How to Get Good Google, Yelp and Tripadvisor Reviews For Your Escape Room

Posted in Marketing by James Meggitt on Wed 27 March 2024

James Meggitt is an experience designer based in Fremantle, Western Australia, and the manager of Fox in a Box Perth. With almost 8 years experience you’ll often find him working on puzzley tabletop games or constructing physical room builds around Australia. Over the course of his career, his escape rooms have boasted thousands of 5-star reviews and sit at the top of their respective review sites. In this article, James will be sharing some of the tips that have kept his escape rooms competitive when it comes to online reviews.

Need reviews fast? Here are some tips on how to get your escape room customers to leave positive reviews.

Having a strong online presence and a substantial amount of reviews is a must for any successful escape room business in today’s day and age. The research is clear that positive reviews build customer trust but that negative reviews turn them away. For example, a 2023 survey by BrightLocal found that 92% of consumers say that Google reviews in particular influence their decision to purchase from a local business. With escape rooms, this is even more crucial when it comes to spreading interest, as many local would-be customers may not even fully understand what an escape room is. But they will understand a good review.

But how do you get reviews? More importantly, how do you get good reviews? In this article I will outline some steps, tips, and strategies you can use to maximize your reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and beyond.

Getting Good Escape Room Reviews

Whilst having fantastic rooms is one crucial part, the real key to a 5-star review will come down to customer service. In my experience, excellent customer service contains the following three things:

  1. A memorable escape room experience

  2. A customer experience that exceeds expectation

  3. A call to action for the custom to leave the review

A Memorable Escape Room Experience

Having a memorable escape room experience doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and spend a fortune on improving your room. It just means you must have something special about it. First, ask yourself “What is that great moment here, at my business?” Then, figure out how to make that moment count.

Depending on your business model, this moment could also serve as a key marketing point, attracting customers who are looking for something in particular. Whether it’s a family friendly room, whether it’s a particular “ah-ha” moment within the experience itself, like a secret second room or a great reveal. Perhaps it’s that your venue is uniquely set up to handle large bookings, such as parties or corporate get-togethers.

An Experience That Exceed Expectations

The reality is that every customer expects a 5-star experience from you. This is their baseline operation. So if you have someone walk into your business, request your service, pay, and then leave, then that customer's expectations are met and they will forget about you as soon as they leave the building.

So to stand out and give a review-worthy experience, you need to provide an experience to your customer that exceeds expectations. This isn’t as difficult as it may sound, here are some suggestions on how you could do it.

  1. Greet your customer as they enter your business (if you’re busy with someone else be sure to let them know you will be with them shortly). Being acknowledged as soon as you enter is a great feeling and immediately makes your customer feel seen and heard.

  2. Remember your customer’s name. Feeling important is memorable. Simply reminding someone that you know who they are will make them feel like you really care.

  3. Make it personal. Be authentic with your customer. Treat them as if you’ve just met them at a party and are interested in what they have to say. If they ask you about your day, be honest with them. Not everyone wants to chit chat but everyone wants to feel like they are interacting with a genuine human being. Give your customer the opportunity to connect with you.

  4. Listen to feedback. If a customer has had a negative experience with your business then listen to them to understand what has made them speak out to you. There is always something to learn from a customer who has not had their expectations met and there is always something you can do about it. Yes it costs your business money to refund a product or a service, but that cost can also be considered an investment in improving your business. The more you do this, the less it will happen.

  5. Ask questions. During the feedback process ask lots of questions to find out exactly how the customer wants their problem solved. Most people will complain because they feel as if something unfair has happened to them. Find out how and why that is the case and ask them to tell you what can be done to fix it. They will often want to be heard and the scales rebalanced in their favor.

The Call to Action

Last, and perhaps most importantly, is actually asking for reviews. At the end of the day, you will not get reviews unless you:

A. Make it easy for your customer to leave one

B. Ask for one

Both of these actions are crucial to increasing your online review count. Once you have given your customer an outstanding experience you will need to ask them to leave a review. This can be done in a variety of ways and unfortunately yes, a lot of those ways can feel a little awkward. But here are some tips to make the interaction a lot more seamless:

  1. Ask for help directly. Before the customer has left, ask them for a favor. The request can look like this “can I ask you a favor? Our google reviews are really important for a business like ours. Would you mind leaving us one? It would really help us out.” When you ask for help first you position the customer as a valuable guide in your journey. People are more inclined to leave a review when you ask them.

  2. Incentivise your staff. For every staff member mentioned in a 5-star review by name, pay them $2 - $5. Over a 12 month period, I successfully managed to get over 1000 5-star reviews with my team at an escape room business I was working with. They were getting between 100 - 200 5-star reviews per month. The outlay to the staff was usually around the $500 mark. Honestly? This was worth its weight in gold as we easily surpassed not only every other business in the area, but were the highest rated business of its kind in the state. Seeing as companies invest thousands of dollars per month in marketing, this was definitely a cost effective way to be the best looking google result.

  3. Review Cards. Design and print business cards with a QR code linked to the review page of your choice. On the card put a call to action like “What made you smile today? Tell us in a review”. Review cards, handed out with a treat will work. For the best effect, use them in conjunction with some of the other methods above and you’ll find yourself getting results immediately.

  4. Put a call out to Local Guides. We love our local guides. For example, Google’s gamified review leaving strategy enables people to get badges and tokens from Google when they leave reviews. As a result local guides are prolific google review leavers. Other review sites offer similar incentives. Reach out to them specifically as you know they will leave a review if they have a positive experience. Put a sign up asking for people to contact you letting you know if they are a local guide. When they do, give them that first-class experience.

  5. Follow up emails. Buzzshot’s automatic email at the end of the player's game is also able to add conditional factors such as which room they played, their name, and whether they won or lost. This allows you to curate your message to better speak to the emotionality of the player’s experience. I would strongly suggest writing a custom player completion email for each room and include conditional responses for whether they won or lost. Remind them that posting a review is an opportunity to help your business succeed, and to make them feel special.

Here is an example of a personalized review request in the Buzzshot automated email feature

“Dear [[player’s name here]],

I really enjoyed being your Game Master today and wanted to thank you for playing our [[room name here]] room.

If you had a great time it would mean a lot to me if you were to mention my name in a review using one of the links below. It makes me feel super special and word of mouth referrals are such an important part of our business. Your input makes a difference, trust me.

Thank you for supporting us here at [[escape room] and I hope to see you back again. Kind regards,

[[game master name here]]”

Positive Escape Room Reviews, The Verdict

At the end of the day there is no one action or strategy that will get you results alone. They must be used in conjunction in order to elevate the quality of your business and customer experience. If you remember to give your customers an experience that exceeds their expectations and then ask them to review your business, you will see your review ratings increase. It may not happen overnight, but consistency and a clear strategy has helped many escape room businesses outnumber competitors and increase sales. Remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but any new business strategy is always worth considering the cost. How much are you currently losing out not sitting at the top of Yelp, Google, or TripAdvisor? Can you really afford that cost?

I hope this article empowers you to take action and build better customer experiences that help your business grow.

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James Meggitt

James Meggitt is an experience designer based in Fremantle, Western Australia, and the manage of Fox in a Box Perth. With almost 8 years experience you’ll often find him working on puzzley tabletop games or constructing physical room builds around Australia.