I’d bet most of us are known as “that person who knows about escape rooms” to at least some of our friends and family. I suggest we all lean into that. Be that person. Why not? It’s cool to be an expert. Maximize your role as that person who knows about good escape rooms.
In the latest version of their US Escape Room Industry Report, Room Escape Artist warns about the serious threat that low quality escape rooms pose to the entire industry. They predict that the low end of the market is a bigger threat to the longevity of the industry than a pandemic or an economic downturn. Bad experiences don’t create return customers.
Recently while making small talk at an airport, I told a stranger that I was traveling to play escape rooms. His response was, “Those escape rooms never really took off, did they? I think everyone figured out they were all basically the same thing. Like copies of each other.”
That comment drove home the threat. How many people have just written off escape rooms with a negative mindset? They are either thinking, “escape rooms are not worth my time because I had a bad experience” or they’ve decided that “playing more escape rooms is not worth my time because they are all the same.”
How can we prevent the people in our lives from coming to that same conclusion?
Be Their Guide
If you know people who only occasionally play escape rooms or only when they go on vacation… make sure you have suggestions for high quality games for them. If you are going to play a really good room, invite them to play with you. Show other people how great this hobby and this art form can be.
Have quick access to information about other markets. I have friends that live thousands of miles away, but they still ask me for recommendations for the best games in their own home city because they know that I know where to find that information. When friends and family travel to other cities, I’ll mention to them if there is a really great escape room they could check out, even if I’ve never been there myself.
Be The Planner
Normal people often get in the mood for an escape room at the last minute. They don’t think about them 23.5 hours per day like we do. When I meet friends in Las Vegas or Florida or wherever else, they often just assume I will have a quality escape room planned for the group… and I try not to disappoint. As a result, many of the non-enthusiasts in my life have only played top quality escape rooms, and they think highly of this type of entertainment.
I am doing my part for my friends by coming through as that guy who knows about escape rooms. However, I’m also doing a service for the industry by displaying it in the best light that I can.
A wise and witty escape room owner once told me that regular people like escape rooms more than enthusiasts do. And he makes a good point. The average escape room customer might be happy with just about anything, but if you have the chance to steer someone down the path of playing a high percentage of good quality games, please do so. I’ve found that players who take that journey are more appreciative of the medium and more excited to get the chance to play more escape games. They become supporters of the industry and are less likely to share the opinion of that airport stranger.