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How to attract more customers to Escape Room

More customers means more money. Plain and simple. But getting new customers isn’t as easy as it seems, especially if people don’t know what are escape rooms at all.

To attract more customers you will have to put a lot of effort and these next steps can help you do it.

Tripadvisor is very important!!!

Tripadvisor.com is a social platform where people share their opinions about places they visit, including escape room games. Being highly positioned on Tripadvisor is a great social proof. From beginning of time people were looking to hear other opinions on different subjects and this hasn’t change ever since. It’s easier for them to make a decision to do or buy something if they see that something is recommended by others. You know “everybody is doing that, I have to try”.

Believe it or not, a lot of escape room owners don’t have official Tripadvisor account and some of you might ask: “why is it so important?”. Based on a marketing research, 55% of travellers are using this platform in order to find things they would like to visit. That’s a huge number of potential visitors and the best part is that it won’t cost you anything, except your time and effort. You will also have feedback from your customers which you can use to improve your game.

By having good reviews, you will without doubt attract more customers. If you are located in areas with a lot of tourists, Tripadvisor is a must-have for your progress.

Without Facebook you don’t exist

What most of escape rooms owners have is a Facebook page where they post only the pictures of the groups they had and that’s about it. But Facebook is and can be much more.

If you have interesting content, you succeeded. FALSE. You need to have interesting content that’s ONLY about escape room business. This is called sales funnel. You can post funny videos and pictures that have nothing to do with escape rooms and you will get likes that basically don’t mean anything. Don’t think that people will see something they like, then go on the page where they will search what’s that page about and then decide out of nowhere “YES lets play an escape room”. Believe me, I tried this way, it’s to complicated and people in generally don’t think like that.

What you can do is create quality content regarding escape room business, like short movies where you explain people what are escape rooms, similar to this one:

And you can make all kind of videos where people are playing your escape room, or funny short videos like this one:

Make a lottery

People LOVE free stuff and you can use this to promote your escape room and attract more customers. Make a lottery where the reward will be playing your escape room for free. Ask people to tag their friends in the comment who they want to play escape room with. After some time, let’s say two weeks, you can use Random.org to choose a winner and publish the result, so everyone can see who that person is.

If you want even bigger reach, you can ask them to tag one person per comment in as many comments they like, so the more comments they make, the bigger the chances that one of their friends will get rewarded with playing your escape room for free.

This won’t cost you anything except one free appointment in your escape room and you will get a huge reach.
Please be advised not to do this too often(only once or twice a year), because it can cause the opposite effect. People may think you are giving something for free from time to time and they will just wait for the next opportunity. Also, you will reduce the price of your escape room, as people may think this doesn’t cost that much or it’s nothing special, if they are giving it for free this often.

Vouchers

Reducing your price by selling them on different websites with discount will only have counter-effect in long term period (explained in previous paragraph and it will be the theme of some other article).

Giving vouchers is something completely different. It’s targeting people that didn’t hear about escape rooms before and with 25% discount vouchers you will attract them to play your room. The key of success lies in large numbers, as I am about to explain you.

This is one successful example of how we did it:

Our municipality was giving away free New Year packages for kids that included candy, toys and other items. They offered us to participate by putting our vouchers in the New Year presents. This way, they received something of value and we had free promotion.

The best thing is that they gave away 18000 of these packages that also contained our vouchers.

This is the math, plain and simple:

It cost us around 100$ to make 18000 vouchers and we had around 50 groups so far.
50 x 30$ = 1500$
Take note: most of these people never HEARD about escape rooms before and most of them will definitely come back to play your other rooms.

Sharing flyers in interesting way

If you are in a big city or in a tourist attraction area where you have a big traffic of people, sharing flyers is something that occurred to almost anyone. I know, it’s boring and annoying, most of the people don’t want to take them or they do but they don’t look at it. That’s why you have to be different.

Put on a costume that represents the theme of your room (Dracula, Robin Hood, Prisoner, Detective…), walk on the main street or hold still like you are a modeling doll and then scare people while they are passing by. They are going to love it, they are going to remember what you did, and they will be intrigued to look online what was that about.

One more thing you can do is to record people’s reaction and later make promotional videos.

Tourist agencies

If you have a chance to be in area with lots of tourists make agreements with tourist agencies near you. These offers can influence people to go to specific places that they wouldn’t visit otherwise.

For example if you are on the seaside where you have a lot of cruisers, you can offer them special discount for their passengers in order to promote your escape room. Take note that these people are usually staying for a day and not coming back, so attracting these people even with discount can only be a big plus.

Let other escape room owners play for free

The best promotion is good recommendation and who is better in promoting your room than other owners. As you know, most of the groups that already played your rooms will ask you for advice about playing other escape rooms. You would always want to recommend something that’s good, because if they don’t like it, they will connect that with you and your recommendation.

More recommendations means more groups. So, the common sense will tell you that you should invite all escape room owners near you to play your room for free. Don’t worry, people are good by nature and they will return the favor and you will have a good promotion of your business.

