Take A Breath - WeTravel Helps Yoga Teachers With Retreats!
By Autumn Feldmeier
I love yoga retreats!
For a yogini, nothing else feels quite as good as packing a bag with yoga gear, bikinis, dresses, flip flops and doing yoga with a gorgeous vista. As a student, I've attended many amazing retreats and as a teacher, I feel daunted by all of the work involved. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to speak with Pia Flake, Director of Yoga Happiness at WeTravel.
WeTravel is a San Francisco based company that has built online tools for yoga teachers to manage and promote their yoga retreats. Their employees come from around the world: Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Indonesia, Germany and the U.S. Between them, they speak a combined 19 languages: English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Azeri, Arabic, Persian, Tajik, Indonesian, Javanese, Sundanese, Malay, Mandarin, Korean and Japanese. This means that as a team they are collectively capable of conversing with roughly half of the world's population, if not more.
How did the concept for WeTravel develop?
The vision started with our CEO, Johannes Koeppel, who used to organize group tours and student treks while working for the International Red Cross in Uzbekistan and saw the need for a tool to help coordinate and manage group retreats. WeTravel was born at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and launched last August. The website immediately took off with universities who used it to organize student trips. Now, however, the website’s focus is not limited to just universities. WeTravel supports a very diverse array of outings from samba classes in Cuba to a journey through the real Israel to a “fire in the sky” themed yoga retreat.
What differentiates WeTravel from other travel and yoga sites?
We are not a travel agency but an online tool. Our website allows the organizer to manage the participants, collect payment and promote his or her retreat. We keep it simple by having everything on one dashboard. Participants can register and pay with their US checking accounts which allows retreat organizers to avoid hefty credit card transaction fees.
We also publish travel and yoga retreat stories. We invite our yoga teachers to write useful articles and share their stories to promote their retreats and gain a wider audience.
How do you help teachers differentiate themselves from each other and other retreats?
Teachers can embed their trip directly in their own website and we automatically produce a flyer to hand out for each retreat. Most of the participants in a teacher’s retreat usually come from marketing by the teacher. WeTravel helps teachers with that marketing.
Also, we have seen that teachers who already have reviews on WeTravel have a much easier time filling upcoming retreats. By organizing their retreats through WeTravel, they build up a powerful retreat record on a public site, complete with real reviews of former participants. We have seen that repeat organizers on our site were able to attract on average 40% more participants after they had a successful trip with reviews on our site.
What are some of your favorite things about the site for teachers?
The organizer manages everything in one dashboard: traveler details, payment status, booking options, payments to vendors, etc. You can even download all information in a convenient excel sheet. With our promotion and communication tools, reaching out to potential and existing participants becomes extremely easy.
What would you say the 4 top benefits are for yoga teachers using WeTravel?
We collect payments, participant information and reviews.
Making your own marketing easier by adding your retreat registration directly on your site.
Promoting your trip to the thousands of people that visit wetravel.com every day.
Being part of a retreat leader community, learning from others and sharing your experience.
What is the future for WeTravel?
Our main goal is to build a vibrant community of retreat organizers. We believe that going on a retreat with great teachers is the best travel experience possible. We will do everything to help individual teachers manage and promote their retreats.
Click here to check out the WeTravel ULTIMATE GIFT GUIDE for the 2017 Holiday Season!