Start the Year Right: 5 Game-Changing Tips to Improve your Escape Room Business in 2024
Posted in Escape Room Business Management by Mairi Nolan on Wed 24 January 2024
New year, new me, right?
But the new year's resolutions don’t need to stop at personal improvement. January tends to be a little quieter for the escape room industry, which means it’s the perfect time to take stock of your escape room business.
But even if it’s not January when you’re reading this, there’s no time like the present. Since its inception, the escape room industry has grown enormously. In fact, the global appetite for attractions and leisure across the board have grown so rapidly, the real question facing owners in 2024 is how to stay competitive. Today, escape room players have more choices than ever, and so an escape room’s ability to adapt and improve is one of the most important things.
In this article, we’ll cover five of our top tips for improving your escape room business.
Escape Room Tip 1: Use Reporting Data, and Ask for Feedback
Quick question - what does your data say? After all, you can’t make meaningful business decisions blind.
Who is playing your escape rooms?
Which rooms are most popular?
When are your rooms fully booked, and when are there slots to be filled?
How long does each room take to complete?
How frequently do customers return to play new rooms?
Having a better understanding of the ins and outs of your escape room business is crucial to understanding all the opportunities to improve, and identifying any problem areas. There are two ways you can go about capturing and using this data:
You can use the reporting data from your bookings or waivers to get a picture of your venue.
Or, you can simply ask your customers for their feedback directly, using a post-game survey sent automatically to all players.
The former is best for quantitative data you can view in a chart. Exceptionally useful for spotting outliers, or general trends such as ‘peak’ and ‘off-peak’ times, average team size, or how your customers are booking. Datapoints like these can then be used to determine your pricing structure, opening hours, and even staff performance.
On the other hand, by asking your customers directly via a post-game survey provides more qualitative data, such as which escape room they preferred, how clean the toilets were on their visit, or which puzzles they struggled with the most. Data like this can't always be tracked on a chart but it's just as useful to collect and consider. By asking the right questions at the right time, an owner has time to react to a potential issue, long before it ends up in a public review across Yelp.
Escape Room Tip 2: Upgrade your Digital Systems
We live in a digital world. So when we talk about the “player journey”, we aren’t just referring to the moment your team shows up ready to escape. The player journey begins a lot sooner than that. It’s the first touch point, the booking, the first email, the waiver signing. It’s also everything that comes after the escape: it’s the team photo, it’s the post-game email, it’s leaving a review.
In a mobile-centric world, you can use your digital systems to drive an excellent player experience from the very first touchpoint, to the very last. So if you only have time to make one improvement at your escape room this year, take a critical look at your player experience with the mindset of wanting to eliminate friction.
As an escape room owner, your number one priority should be to ensure your players are having fun. Happy teams make for glowing reviews, which makes for a positive feedback loop of more bookings. And I don’t know about you, but sitting in a lobby reading through a lengthy paper waiver isn’t exactly my idea of fun.
What this looks like for each business is a little different, but some of the most common solutions to friction points Buzzshot can help escape room businesses with include -
Migrating from a paper-based to digital waiver system. When players arrive for their escape time, they can scan a handy QR code to register and sign their waiver immediately. It's one of our most popular time-saving workflow, meaning less time in the lobby and more time engaging with your players.
Using an automated escape room photo system with highly customised templates that capture and issue players photos immediately by email, text, or publishing them online.
Turn all escape data into a real-time leaderboard with ranks and statistics ready for your players the moment they exit their room. Here's how it works at Escape Alaska!
Escape Room Tip 3: Rejig Your Email Marketing Lists
I don’t know about you, but over the holiday period I received way… too… many… emails. A lot of those were from escape rooms. Which was great for helping me choose where to buy gift cards from, or where to book in December, but the blanket “email all” strategy doesn’t work as well all year round.
This makes January the perfect time to go back into your email marketing and rejig those lists. If you’ve followed Tip 1 and you’re collecting data, then having this data feed into your email marketing list (assuming your players have opted in) is a good place to get started.
You can segment your lists based on a player's previous escapes, how many emails they opened over a particular time period, or when they last visited. With a broadcast email system like Buzzshot’s in-built one, you can also personalise your emails based on which of your players have played which rooms - and not just the booking holder, but all participants too. In the new year, why not try:
Sending an email to a player who has played Room A, but not yet Room B - but you think they'll probably enjoy it!
Setting up a custom email for everyone who ‘succeeds’ a certain room with a code to play the sequel.
Set up a special email to go out a week before a player’s birthday.
Segmenting your players by postcode and offering targeted promotions for those who live locally.
Remember, with all email marketing, standing out is key!
Escape Room Tip 4: Expand Your Offering
As we explored in an article last year, one of the biggest challenges for escape room owners is how to increase the per-head spend of customers. After all, once a player has played all your rooms, even if they’re your biggest fan, they’ve reached the limit of their lifetime spend. But there are a few opportunities available to escape rooms to expand, and with the quieter post-holiday season, now’s an excellent time to examine which might be most suitable for you.
One of the more popular options for increasing the per-customer spend at an escape room is also the simplest - open more rooms! Whether a new game within the existing space, or expanding to a new site altogether. However, this is an expensive and time consuming process. An alternative is adding a prequel or sequel experience to the same physical space.2. Offer digital versions of the same experiences
For escape rooms wishing to attract a larger audience, another option is to offer a “play at home” edition of the escape room for players who cannot physically get to your site. All you need is a 360 degree camera, and you’ll be able to create a point-and-click version powered by a platform like Telescape, or a live-avatar hosted experience run by one of your Games Masters on-site.3. Sell board games and tabletop puzzle games
Last but not least, utilising your lobby space to sell a select selection of puzzle games is an excellent way to encourage players to pick up a game to take home. In this article we discuss how this might work and some tactics to encourage more sales.
Hourglass Escape's physical escape room "Rise of the Mad Pharaoh" as a digital Telescape game.
Escape Room Tip 5: Work on Your Online Presence
According to a recent study, 75% of internet users say they used social media to research products and services before making a purchase. In 2024 and beyond, your online presence (and more specifically, social media) cannot be an afterthought. So getting it ‘right’ online is perhaps the most important thing a business can do.
But, here’s the good news. Escape rooms are an incredibly “shareable” experience. People get together with their closest friends, have an exciting experience, then get an excellent opportunity to snap a photo at the end. Here, you have an opportunity to make this moment as frictionless as possible. From printing photographs on demand, to an instant-share on social media. Buzzshot users have an inbuilt system whereby escape room photo templates are created automatically for each team, pulling important information like the company name, escape time, and team name into the photo, then with the tap of a single button sharing the photo to social media.
The photos you snap and share of your players provide a steady stream of high quality marketing materials, and point your players to your social media platforms in an organic and engaging way. It’s the first step to building a stronger and more engaged audience online.
Buzzshot’s customer experience platform is helping thousands of escape rooms around the world, just like yours, improve their business and increase their revenue. No matter the size and scale of your business, you can get started today for free.