Retreat Guru is a marketplace where wellness companies promote their authentic retreats and connect with tourists. We talked to Deryk Wenaus, their CTO, to see how TalkJS helped them build a chat solution that fits their use case perfectly.

“We were able to offload all messaging to TalkJS – simplifying our own development of an otherwise complex stack.”

Deryk Wenaus, CTO at Retreat Guru

About Retreat Guru

On Retreat Guru, thousands of people are searching for their first or next wakeful experience. It’s a place where teachers, students, and retreat organizations can connect in a meaningful way. In a nutshell, they make it easier to find teachers and go on retreat.

“Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength, and kindness.”

Retreat Guru

The marketplace also provides software designed specifically for retreat vendors to manage their retreat bookings, rooms, and finances.


The team from Retreat Guru wanted to bring the user experience to a higher level by giving the retreat seekers and vendors a way to talk to each other on the website. To get there, they needed to integrate a solution for marketplace messaging.

The inbox view of the Retreat guru chat (demo example)

They considered building the chat solution on their own, but quickly realized the high cost of developing it from scratch with all the advanced features they needed. To simplify the development and cut costs, they decided to go with the chat API and the Javascript chat library from TalkJS.

“We considered to roll our own chat solution, or use other api based solutions. If not for TalkJS we probably would have build our own.”

Deryk Wenaus, CTO at Retreat Guru

Besides the standard messaging features, they also needed an advanced one – email notifications that have a capability for email replies to sync with the chat.


To connect retreat vendors and tourists, the Retreat guru team created a 1-on-1 chat and deployed it on their website. Integrating the chat was easy, as the Javascript SDK offered a pre-built chat UI that the developers only needed to slightly customize to fit the website design.

The tourist could now start a conversation with any vendor right there on the website, and vendors could easily manage the inquires in one place.

TalkJS seemed to be build specifically for marketplaces. Which we are one.

Deryk Wenaus, CTO at Retreat Guru
The inbox view on mobile (demo example)

TalkJS also provided an advanced feature that keeps the users in the loop across different platforms. Users can reply to the email notification directly or jump back into the chat platform – their response will safely reach its destination.

If the user goes offline for whatever reason during chatting, an email is automatically triggered and sent to that user with the message you just sent on the chat. The user can then reply to the email, and the message will land back in the chat closing the loop and making sure that the conversation is not lost.

“We’re so pleased to finally have a chat solution on our marketplace and it was incredibly easy to setup and looks and functions fantastic.”

Shayne Kasai, software engineer at Retreat Guru


By introducing a chat solution tailored to their use case, Retreat guru now provides first-class marketplace messaging for both vendors and tourists. The tourists can easily start a conversation with a retreat vendor, and the retreat hosts can manage the inquires on the Retreat guru platform.

Along with that, building the chat with TalkJS simplified the development process. There was no need to build the entire backend architecture and design the user interface. TalkJS offered a complete solution, backend and frontend in a single package.

“We were able to offload all messaging to talk js – simplifying our own development of an otherwise complex stack.”

Deryk Wenaus, CTO at Retreat Guru
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