What is an escape room?
Posted in Marketing by Mairi Nolan on Wed 25 January 2023
Escape room players come in all shapes and sizes: Some book an escape room very occasionally - perhaps once a year on a special occasion. Others voluntarily travel around seeking out the newest, most exciting rooms to get locked up in each weekend!
But there’s one thing every player has in common: They all had a first room. The moment the hobby began.
Marketing, when done well, can encourage existing escape room players to return to a venue. This could be something as exciting as launching a new room, or running a special offer to players over the holiday season. But there’s one pool of customers these traditional methods of marketing don’t reach: brand new players who have never considered an escape room before.
In this article we look at some of the methods you can use to attract new players to your escape room.
What exactly is an escape room?
The main barrier to marketing to new players is simple: They do not know what an escape room is. From fears of actually being locked in, to assuming all rooms have a ‘horror’ theme, to the average cost of entry being higher than many other activities, there are countless misconceptions the average non-escape room player might have.
There is no practical way that one escape room owner can rapidly increase the general public’s understanding. Rather, as Google Trends show, this broad understanding will gradually increase over time.
Instead, a business can focus on its local community and the demographics they would like to target. In short: Who are your people, where are they, and who do they trust?
Advertising In-Person, or Digitally?
One of the key questions a business should ask itself is where are potential players in the local community. Are they online? Or are they visiting community centres, shopping at particular supermarkets, or already visiting other activities like the bowling alley?
When it comes to customer profiles, we asked a selection of escape room owners what type of groups enjoy visiting their venue the most. We found:
Families: Looking for intergenerational fun that everyone can get involved in and bond over. An escape room is an alternative to ‘screen time’ where everyone is focused on spending time with one another.
Couples: An escape room is a quirky date night activity that allows for health competition on a level playing field. Successful relationships involve giving, and escape room is also a chance for a couple to gift one another their time.
Corporate Teams: An escape room is an excellent team building activity for a group of work colleagues, it tests co-operation, logic and problem solving in a fun environment. Unlike work drinks on a Friday night, they can also be more inclusive.
Whilst these different groups may be found in different places in your community, one of the common things that link them is that they're all looking for a fun activity to do. Something a little different, whether for a date, teambuilding, or keeping the kids entertained.
In this digital age, posters, flyers and billboards are still as popular, and if not more so if your target audience aren’t digitally minded. An escape room’s brand is puzzles and mystery, so why not take it a step further and run a community event whereby ‘golden tickets’ to come and play are hidden. This way players also get a flavour of what to expect.
As we all know, a great way to explain something to people is to show them. However a potential player is unlikely to be subscribed to your mailing list, or follow your social media. So one way you can teach them about your escape room is through influencer marketing.
Step 1: Identify popular bloggers and personalities who post about similar activities. They might be posting about “Things to do in Your Area”, or more specifically, similar activities such as visiting funfairs, visiting Haunted Houses, Geocaching, playing jigsaws, or activities focused around the family.
Step 2: Reach out and invite them to play one of your escape rooms. Some may accept a discount, some might prefer to play for free, and others may require a fee. It’s good practice to offer them a code to use when they post about the room so you can track conversion later.
Step 3: Make sure they have a good time! You know your rooms are fantastic, now’s the time to show them just how much.
Step 4: Wait for the content to be posted, and track how well the content performs. This will determine what works and what doesn’t work for your business.
All this to say, an influencer doesn’t have to be your city’s top Instagram model. If your business model is centred around getting larger, corporate bookings you may wish to instead invite a local business to come and play a series of rooms as part of their team building, in exchange for a few well-placed LinkedIn posts.
Making Magical Memories
So, you’ve put all your efforts into marketing and attracted a whole host of brand new players to your escape room. They’re coming to visit soon. Great!
But your marketing efforts don’t stop there, in fact - the next step is the most crucial. Now it’s time to turn those players from not knowing what an escape room is, to becoming evangelists about you and your brand.
You already know your escape rooms are fantastic, but what about the rest of the experience? From the first touchpoint, to waving goodbye at the door, to following-up later and encouraging them to revisit. You want to make this flow as seamless and supportive as possible.
At Buzzshot, we take care of the customer journey from start to finish.
On arrival, no clunky paper waivers. Your players can scan a QR code, sign a digital waiver, and sign up for email marketing all from their own device. Check-in, a piece of cake - giving you and your business more time to get into the fun stuff, like briefing them on their room and getting them in the game!
After the experience, their photo will be delivered direct to them with an automatic SMS or email, as well as a personalised note from your games master. With a handy CRM system, you can keep track of who is visiting, when, and with which group. Nothing makes marketing easier than understanding the players you’ll then invite back later.
Only you know you and your escape room business, so you know best how to make those memories magical. Buzzshot is here to support escape room businesses of all sizes. Get started today with a free demo at: