There is an art to introducing new players to escape rooms.
Escape rooms are still new to most players. As such, first time players are precious.
If new players enjoy their first escape room, they add themselves to the player pool and spread the word. The industry will grow. If they have a bad experience, however, they could be turned off from the concept. Should enough new players walk away unhappy, industry growth will slow and eventually halt.
Types of excellence
Excellent escape room experiences comes in different forms. We recognize some of these games themselves with our Golden Lock-In Award. We’ve given shoutouts to other games in a blog post about innovation.
There are also companies who are deliberately crafting a complete customer experience, and these are the companies that we want everyone to learn from.
Escape room ambassadors
We would be thrilled if everyone played their first escape room at a company that is designed around the needs of their customers.
These companies bring new players into the fold with a consistently fun and polished experience from start to finish. While frequently less flashy, this design is valuable for the sustainable growth of an industry.
So, what are they doing right?
Most customers’ first impression of an escape room is through the website.
The website clearly explains the activity and who would enjoy it. It’s welcoming and easy to understand. Players will already have a feel for the experience before they arrive.
The product offerings – individual games – are easy to find and book. It displays location, synopsis, team size, game duration, pricing, and rules upfront.
Navigation is clear and the website answers most player questions. Contact information is also readily available. If the player calls the facility, an informed person will answer. If that player emails, they will receive a prompt and helpful response.
The facility is easy to find. It is a “storefront” on a main street with excellent signage and clear parking or public transportation options.
The entryways and lobbies are inviting, bright, friendly, and comfortable. There is room to sit. There are also amenities including water, restrooms, and sometimes snacks, games or merchandise for purchase.
The facility feels like a polished and professional business… because it is a polished and professional business.
Customers are greeted by friendly, welcoming staff. These folks are engaging. They make a point to get to know their customers. They are listening so that from an initial conversation, they can tailor the experience to any group.
There are multiple people on staff at any given time. Staff members each have a job – whether front desk, gamemaster, or something less customer facing. They don’t attempt to be everything to everyone. Players know that at any given time, a particular staff member is focused on their experience.
The staff are knowledgeable about their own games and the local escape room community. They do not bash their competition. They are prepared to recommend other quality facilities in the area.
The escape rooms are designed for the uneducated consumer, but still a lot of fun for those with experience.
The environment is exciting, but not overly intimidating. The spaces are clean and safe. Players don’t have to abide by tons of detailed rules. The puzzles are approachable. The room escapes flow logically. The props are serviced regularly.
The escape rooms are themed and cohesive.
The room escapes have fun and memorable moments that people will tell their friends about. New players won’t recognize market innovation or design sophistication. They will, however, appreciate a fun and memorable experience.
Where should you send first-time players?
Family and Corporate-Friendly
These companies provide an inviting, polished customer experience as outlined above.
- The Escape Game (Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Minneapolis)
- Escape Room Live (Alexandria, DC, Georgetown)
Entertainment for Adults
These companies market their escape rooms to adults seeking intense entertainment. Yet, the same business principles apply. For the right audience, these will also be incredible introductory room escape experiences.
Be an escape room ambassador
Your market isn’t everyone. If you want to be an escape room ambassador to uninitiated escapers, cater to their needs. If they don’t have a good time throughout every aspect of the experience, you are contributing to the industry’s demise rather than its growth.