COVID-19 is obstructing many industries. Insecurity and uncertainty around the virus mean that people are avoiding events. For many Escape Rooms and other activity providers, this period is all about survival. Our guide will help you make the right decisions.
As you all know, Coronavirus is continuing to spread and halt the productivity of entire countries. Unfortunately, our industry is also affected. As of 16th March, the entirety of Italy has been quarantined. Airports have become ghosttowns, companies are allowing employees to work from home, and group meetings are forbidden. Even some of our partners in the most affected regions are reporting a 50% to 100% drop in bookings or cancellations. Due to how unforeseen and rare this scenario is, this is probably the biggest challenge you will have ever faced as an Escape Room operator.
Just sitting around and waiting for the Coronavirus to pass by is not an option. Now is the time to think of ways to prevent the worst from happening.
Make Your High Hygiene Standards the Forefront of Your Advertising
Whilst the fear of Coronavirus is rational and justified, we as event organisers can reassure our customers by highlighting our high hygiene standards. Whether on the website, social media channels, or even with signs on-site, make it clear to your customers that they are in a clean space.
Improve Cleaning in Your Escape Room
You certainly have high hygiene standards anyway, but due to the contagious nature of COVID-19, it is pivotal that you improve and maintain your cleaning regime. Be sure to follow the following measures to ensure that your guests and rooms are clean:
- Ask your guests to wash their hands before playing the games.
- Offer disposable gloves for players to play with.
- Always have enough disinfectant in stock.
- Air your rooms more often than usual and disinfect all game items after each use.
- Clean your toilets daily.
Prepare Your employees for the Situation
Be transparent with your employees and stress the importance of cleanliness; especially during a pandemic. It is important that they lead by example when it comes to hygiene. Examples include: washing hands, not touching their face, keeping enough soap on-hand. If any of your employees are experiencing even the mildest of symptoms, it is important that they stay at home and self-quarantine.
Negotiate a Temporary Rent Reduction
Despite all the measures, you have to expect your turnover to collapse. This can lead to payment problems.
One of your biggest items on the debit side is rent. Check options with your landlord to see if they can temporarily accommodate you with a reduction.
Being allowed a temporary rent reduction is not as unlikely as you might think. At first, your landlord will earn less money from you. However, this also means that you won’t go bankrupt. So as long as you are a tenant paying something, your landlord is earning an income and doesn’t have to search for a new tenant.
Reduce Additional Expenses
Audit your monthly outgoings to see where you can reduce costs. Among other things, you may be able to optimise the following costs:
- Phone contracts and internet
- Escape Room software
- Magazine and other serial subscriptions
- Service contracts with tradespeople, etc.
Loan repayments can also be an important aspect. If you are paying off a loan, ask your bank or building society if you can temporarily suspend or reduce the repayment.
Reduce Salaries and Make Redundancies
Since your Escape Room bookings have probably dropped, you should also significantly reduce your salary payments. Since many Escape Room employees work part-time, it’s relatively easy to reduce costs at this point.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is to make it clear to your employees in a friendly, but reassuring way, that they are not needed at the moment. Please remember to be genuinely sympathetic – you are not the only business that will be making decisions like this, so the chances of them finding a new position elsewhere is slim. If you plan to rehire your employees after the crisis, tell them.
Customise Your Escape Room Marketing
You should put your current marketing activities to the test. If you are in a quarantined zone where all public life is standing still, you should stop all your campaigns to save money. In other regions, it may make sense to run at least a CPA (Cost per Acquisition) campaign (for example on Google and Facebook).
Do you have the email addresses of previous players who have consented to being contacted? Think about contacting them, highlighting your high hygiene guidelines and offering them a discount on a game.
You can find more Escape Room Marketing Tips in this article.
Sell Vouchers That Can Be Redeemed Later
Every crisis comes to an end at some point. With Coronavirus, we have no idea when it will be over. Nevertheless, you can sell Escape Room vouchers through your online store.
We hope you get through this difficult time well. We are sending our best thoughts and wishes to everyone affected, and we will be happy to help you where we can.