How to Create a More Efficient Escape Room Check-in

Posted in Time Management by Katie on Mon 18 November 2019

How well do your escape room players rate their check-in experience with you? Have you ever asked?

If not, gathering some survey data from your players can be a very helpful place to start when examining your systems and processes. As a general rule, people appreciate efficiency and feeling like your check-in gave them a warm welcome.

Your check-in process should be part of an overall great experience for all players, hopefully leading to positive reviews! Let’s look at how you can make this crucial part of the player experience a smooth one:

Free download: Our checklist for escape room check-in ideas

Efficient check-in

Most escape rooms will already be using an online booking system. If you are too, that’s a great start! Studies show that if you don’t have online booking as an option, you may be missing out on a significant portion of your customer base.

Some key findings include:

  • 56.4 percent of respondents are frustrated with waiting on hold and the inconvenient office hours related to scheduling appointments by phone.
  • 31 percent of respondents would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options.
Having a good online booking system is important, but when it comes to check-in, you still usually only have the details of the original player who made the booking. You need to check in everyone who is playing and ensure you meet regulatory requirements. This may also include the signing of waivers.

You could hand out paper forms and get each player to fill them out, however this tends to be the most time-consuming option, both for players and your staff. Not only that, you run the risk that staff can’t read what was written on the forms, meaning they can’t enter data into your system later!

The most efficient means of gathering check-in data and having players sign waivers is to have a software solution that will do both. This provides a more seamless experience for players and ensures that you can read that information later.

Importantly, an electronic solution can allow you to skip “extra” steps. For example, entering data from paper forms into an electronic system is an extra step. This is not necessary if the data is entered electronically in the first place and can be sent to your main system. An example of this is how Buzzshot has an integration with Mailchimp. This means player details can be automatically uploaded to your email list.

Escape room check-in

Positive customer experience

Ensuring that the check-in system you use is seamless and as easy as possible for players is one part of creating a positive experience for them. The more you can minimise time spent on simply checking in, the better for the players. There are some other aspects of the check-in experience that you might consider, for example:

  • Providing a comfortable entry and waiting area. Teams usually arrive a few minutes early to check-in, so it’s nice for them to have a clean, tidy, comfortable place to wait. Have nice furniture, a water cooler, possibly even a vending machine of snacks to choose from.
  • Make sure entry and waiting areas are kept clean. Someone should be checking in between groups that it is tidy and that nothing needs cleaning up.
  • Have clear signage to point out where the bathrooms are. These should also be regularly checked and kept clean!
  • Consider having small puzzles or games available in the waiting area to help get players into their “game brain.”
  • Make the waiting area interesting! It should say something about your escape rooms, for example by including some key themes or pieces of interest.

Getting players ready

A theme that consistently comes up among reviews of escape rooms is that players want to be properly briefed and introduced to the experience. You may have some escape room “experts” among your clientele, but many players will be coming in for the first time, especially as escape room popularity continues to grow!

Players appreciate being gathered in a staging area and given a briefing that includes:

  • Letting them know they won’t actually be unable to leave the room. Many people assume that they’re quite literally trapped until they figure out how to unlock the door, which of course has all sorts of safety implications and can panic some people. Players should be told which door is left unlocked.
  • Any relevant rules. For example, some escape rooms don’t allow people to re-enter the room if they choose to leave.
  • An explanation of what to expect. For example, you might tell people that everything they need to know in order to escape is contained within the room.
  • Any safety or other rules to look after people and the room. For example, perhaps there are instructions such as; nothing needs to be climbed, no jumping/ there is nothing hidden under the floor, if the object or furniture is fixed down, it stays there, don’t try to force anything that is locked or glued down, look around the room to decipher what is there, no food or drink in the room...
  • Any suggestions for how to organise themselves. For example; “this basket is provided to keep any objects or small clues that you find.”
  • Explain that no mobile phones or cameras are allowed in the room (to avoid spoiling the puzzle for future players!)
  • An explanation if there are any locks involved that may need resetting, and how to find instructions to do so.
  • How many hints they will be allowed and how they can ask for them.
What makes this process more efficient? You could have staff memorise (or read from) a prepared briefing, or, for maximum efficiency use a briefing video. You should always have a staff member present though, to give personal attention to any questions.

Note that this is separate to the actual introduction to the room, at which point the Game Master should be more of a narrator or storyteller, setting the scene and the tone of the experience. The idea is to get the guests into the characters they are playing within the story that has been created. (For some escape rooms, it is much easier to use video for a standard briefing, then the Game Master for the individual room).

Streamlining your other tasks

Moving forward, a streamlined check-in experience using good software can help make a whole host of follow-up tasks much easier. This is especially true when there are integrations or features that save you from taking extra steps. Here are some examples:

  • Create leaderboards using team names
  • Propagate email addresses of all players, from check-in to Mailchimp, allowing follow-up marketing
  • Automatically send out reminders via email or SMS, asking people to review their experience.
Escape room check-in

Download our checklist of escape room check-in ideas here

Final thoughts

Your escape room check-in helps to set the tone for the whole experience for your guests. For many of them, this will be the first time they have made any sort of contact with you, so it’s important that their impression of you is a good one.

Using check-in software that is easy to use and captures the information of each player is a great start to a smooth process. From there, your waiting area should be clean and interesting, with guest comfort in mind.

Players should go from a seamless check-in to an excellent introduction, so that they feel well-prepared for their game. Always remember that first impressions count - they will often carry those throughout their escape experience.

Escape Room Check-in Checklist