Escape Rooms are still young and nobody knows where exactly are they going to perform in a few years. These are our 10 secrets about Room Escapes Businesses.
You are about to start a new Room Escape Business. You may know that starting with a good quality and tested game will save you time and a lot of money to startup.
1. Starting is harder than you think. Much harder
Room Escape businesses are becoming famous because you need less investment than, for example, a restaurant. And they have a pretty decent ROI (Return On Investment). However, there are more new escape businesses every week in every city, people need to choose which one they are going to spend their money. And you need to be great.
And greatness, my friend, is not cheap.
You will be dealing with contractors, designers, media companies (possibly), and of course customers. You may need someone with experience guiding you through the whole process of launching.
2. Starting is more expensive than you think. Much more expensive
A shitty room will not be profitable. Trust us. First time escapers will be disappointed, and experienced players will be pissed. You do not want those people writing a review of your business on TripAdvisor, do you?
So you need to invest. You need high quality games. We are not talking about high-tech stuff, we are talking about enjoyable experience, amazing puzzles, lovely setting and superb customer service. Be proud of your creation, that’s the secret.
3. Your rooms must be awesome. By all means
If you want so save tons of headaches and money, we warn you: a high quality tested game design can save your business. Why? Because you will not:
- Spend time and money doing beta-testing
- Spend time designing a great puzzle flow
- Open in a year. You will open easily in less than 4 months (depending on the conditions of your place)
- Be concerned about game design. You can then focus on building a great and mind-blowing scenery
4. You are not a great room escape designer (yet)
Don’t get us wrong. To be a good game designer you need experience. People will not react they way you expect 70% of the time. There is only one way to get that experience: running a room escape. That is why we trust in our designs, because they have been tested hundreds of times.
Once you have a room running, you can focus on building another one, testing, with no rush at all. That room will be getting you the first income you need to re-invest.
5. You should start with, at least, 2 rooms
That is just a piece of advice. Give your customers a reason to come again before they get out of your place. You will notice how fast you grow!
6. Your marketing plan is not important: it’s VITAL
Do not leave things to magic, people need to know you, so make your business visible out there.
How? We can tell you how it worked for us. We have a good and not expensive marketing plan that will help you get your first customers. No secrets, just using wisely the money to get the best results.
Remember, marketing is an investment, and a very important one. So be patient and keep pushing, customers will come. Use the power of social media and boost your brand through local press and radio!
7. Your User Experience starts before you think
- Should I put a phone number to get bookings?
- Online or just install a POS in my place?
- Should I work with cash?
- Should I open everyday?
- Letting children play?
- Should I make public or private rooms?
And these are just a few of the questions you need to answer on behalf of your customers experience. Just remember, that experience does not start when they got into the room, but before they try to book!
8. Customers will surprise you in unexpected ways
That is something nobody will tell you:
- Some people break things
- Others behaves badly
- Some people are just not in the mood
- Some will cheat, a lot
- Other people will rant
- People will hug you at the end
- Some people will tell you how happy they are with you
Human beings are unpredictable, that is not a secret, so you need to be as prepared as possible for that. Just keep that in mind.
9. Maintenance is massively important
Yep, things get broken. And you need to repair them more than you think. Be prepared is really important, and if you have some high-tech props, you need replacements. Unless you have the skills needed to repair it in a few minutes before the next group come to play.
That is one of the reasons you should choose carefully which kind of design you want for you.
10. The most rewarding thing in your business is not what you think
It is romantic, we know. But the face of your customers when they get out of the room, the hype they got and that feeling of success, is priceless. And that has to be your fuel when you have tough days. Because Room Escape businesses are not the most profitable (maybe), but they are fun, and rewarding, for you and for the people who get the chance to play with you.