Many churches had their calendars shaken the last two years. What was a fan-favorite annual retreat, suddenly was not a thing anymore. But as vaccines are out, restrictions are lifted and people are getting out again, churches are trying to figure out how to get their events and retreats going again. Here are a couple of things to be prepared for:
Your dates may be gone. Even though your event was cancelled, some churches still forged on and held events. They will then most likely get the first shot at dates. Another factor is retreat centers closing or bumping their past groups. Thus, churches are desperately looking for a new place to hold their retreat and it just might be at your usual venue. In both cases, you should be prepared to be flexible. PRO TIP: Do not start advertising dates until you have a venue locked in! We get plenty of calls for groups that say they have to have certain dates because they already told their church.
Not everything may be open. Like every other industry, hospitality has taken a hit in staffing. The retreat center you are looking to book may not be able to get lifeguards for your beach time or dining staff to make you extra snacks. Ask about availability in your first conversation so that you are not surprised later on after booking.
Procedures are different. From face masks to sanitizing to lining up for meals, your usual retreat center may be running differently since the last time you were there. If you are a returning customer, they will surely explain these differences to you early on.
Prices are higher. You’ve probably noticed that your grocery bill has been rising the last few months. Restaurants, too, are raising their menu prices. That’s because inflation is at its highest in the U.S. in the last 30 years, according to the Consumer Price Index1. Unfortunately, the retreat industry is taking the same hits, meaning you will probably see it reflected in your price. Between rising food costs and increases in staff wages, be prepared with a larger budget.
If you haven’t had a retreat with your church since before 2020, now is as good a time as any to get the annual event going again. Just be aware that it isn’t the same as when you left it.
1Inflation has risen around the world, but the U.S. has seen one of the biggest increases. Pew Research Center. November 24, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/11/24/inflation-has-risen-around-the-world-but-the-u-s-has-seen-one-of-the-biggest-increases/