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Navigating the Legal Landscape of Retreat Hosting

Adam Handy, Sam from ABTOT and Lou Dupree at OM Yoga Show 2023

For more than 25 years, my career in the travel industry has provided me with invaluable insights into the often-overlooked legal intricacies surrounding retreat hosting. It's alarming to observe that numerous yoga and Pilates retreat companies and instructors lack a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations governing their operations. 

One fundamental legal requirement, applicable to all UK organisations selling package holidays, mandates the provision of financial security for customers' prepayments and repatriation in the event of organisational insolvency. This imperative is categorised into packages including flights, covered by the Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL) system, and those without flights, governed since 1992 by the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) and enforced by DBT, CMA, and Trading Standards. The unfortunate collapses of industry giants like Thomas Cook and Shearings Holidays stand as stark reminders of the critical importance of adherence to these regulations. 

A 'package' is defined as a combination of two or more different travel services for the same trip, encompassing elements such as flights, accommodation, car hire and other tourist services like yoga and Pilates sessions. Consequently, all yoga and Pilates holidays, whether inclusive of flights or not, fall under the scope of these regulations. 

The obligations for a package organiser are multifaceted: 

  1. Appropriate Financial Protection: This can be achieved through bonding with travel trade associations such as ABTOT or ABTA, per passenger insurance, or a meticulously maintained trust account meeting regulatory standards. 

  1. Appropriate Liability Insurance: Given the organiser's liability in the event of accidents, robust insurance coverage is indispensable. 

  1. Contracts with Suppliers: Establish contracts with suppliers that not only meet minimum standards but also have their own protective measures in place to prevent shouldering the costs of subpar services. 

  1. Clarity in Communication: Provide clients with clear information regarding the protection in place, emphasising suitability for individuals with reduced mobility. This information should be prominently displayed on websites, booking terms and conditions, and brochures. 

When booking a retreat, customers must seek evidence of appropriate financial protection, such as a numbered ABTOT, ABTA, and/or ATOL logo. References to financial protection should be evident in booking conditions and invoices to ensure peace of mind throughout the booking process. 

Success Retreats ATOL and ABTOT member numbers

In response to the industry's shortcomings, Success Retreats was established to alleviate the stress for both customers and instructors. Our commitment to compliance ensures that customers can book with confidence, knowing they are financially protected and that all regulatory requirements have been met. 

Over the past three years, Success Retreats has collaborated with numerous instructors, offering an enticing array of retreats in picturesque locations worldwide. Our comprehensive packages, inclusive of flights and transfers, are backed by ATOL and protected by ABTOT. By choosing a reputable company like Success Retreats, customers experience peace of mind from the initial decision to travel. 

We prioritise the well-being of our instructors by providing: 

  • Full Coverage: Instructors are fully covered by our company's public liability insurance. 

  • Personal Coverage: Personal coverage is extended through our company's business travel insurance. 

  • Administrative Support: We handle all back-office tasks, from invoicing to supplier relations, allowing instructors to focus on their students and customers. 

  • Marketing Support: Our commitment extends to providing marketing support, advice, and materials to enhance bookings and ensure the viability of retreats. 

This symbiotic relationship ensures that both instructors and customers travel with confidence, knowing they are covered. At Success Retreats, we emphasise that well-being before a retreat is just as crucial as well-being during the retreat. 

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This blog is really handy for fitness coaches like me wanting to organise retreats. It covers key legal stuff and how to protect clients. Success Retreats' support with admin and marketing lets me focus on making my retreat awesome.


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