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It’s been a decade since the first escape room has been invented in Japan. Four years later escape games appeared in Hungary and Australia and after that escape-mania has spread across the globe. Is it too late for starting an escape room business? Is this business right for you?
Designing an escape room and watching people play your escape room is fun. But running an escape room business involves hard work, too. Before you quit your job, it’s a good idea to really evaluate whether being an entrepreneur is what you want.
What Happens During a Typical Day at An Escape Room Business?
- Accounting. The internet offers a variety of courses where you can learn accounting for free. If not interested, hire a bookkeeper to do your books for you.
- Advertising. Most escape rooms start with a very tight budget with little or no money set aside for advertising and marketing. That said, finding ways to advertise your escape room business can be challenging.
- Cleaning and maintaining of escape rooms. Props and clues disappear, break or wear out, when you get a lot of traffic. So, be prepared for that and have a second copy of everything handy.
- Designing games. It’s not a trivial task. Many things can go wrong. If you have no experience, consider hiring a professional escape room designer.
- Placing clues for guests to find. Your escape room has to be set up for each new game session.
- Training staff. The Happy staff makes happy clients!
- Escape room website maintenance. Your website is an advertising medium for your escape room business that has the potential of capturing the attention of a large number of people. So, you want to make it visually nice and user-friendly.
Escape Room Challenges for Owners
Here’s a closer look at challenges escape room business owners may be facing, and suggestions for overcoming these obstacles.
Challenge 1: An escape room is a one-time sell
Once customers have experienced a room, they can’t really go back because they know all the secrets. It’s challenging to survive with no repeating business.
Solution: Build more rooms. While doing that, have in mind that the new generation escape rooms require more technology as players demand higher quality and innovative games. Another solution is to partner with other escape room nearby. So, when someone asks you what are the best rooms, recommend them a couple of your partners. I believe they will do the same for you.
Challenge 2: Staff members needed per an escape room business
If you hire someone full-time you might not be able to be fully booked and justify their pay. On the other hand, if you hire staff part-time, you have to make sure that you have someone available when you have bookings.
- Have several rooms in one location
- Set up the room schedule so that your slots don’t start at the same time (or you need double staff)
- Use Orioly online booking software
Challenge 3: While promoting escape room, you can’t describe what’s inside; it’s a secret.
Advertising of an escape room can be tricky because of that. You’re actually selling something invisible. You can’t show it to your customers until after they’ve paid for it. So, how to convince them to pay for something they aren’t allowed to see?
Solution: One-minute videos might help you. It’s like watching a movie trailer before going to the cinema. Publish the video on your YouTube channel and promote it on social networks.
Are Escape Rooms Profitable?
Today United States offer 243 escape rooms, but Europe is the leader! There are 3 times more escape rooms than on the American and Asian continents. What proves its popularity is the fact that the first Room Escape World championship was held in March 2017, in Hungary. It was a huge event where more than 9000 players took part in the qualifications.
People are curious and excited by mysteries. So, it’s no surprise that escape rooms are adored by everyone – tourists and locals. While locals visit escape rooms to spend a good time with their colleagues at team buildings, for tourists that’s the part of whole experience connected to the country they visited.
The industry may hit saturation within the next five years, business incubator Updraft Ventures founder Giuseppe Crosti predicts, but every region will have its own saturation point. It is too early to tell what that point is because no market is there yet.
Like most retail trends, the future of escape rooms is hard to predict. But if you follow the clues, you just might figure it out.