These are some of the ways, but not the only ones, to attract more customers for escape room. If you have some ideas or suggestions, we would be happy to hear about it.

Escape room franchise or buy escape room scenario

Many people are looking for ways to start their own business and escape room franchise might be the thing they are looking for. Perspective, flexible working hours, the possibility to earn money while having fun, more time for your family – these are the things that attract people to have escape room business.

So, the first thing many will do is to google ‘escape room franchise’ thinking it will be cheaper and easier just to find some company that will give them everything. And if you do your research carefully, you will see how wrong you were.

Let’s just take two minutes of your time to compare the difference between buying escape room and escape room franchise.

NAME OF THE COMPANY

In most of the cases if you choose to buy escape room franchise,  you will have to take their official “brand” name of the company. And in some cases this might be good. You will attract more people if the name of that brand or company is so famous and popular. You should know that you can count on fingers of one hand companies that are this popular, and it usually requires a lot of money to make their escape rooms and that is not always an option for beginners in this business.  On the other hand, if you decide at any time to create something on your own, after learning more about making escape rooms, you will not be able to do that, at least not under that company name.

If you choose simple to buy escape room (either as blue print on paper or even with the items and equipment) you will be able to choose your new company name and to decide whether and from whom you are going to buy new rooms or to make your own.

IT’S SAVING YOUR MONEY

You know how when signing contracts in the bank you don’t read small letters because you don’t think it’s important and after a while you realize that they are taking your money because of these small details. It’s the same in escape room business.  When choosing a escape room franchise you are obligated to pay monthly fees, either as percentage from each game (around 10-20%) or fixed monthly installment. Ok, I know what you think, it’s not that much, it’s a reasonable price, but let’s do one example:

Imagine that you are paying just 200 dollars a month  per escape room and that you have two escape rooms that you bought from a escape room franchise company.

200 x 2 (rooms) x 12 (months) x 5 (years) = 24000 dollars of your money!!!

You can save all this money by choosing to buy escape room from a company that will not ask from you any additional fees.

People say that escape room owners are special kind of people, open minded, smart and wily, so then just listen to your common sense and I am sure you will make the right decision.

Escape room that already exists or custom made escape room

This is the first article of our new blog and hopefully there will be many more as we will try our best to provide good advice from our experience in the escape room business.

One of the most important questions for any person who wants to become an escape room owner is what to buy? Should you choose an escape room that already exists or to ask for custom made escape room?

There is no right or wrong answer or rule in this matter. It’s as if you are asked whether you like strawberries more or raspberries, but here are some facts that are interesting to know before making any decision.

COST & TIME

In making custom escape room with the theme that you choose you don’t  know exactly how much it’s going to cost at the end. You can certainly predict according to your budget, first with design and after that by making one game after another, but there are many factors that are not easy to predict such as service of a carpenter, electrician, painter etc. Most of the things you will have to do by yourself if you choose a room that is not complicated to make, which is definitely good advice for a start. Also, if you plan to use electronics and mechanisms, you will not be able to know how it’s going to work in reality if you haven’t made it before. And all of this will take more time, and time is money, your time that you will spend in setting up your escape room, time while you are paying rent when your escape room is not working. Bottom line, it will definitely take more time to make custom made escape room than existing one, and sure you can make something great and unique but you will need to put more effort and that’s going to cost you, which is not always desirable for a start, when every dollar counts.

INFORMATION IS THE KEY

So you want to start something new but you don’t know where and how, or if it’s something good or not. Most of the times you are buying something that exists only on paper (blue print) and you will have only verbal guarantee from owners that something is good. Well, times have changed, and now you can find more information about any company or the rooms they are providing. By choosing an escape room that already exists in a different country/region/city, you will have more information about the room itself. You can check how successful that escape room is (by checking how many groups they have per day and in a month, by comments on tripadvisor and facebook etc.) how much money it costs to make original escape rooms, how much time you need to make it, how many electronics and mechanisms you need to set up and so on… You will also know if that particular escape room can be adjusted to the space you have or plan to rent.

YOU NEED TO SEE

The best thing about choosing an existing escape room is that you can actually play it (if it’s close) or ask the owners to show you some details from that room using pictures or live skype presentations, so you can see general atmosphere and design. And I know most of the owners won’t, as they want to protect it, or just don’t want to share their knowledge before selling it, but we will show you almost everything, except the games, of course. This way you will be able to see whether you like it or not, before making the final decision.

ASK PARTNERS

This is really important for everybody to make sure that nobody will deceive them. You can just see who are their partners, search for their email address and ask for their opinion about working with that company. These people are usually open minded  and won’t hesitate to tell you if something is good or not and by their answer you will be able to see a lot.

As you can see there is no right or wrong answer to the question: “should I buy something that already exists or order a custom made escape room”, but speaking from experience and putting myself in the position of somebody starting a new business, it’s maybe better to start with something that’s already proven to be good and profitable, just in different location, than buying something completely new but not very certain.