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Standing Out from the Crowd: How Do Escape Rooms Fare?

by | Dec 18, 2019

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With the rising popularity of Escape Rooms, it can be quite difficult to stand out from your competitors. However, with the combination of authenticity, outstanding service, and the willingness to engage with new audiences, Escape Room operators can simply create unique selling points. Are you struggling for a bit of inspiration? Read ahead for 5 tips to help you out!

1. A Great Story, and Even Greater Puzzles

It may sound obvious, however, holding high standards of quality for your rooms is the basic requirement for success. Only when the players are having fun will they recommend your Escape Room (known as Word of Mouth Marketing).

Poorly designed rooms with simplistic puzzles might still exist, especially in rooms that existed at the very beginning of the Escape Room trend. However, those who have not rethought and optimised their rooms, puzzles and storylines to meet modern standards, will have a hard time – and will only attract players by offering high discounts, for example. In the long run, only the good Escape Rooms will survive.

A credible backstory is pivotal; it speaks for the high quality of an Escape Room. Whether it be an agent thriller, zombie apocalypse, or bunker adventure – there are hardly any limits to your own imagination; you can also think of stories that suit your city.

Escape Rooms, which make exciting events from the history of the city come alive, have a special appeal for gamers.

We at Cluetivity are based in Berlin. There are, for example, Live Escape Games that are themed around the DDR. Sometimes, people try to flee the German Democratic Republic within 60 minutes. Sometimes, you take on the role of an agent with the State Security (Stasi).

As you can imagine, these rooms pair quite nicely with Berlin. They are based on real events and belong to the history of the city. But such a setting also requires a certain degree of sensitivity, because many fates are linked to the Berlin Wall and the escape from the east. In any case, it is important that the story is told stringently and that the facility fits the setting.

Equipment like pistols, a tape recorder and a police file fit in the setting of an agent-inspired story in the once separated Berlin.

It’s important that customers have an authentic experience when they play your game. This includes that the decoration matches the theme of the room. For example, old switches and consoles, uniforms and documents must fit in with the GDR setting, but also furniture and other furnishings in the 1960s and 1970s style if you’re trying to recreate a historical, East German living room.

Looking for advice on props for your Escape Room? We’ve already got you covered. Click here to check out our top tips!

Once you have authentic props, you will of course also need interesting and challenging, but solvable puzzles to match. Codebreaking is a classic among Escape Room puzzles. But you can also make this exciting if you cleverly weave the solution into history. In our Outdoor Live Escape Game, Operation Mindfall, we’ve included a riddle in which players have to connect a code scanner to a router to get a combination of numbers. Since Operation Mindfall resembles a modern agent thriller, the technical props fit perfectly into the setting.

The code scanner and the router are Escape Room Props for Operation Mindfall.
When the code scanner is connected to the router, it generates a secret code, which the players will need to solve the game.

Puzzles with base plates that trigger special effects are arguably, less conventional. However, they can prove to be far more interesting. With the option to change the colours of the lights, release smells, open door, the possibilities are endless. You could even configure puzzles that can only be solved as a team. How about a key trapped behind glass that the players can’t access at first? The key could be blocked by obstacles. But from a second room, players can move the key without seeing it, while players in the first room shout out how to get around the obstacles. These intricately designed puzzles will do wonders for making your games just a bit more interactive.

2. A Unique Experience

In order to survive on the market, Escape Room operators must think innovatively, be ahead of the curve, and offer new experiences. In addition to varied puzzles, using live-action actors in Escape Rooms is becoming increasingly more popular. The actors slip into their roles and prepare the customers for their upcoming scenario prior to the actual game. Providing subtle hints, setting the scene, and creating an atmosphere in this time, the actors contribute to an immersive experience. They may already drop in tips for the first few puzzles, so it’s worthwhile for the players to be attentive right from the very start.

If you employ an Escape Room actor, they can also take on several roles. Their appearances are usually limited to a few minutes.

Actors make the Escape Room even more authentic and entertaining.

Likewise, the role of the Game Master is gaining in importance. In the early days of Escape Games, Game Masters may have assumed the role of a neutral observer. Their role would be to explain the equipment and offer relatively neutral comments and tips during the game. But today, their entire appearance should be molded into the scenario. Nobody is expecting an Oscar-winning performance, but it’s important that your actors and staff don’t ruin the mood of adventure with their appearance.

3. 100 % Reliability and Professionalism

Whether it be an Escape Room, paintball or lasertag provider, we are all part of the leisure and entertainment industry – and we all know that things are usually rather flexible.

However, that doesn’t mean a laissez-faire attitude when dealing with your customers is acceptable. Remember: we are all service providers, and service providers are expected to go above and beyond expectations. Our partners expect us to always be there for them if they have any questions or requests regarding our games. Therefore, your customers expect the exact same from you. This includes reliability, outstanding service, and an unforgettable gaming experience.

Absolute professionalism is required, especially in the B2B region (Business to Business). Bookings from corporate customers can allow your sales to skyrocket, but these customers need to have a flawless experience with you. Many companies only send their employees to a company event once or twice a year – what is another customer for you is a special day out for your customer.

If their booking goes excellently, the company may also send more teams and sister companies to you.

So, what makes a professional service for corporate customers an outstanding service? It starts with the booking request. Be sure to respond promptly (ideally within 24 to 48 hours) to a B2B request. To avoid answering menial questions, consider building a FAQ page for corporate customers on your website, which answers common questions. However, remember that flexibility is also required for company events, because companies often need individual solutions for their unique team events.

Our outdoor city rallies Operation Mindfall and Magic Portal can be a solution for enquiries from large groups. Since the games take place outside, there is almost no player limit. Whether 20 or 2000 participants, it’s all just a matter of organisation.

4. Open Up to New Target Groups

Pouncing on corporate customers is the first aspect of our next tip: expanding your target group. Companies are increasingly using Escape Rooms for team events and assessment centres. Whilst it’s trendy for businesses to do this at the moment, make offers around it to completely use it to your advantage.

Read here how to find out how you can win corporate customers for your Escape Room.

B2B companies offer extensive amounts of potential. It’s not just that companies usually come with large groups, but they often book appointments during your off-peak hours. You’ll be able to make money during periods that are usually considered to be quieter.

If the groups are too large for your premises, you can send the teams on outdoor adventures through the city with our games. Operation Mindfall and The Magic Portal are suitable for bridging the slump that providers of indoor activities often have. Because in sunshine and high temperatures, many people prefer to be outside. It works with a GPS outdoor team game.

Even if you are already quite successful in your regular bookings, there is still potential to increase your revenue here. Have you ever thought about specific offers for stag or hen parties, birthdays and children?

Outdoor games are the ideal solution for large groups.

In order to be found on relevant topics such as “Escape Room for Stag Parties”, it’s best to create a separate section for this on your website. There, you will be to fully explain just what’s special about your offer. Does the bride or groom play for free in a group registration? Are drinks included? Do the players stop off at relevant locations during the game (e.g. a bar for a quick drink)? All of these things are important factors for customers to consider.

If you want to offer Escape Rooms for children, the most important thing is that your rooms are age appropriate. The setting shouldn’t be too frightening, and the puzzles should be slightly more lenient than in adult Escape Rooms.

5. Meals on Wheels? Nope. More Like Escapes on Skates!

Another rising trend is mobile Escape Rooms. There are already some providers who just got ahead of the game, but it’s not too late to expand your offerings with an Escape Room adventure on wheels. This gives your customers the opportunity to host their event at any location. A mobile Escape Room is also suitable for promotions in shopping centres, school fetes, and a plethora of other events.

So that you convert even more bookings for your mobile Escape Room, the gameplay should be as flexible as possible. There should be functionality to integrate products, brands, and topics that are important to the customer. You can also think about varying the length of the game. If your target demographic is people merely passing-by, a playing time of 60 minutes can be far too long. It would make sense to offer a condensed game with a playing time of 20 to 30 minutes. People will also be thinking more about their shopping, and not using all of their brain power on the game. Think about offering less complicated puzzles so your players enjoy themselves (and think about booking to play the full versions of your games!).

To successfully stand out from the competition, clever marketing that goes the extra mile is your best bet. Think about how you reach out to your target audience – communicate with them in a way that your competitors are not. If you’re struggling for ideas, we’ve even listed 7 Tips for Marketing on a Budget for you here.

What USPs do your games have? Let us know in the comments below! And if you want to find out more about our augmented reality games, get in touch with us!

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