When you’ve hosted or attended a retreat that changed your life, you know how important the location and venue of a truly transformational retreat is.

I know lots of us are in the middle of the site selection process right now as we get our plans in place for the coming months. My team and I have been working hard on getting our venues wrapped up for the year and so this has been at the top of my mind lately!

Today I want to share some essential things to consider when you’re in the process of selecting a site for your retreat.

Site selection isn’t just a practical decision

Of course there’s the practical and logical side of things to consider, but there is also a lot of emotional energy involved in site selection.

So it’s no surprise that the process of choosing and booking a venue for a retreat can be the thing that hangs up retreat leaders more than anything else.

When you run into challenges

Like anything in business, it’s often only when you starting getting into the nitty gritty that you’re able to see clearly what’s going on beneath the surface.

Maybe you decided this would be the year you ran your first retreat, or maybe it’s your tenth – either way, you told yourself “I’m ready”.

But then, for whatever reason, you run into obstacles with the site selection.

For one of my clients, that looked like a whole bunch of strange things happening – responses from venues that neither of us had seen before. It got to a point where I told her “Whoa. Hold up. What’s really going on here?”

See the process of selecting and committing to your venue is about more than meets the eye. The venue holds an energy – both the physical property and the staff. And you hold an energy in how you are relating to your retreat. Both of these play into the ease or lack thereof when you are negotiating.

Here are the four questions to ask yourself to look at what’s really going on when you’re selecting a retreat venue.



Commitment is a positive thing. It has an energy that says “I know this is going to happen, and I know it’s going to be amazing. I’m ready to do what it takes”. But with that is a flexibility about how that’s going to show up. It may be that the incredible experience you’re building happens in a different way than you originally planned, and commitment leaves space for you to roll with that.

Attachment, on the other hand, is more rigid – it’s a clenched feeling, a need to control the outcome of what you’re doing. Ask yourself if it’s attachment that’s disrupting the energy of the arrangements you’re making.  

  1. Is Spirit guiding me to a message about this venue that I need to pay attention to?

Sometimes, a venue that looks great online won’t work in real life. Or there might be a better place out there which would suit the energy of the retreat even better. If you feel like making the booking is becoming an uphill struggle, pay attention to that.

This isn’t just something that happens when you’re starting out, either. Here at Aligned Entrepreneurs, we experienced exactly this when it came to booking an event we’re hosting in March. It’s an invitation-only gathering we put on for our clients, and originally, the plan was to use the same venue and location as we did last year.

But pretty quickly, we ran into hurdles. There was no obvious reason for that to be true: we were working with the same venue, the same person, and the same contract. And yet there was no denying the experience was not smooth and easy. That’s when I told my team ”Stop. There’s something else we need to look at here.”

  1. Do I need to look at the date?

If the venue you’re looking at feels great but you’re still hitting blocks in terms of negotiating the details, Spirit might be drawing attention to the timing of the retreat. Sometimes a shift in the date is what’s needed to open up the flow. It may be that there’s a lurking money fear that’s giving you a sense of urgency, when the message is that you need to leave a little more space for your right people to come.

  1. What is going on within me that I’m generating that experience?

I’m a believer that we’re always getting what we’re committed to. So if obstacles keep coming up repeatedly, why might you be committed to having these obstacles come up? Is there an underlying block or area of fear or resistance that needs dealing with? A coach or trusted mentor can ask the right questions to help you dig a little deeper into what’s going on and flag up any blindspots that might be tripping you up.

Trust is the key

The last thing to note is the importance of trust. If you’re coming up against a block, you are being given a message from Spirit. Your job is to figure out what that is.

When it came to our March event, we put the negotiations with the previous venue on hold, and I started paying attention to the messages I was given. One thing I started noticing was I was getting a lot of intuitive hits about having Liz Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, come and speak at the event. What?

But I paid attention, and I soon found out she was due to be speaking in Seattle, my home town, in the same week as our event.

Bingo. Got it. We moved the event to Seattle, everything flowed smoothly, and we were able to book Liz in not just as a speaker but as an active participant, interacting and joining in our workshops for the day. (If you’re reading this thinking “I have to be there!”, we still have tickets available – drop me a message to find out how you can apply to attend!)

If I’d pushed, that would never have happened. A great reminder to pay attention and trust what you’re been given!

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