, but are also a risk. Make sure you are planning for the unexpected!
When COVID hit back in 2020, so many businesses lost a TON of money because they didn’t have proper contracts that protected them against something like this happening. Now, most people didn’t think to include a pandemic in their contract (but they do now!) BUT those that had a Force Majeure clause, had a little more flexibility in dealing with a retreat that had to be postponed or canceled. (If you want to read more on contracts and covid, check out this post here).
A Force Majeure clause basically says that if the business cannot “perform” - meaning execute on their portion of the contract - which in this case would be not being able to host the retreat, because of an issue out of their control (such as a hurricane, act of terrorism, natural disaster, etc.) they cannot be held liable.
Yes, I realize that is a very long sentence. The shorter version is that this clause helped businesses when COVID shit hit the fan.
Those coaches or business owners that didn’t have this clause really had no choice but to refund a ton of money and potentially lose out on deposits made at venues. Our updated retreat contract now has a TON of language around COVID.
Not only does it include an updated Force Majeure clause that includes “a pandemic,” it also includes a big waiver of liability that the coach can’t be held responsible for a COVID cancellation, someone else getting COVID or spreading COVID, you not realizing you needed a COVID test to travel, etc.
I really REALLY hope that we don’t have to rely on this clause too much in the future, but it’s in the retreat contract for you.
#3 Potential for Awesome Marketing
Retreats provide an epic chance for coaches to market themselves and their business. Who doesn’t want to work with a coach hosting epic retreats in France, Thailand or NYC?!
For example, when this post goes live I will be at a retreat myself (in Puerto Rico) where the host has let us know prior to that there will be a brand photographer present taking pictures, for our use yes, but also for HER.
It’s a great time for coaches to grab images of themselves speaking in front of groups, hosting gorgeous dinners, and helping to cultivate community with their people. And because of this?
Retreat Contracts need to include a media release.
While some coaching contracts may include permission for the coach to grab screenshots of zoom and such, a retreat contract media release goes way beyond that and basically says the host can take video, pictures, etc. during the entire retreat and use them however she wants to (meaning in her future marketing). A strong media release will ensure that the retreat host has the right permissions from everyone on location, otherwise there could be issues down the line if someone gets upset about seeing their picture all over the internet.
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While this list could probably go on, these are the top 3 reasons why a retreat contract is way different from your normal online contract. If hosting a retreat is on your list for 2023 then you should grab your contract HERE (and yes, it’s not too late if people have already purchased your retreat, get the contract today and have them sign ASAP!)