7 Tips on How to Start an Escape Room Business
As a lover of puzzles and labyrinths, you’ve likely been thinking about how to build your own. A great escape room business will take the exciting concept of an escape room and make it feel fresh and inventive.
Escape rooms are a great addition to your income, a fun way to meet energetic and adventurous people, and an exciting way to spend your weekends. While there are many different ways to navigate an escape room, the business end of it is less opaque.
Below are 7 tips on how to get your escape room business off the ground and keep people coming back for more.
1. Do Your Research
You can never do too much research when starting any new business venture. There are a lot of ideas that you can draw from in the History of Escape Rooms. You should also see what the most recent trends are.
Zombie-themed rooms were the rage for awhile. Are zombie-themed escape rooms on the rise in your area or is there another emerging trend?
You need to stay ahead of your competition.
Are there other escape rooms within 10-15 miles of yours? Figure out what you can offer that’s different than your competitors. Book a session with your competitors so that you can see where they succeed and where you can improve.
See if other escape room businesses have closed in the last few years. You’ll want to learn from their mistakes. Also, talk to your chamber of commerce to see if any other escape rooms are about to open. Competition is healthy but you don’t want to flood the market.
2. Can You Commit?
Running any kind of business is a huge time commitment. Do you have the free time to devote to running an escape room business?
Write out a budget for both time and money. See what you can afford to outsource and what you will need to handle on your own. Don’t let other aspects of your life suffer for a new business.
Online presence might be the way most of your clients encounter your business for the first time, so make smart design decisions with your site.
3. First Impressions Are Everything
Who is the face of your business? The first person who greets your customers at the door will set the tone for your customers’ experience. You want your greeter to relax your visitors who will likely be nervous about their first time at an escape room.
If you put a face in your promotional materials, you want that familiar face to be on site when your visitors arrive. The greeter needs to be ready to answer questions and give all of the information your visitors need.
Hiring someone else to handle this frees you up to mingle and manage the overall experience.
4. Timing Is Key
Use the time of year to attract your customers. Holidays, local cultural events or seasonal changes can keep your business fresh and give one-time visitors a reason to book again. A zombie or horror-themed escape room around Halloween is a great way to capitalize on the fall season.
If detective stories are on the rise, have a narrative to capitalize on that.
Create different narratives for different events so that potential clients have a variety to choose from. A large company with a good experience with one style of event may want to send another department for an outing more catered to their interests. A changing schedule posted months in advance will work to your advantage.
5. Market It Creatively
Even the best idea won’t sell itself. Be sure that your escape room business is being marketed to the right clientele. If you’re near a tech hub or a business park, tell businesses about how escape rooms promote teamwork. Offer discounts to the businesses nearby.
Talk to another local business or a brewery. By exclusively carrying their products, you can offer cross-promotional deals that are mutually beneficial.
If you’re near a college town or university, offer student discounts. Reach out to student associations and offer discounted packages to them. You’ll be surprised to see a bump in sales after a dozen students put up selfies and social media posts about your escape room business.
See if you can build a flexible business that can host anything from a birthday party, a family reunion, office outing, or any gathering at all.
6. Gifts That Keep On Giving
Your visitors will want a keepsake to remember the experience.
A cleverly printed photo or souvenir will allow visitors to share the story while continuing to promote your business. Taking a group “before” photo will allow your team to print and frame pictures while visitors are in the escape room.
Gather an email list from visitors so that you can stay in touch and offer them discounts throughout the year.
Give out keychains with your name and website on them. Lighters, bottle openers, and keychain flashlights ensure visitors will carry your name around for months or years after their visit.
7. Wrap-Up Event
What do you have waiting for your guests at the end of the puzzle? Other than a souvenir, it might be nice to have an event. Including a food and beverage package at the end, with a “bonus” included for winners, shows teams that you appreciate them.
Leave time at the end of every escape room session for players to hang around, mingle and ask questions. Making yourself available to answer questions can be valuable for building a repeat customer base.
For players, this may be a team-building exercise for their job or their first time getting to know one another outside of work. Helping to foster their relationships can encourage them to spread the word about your escape room business.
Have Fun With Your Escape Room Business
Don’t forget to make it fun!
You should be doing what you love with your escape room business. Connecting with clients should be as exciting for you as it is for them.
If you follow the tips above, you could build long-term connections with clients and offices, becoming part of their annual schedule of outings.
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