Help us find closed room escapes

We could use a little bit of help…

We’re gearing up to run our 2017 escape room industry growth numbers (2016). One of the big questions that we will be addressing is the number of closures.

While our incredible team of map maintainers has done an amazing job of finding new escape rooms companies on nearly a daily basis, nothing beats local knowledge when it comes to finding closures.

Stylized photo of a map of the north eastern quarter of the United States

Help us share the knowledge

Would you be so kind as to look at our map or spreadsheet and tell us if anything in your area (or areas that you’re familiar with) is missing or incorrect?

  • Did something new open?
  • Do we have a name or address wrong?
  • Has a company closed its doors or moved?

Our directory covers escape rooms in the United States, Canada near the US border, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Please email any updates in your area to RoomEscapeArtist@gmail.com or fill out the contact form. In your update, please let us know the company’s website url and physical address.

We appreciate your help keeping this directory up to date, and plan to fold these updates into our next report on the growth of the US market.

 

Should you Crowdfund an Escape Room? A Data-Driven Look

Most crowdfunded escape rooms fail… but does the data reveal ways to improve the odds?

kickstarter-logo

Hypotheses

  • Most crowdfunded escape rooms fail.
  • Crowdfunding escape rooms has had diminishing returns over time.
  • Most successful escape room crowdfunding campaigns set a low monetary goal.

Methodology

Since 2013, there have been 84 escape room Kickstarter campaigns. We collected the following data points for each campaign:

  • Campaign Name
  • Close Date
  • Location
  • Success/Fail/Cancel
  • Campaign Goal
  • Earned Money
  • Number of Backers
  • Tabletop?

We converted all local currencies to US Dollars using the conversion rate for the date that the campaign closed.

We removed Kickstarters for tabletop escape room games from the analysis below. In doing so, we removed the most significant outlier from the data.*

We focused this study on Kickstarter, the most widely used crowdfunding platform for escape rooms. This limited the variables in the data set. Note that there have also been escape room campaigns on Indiegogo and GoFundMe.

Analysis

Of the 84 escape room Kickstarter campaigns analyzed, 20 completed successfully. That’s a 25% success rate.

Over time

Crowdfunding Campaigns Over Time, shows a regular increase in campaign, but diminishing numbers of successful campaigns.

Each year there have been more Kickstarter escape room campaigns. (Note that the data for 2017 is only for the first quarter.) On the flip side, each year fewer of these campaigns have been successful.

Geography

Crowdfunding Campaigns by Country shows campaigns in Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, the US, and other. Most campaigns were in the US. UK campaigns were more successful by ratio.

Escape rooms in the United States used Kickstarter the most. This was followed by the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Germany, in that order. There was one campaign each from Australia, Belgium, and Canada.

Money

Average goal vs earnings: Shows that the average goal runs around $15,000 while the average earnings for escape rooms hovers a little over $2000.

Most escape rooms didn’t even come close to achieving their campaign funding goal. In this regard, the United States was no different from any other country.

Gap in Goal vs Earnings: Shows that most campaigns miss their goal by a very wide margin, while the successful campaigns just barely exceed their goal.

Successful campaigns set lower goals. On average, the goal of successful campaigns was 1/3 of the dollar value of campaigns overall.

Most successful campaigns barely achieved their funding goals. On average, successful campaigns met their funding goal with 119%. More than half of these made their goals with less than 110%.

Inference: This likely means that many of these campaigns were pushed past their funding threshold by the game’s creators. It’s likely not a coincidence that most successful campaigns just barely exceeded their goal.

Backers

Average number of backers shows that most campaign receive an average of 25 backers, while successful campaigns receive an average of 65 backers.

On average successful campaigns had more than twice as many backers as campaigns over all. They were likely reaching beyond their family and friends.

Canceled campaigns

5 campaigns were canceled prior to failure. In one instance, the company relaunched a new campaign after the canceled one. The original campaign set a goal at $7,500. When they tried again, they set a more attainable goal of $1,500. They successfully raised $1,520. To succeed, they lowered the goal and then just barely attained it.

Kickstarter’s stats for all industries

According to kickstarter’s published stats (which are continually updated), 35% of all launched campaigns have successfully completed.

A general category, “games” is right in line with this at a 34% success rate.

I initially thought that it may have been the limited geography of escape rooms that resulted in a lower success rate, but the theater category seems to disprove that assumption. Kickstarters for theater complete successfully 60% of the time.

My assumption is that escape rooms are less well known and not viewed as an inherent public good in the same way as theater.

There are a lot of reasons why Kickstarter campaigns fail. Given the general Kickstarter trends, escape room campaigns have room for better performance.

Success stories

These were the 5 most successful escape room Kickstarter campaigns:

Chart depicting campaign outliers; the only 5 campaigns to exceed their goal by 150% or more.

With one exception, they had modest goals relative to the data set.

The earliest one from 2014 was Sherlocked, which we visited in Amsterdam and loved. Most of these were more recent. Perhaps they looked at the data before they dove in?

The outlier of the outliers

Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment has been the most successful escape room Kickstarter campaign to date. It raised an impressive $135,429, which is 695% of the original campaign goal.

Escape Room in a Box co-creators Juliana Patel and Ariel Rubin spent 3 months researching and preparing their Kickstarter campaign before it launched. They looked for resources within the established board game industry. They recommend the following:

Juliana and Ariel also recommend that before launching a Kickstarter, you join the community, both locally and on the internet. If you engage with the community, you’ll have a better idea of what the players want and how to differentiate your experience from what’s already available.

Conclusion & recommendations

Three quarters of crowdfunded escape room attempts on Kickstarter have failed.

Most successful crowdfunding campaigns set a low monetary goal and barely achieved it.

The successful crowdfunding campaigns reached a larger audience of backers.

This leads us to believe that crowdfunding might be most efficient as a marketing and pre-sale tool for escape rooms.

Think twice about crowdfunding your entire escape room venture. It’s a lot of work and you certainly aren’t guaranteed success. Do your research and use crowdfunding strategically; it’s not a lottery ticket.

Thoughts on Up The Game 2017

We’ve had a lot of incredible experiences over our nearly three years of escape room blogging. Among the most memorable: being flown to The Netherlands to deliver a talk to a packed audience from the stage of a chapel in a retired prison.

Lisa and David standing in front of the castle-like gates of the Breda Prison Dome
Time to go to prison.

There weren’t a lot of North Americans in Breda for Up The Game 2017, so I’m going to do my best to fill people in on the happenings of the European escape room conference.

Before we begin… an unnecessary explanation of The Netherlands vs. Holland:

The games of The Netherlands

Over the next month or so we’ll publish reviews of the 10 escape rooms that we played in The Netherlands.

Spoiler: There wasn’t a dud in the batch.

We played based on enthusiast recommendations, as we usually do when traveling, and not a single game let us down. The weakest room escape that we played would be a mighty game in any market that we have visited to date. I am so excited to publish these reviews and share our experiences and observations.

Each escape room that we played was clearly a labor of love. Some were commercialized and designed to drive revenue while others were passionately crafted hobbies or side projects. We did not encounter any low quality cash grab experiences (although we have been assured that they exist in Europe as well).

Unprompted, almost everyone we spoke to eagerly told us which they felt were the best room escape companies in either The Netherlands or Europe. The recommendations were staggeringly consistent. This is a phenomenon that we have not encountered in North America.

People were also eager to tell us which companies were dreadful. Again, the results were similarly consistent. This is a phenomenon that we regularly encounter in North America.

The venue

Up The Game was hosted in the Breda Prison Dome.

Image of the massive and beautiful dome of prison cells.

The Netherlands reformed their drug laws many years ago and started treating drug addiction as a medical issue rather than a criminal one. As a result, their prison population has shrunk dramatically leaving them with a lot of empty prisons. Some of these prisons, like The Breda Prison Dome, have been turned into escape experience venues.

The prison dome's floor with lots of people standing about conversing.

I used to work for a district attorney and I’ve seen the inside of a couple of prisons. This was the first one that I would describe as beautiful. It made for an intense and incredibly cool surrounding for an escape room conference.

A puzzle & an Easter egg

The conference organizers broke a puzzle into many pieces and hid it among the attendees’ badges.

A successful solve of the puzzle resulted in a map of the Prison Dome with a distant room X’ed. This room housed a freakshow photoshoot.

For your viewing pleasure:

David's head on a platter surrouned by fruit. He looks dead.

Talks & recordings

We weren’t quite as busy at Up The Game as we were at the North American conference (on account of far fewer people knowing who we were), so we attended more than a couple of talks. These talks were recorded, but I do not yet know how or when they will be released.

Lisa and David on stage speaking to a full house in the chapel on the prison dome.

Image of Ken Ferguson of The Logic Escapes Me & Exit Games UK

A few highlights:

  • Scott Nicholson passionately chronicled his experiences and trials as “The Creator” of the Red Bull Mindgamers Escape Room World Championship. His presentation was a lot more open and raw than I was expecting, and it was great to hear his perspective on the event.
  • Yu-lin Chiu, writer of ASIA.EscapeGames gave us context for SCRAP in her discussion of trends in the different Asian markets.
  • Pop-ups, obsession with technology, the lure of replayability, standard and stable pricing, and the growth of escape room marketing are not only North American trends, but also European ones.
  • Stephanie Allen from Punchdrunk gave us a finer appreciation of Sleep No More… and the packed audience demonstrated how closely interactive theater and escape rooms are intertwined.

We also missed a talk about intellectual property in escape rooms from Matthew Lee of Enigma Room Sydney, a 2016 Golden Lock-In recipient. I really wish we’d caught that one.

Meeting new folks

As with the North American conference, the highlight for us was meeting people. We had so many wonderful conversations with new and old friends alike. These conversations with owners and players from across Europe added fuel to our desire to see more of what the European market has to offer.

There were a number of people like Ken Ferguson, writer of The Logic Escapes Me & Exit Games UK, whom we’ve known for a couple of years over the Internet and finally got to meet in meatspace. For those who are interested… yes… He is spectacularly British.

A thank you

The organizers of Up The Game did a marvelous job of taking care of us. From the escape room recommendations to the travel and lodging accommodations, they made us so comfortable. We are deeply appreciative and hope that we lived up to their and the audience’s expectations. We had so much fun and hope that we can return next year. There are so many more escape rooms to play and conversations to have.

Trapdoor UNLOCKED: Controversial Escape Rooms

Does Trap Door’s newest escape room, Witch Hunt, portray controversial subject matter?

Promo image for Witch Hunt shows a pair of hands holding a noose.

After we’d just hanged a woman for witchcraft, we sat down with Tone and Jess of Trap Door to discuss Controversial Escape Rooms for this episode of Trapdoor UNLOCKED.

The 15-minute video covers the following topics:

  • Is it common sense to avoid controversial topics?
  • Political relevance
  • Escape rooms as education on a topic
  • Trap Door’s Witch Trials
  • Advertising
  • How close are you or your players to the topic?
  • Prepare for the backlash
  • Abortion as a theme
  • Holocaust room escapes
  • Branding and marketing
  • Make purposeful decisions around controversial topics.

For more on this topic, read Genocides, Serial Killers, Tragedies, & Edgy Escape Room PR Nightmares.

Thoughts on the Niagara Falls Room Escape Conference

We spent the opening days of May at the Niagara Falls Escape Room Conference. This gathering of over 1,000 people from across the escape room world was a wonderful experience.

A packed crowd for the room escape artist seminar
Thank you to everyone who came out to our talk. (Photo by James Cobalt)
Transworld, the show organizer, was completely prepared for the crowd this year. With their full staff, the lines, bottlenecks, and confusion that frustrated so many show attendees in Chicago in 2016 were, as far as I could tell, not present this time around.

With that out of the way, here are a few of my observations from this year’s show:

Tech-obsession

We saw an insatiable thirst for technology. It was off-putting how often we heard people say something along the lines of, “I have a gen 1 game and I’m looking to make a gen 2 game.”

When we interviewed Shawn Fischtein of Escape Games Canada last year and published that discussion about his generational definitions, we were publishing an interesting conversation. No one involved intended for this to become industry-wide jargon.

At Room Escape Artist, we have never referenced “generations” once in a review or commentary. These generations are a basic construct for thinking about technology, but technology in an escape room does not have inherent value. There are brilliant room escapes without tech and there are terrible room escapes with tech-heavy builds costing over $100,000.

We were surprised to hear so many owners reference these technology generations as if they were incremental steps in escape room progress, and therefore something to strive for.

Our message has always been: focus on fun and gameflow. