Hosting a Retreat or Event? Don’t Forget this Legal Protection!

Many coaches, influencers, and online entrepreneurs take their businesses from behind the laptop to the beaches, hosting amazing retreats, mastermind events, and similar affairs. This is a beautiful way to connect on a deeper, personal level with your clients, business partners, other coaches and influencers, and your audience! Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be on the beach in Mexico, or in a beautiful hotel ballroom in Paris, right? Definitely not. But before you start packing your bags and selling tickets to your high-end event, it’s important to get the proper legal documents in place, to avoid and mitigate the additional liabilities that arise once you start encouraging others to travel, especially to other countries.


The Waiver

Before you or anyone else sets foot on the ground at your retreat, you’ll need a rock-solid Liability Waiver, signed by all guests and attendees of your event.

So…Why is this important?

Need to Confirm Voluntary Attendance:

It’s important for your guests to agree they are choosing to attend your event voluntarily, do not hold you responsible for their trip, travel, safety, and belongings they bring, and release you and your company of any liability, should something negative happen to them on their trip.

Right to use Likeness and Image:

If you’re planning to host a live event, retreat, or mastermind – chances are you want to photograph and film the heck out of it, right?? Photos of amazing women masterminding together, footage of women connecting and enjoying themselves in a gorgeous location – you may even hire someone just to take pictures and film clips from the event! This footage and these photographs will not only be wonderful keepsakes for your clients and attendees, but will also serve as invaluable content for your future sales pages promoting the event, and your services in general.

So what’s the problem??

Before we can take photographs and video footage, we need to be sure we have permission from everyone at the event to use their image! Now, you’re probably saying…what?! Why wouldn’t my guests want to be photographed at this gorgeous retreat, masterminding or relaxing with some amazing fellow entrepreneurs?? I’m sure most or all of your guests would love to have these memories captured, so they can include them on their website, or just have photographs to remember this amazing trip! Because of this, getting each attendee to sign a waiver confirming they understand they are going to be photographed at this event, and that you have the right to use their name, likeness, and image however you wish, will likely be an easy task. Good!

But just because we assume everyone is on board, doesn’t mean we can skip this step! Make sure you’ve got a complete and thorough waiver at EACH event, carefully detailing how your guests will be photographed or filmed, and confirming you have the rights to use these images and clips however you see fit.

Many times, guests may assume they are going to be photographed, and wouldn’t have any problem being featured on your website in retreat photos…but what if they don’t like the way they look in the photo? (How many times have you had to delete a photo because one of your friends insists they look terrible? It happens.) What if someone assumes you will be using the photo, but doesn’t predict that it will be used in your Facebook Ad the following quarter, advertising next year’s retreat?

It’s not that we are trying to trick anyone, or trying to publicize a photo that emphasizes someone’s double chin. It’s that you want to have total control over how you decide to use these photos, and don’t want to deal with obtaining individual permission from each person in each photo after the event has ended, just to use the photos…much less deal with someone NOT giving you permission to use a photo, creating an awkward situation, and preventing you from effectively marketing your event for the following year!

Bottom line: anytime you are hosting any kind of event – whether in your home town or across the world – make sure you have all guests sign a waiver or release BEFORE the event begins.

How do they sign??

Ideally, include this release with the client agreement, if clients are signing an additional agreement to attend the event, or if it’s included in a larger coaching package. If not, you can have all guests agree to this waiver in the same way they agree to your Terms of Use, on the checkout page of your website, before they purchase their ticket to the event. It’s important attendees agree to and sign the Waiver AT or BEFORE the time of payment.

Need a waiver? Contact me at christy@christywesterfeld to get more information or to have your document created! And don’t forget to share this post!

ps – this is not attorney advice, nor is an attorney-client relationship formed by you reading this blog. This is just legal information designed to help you!

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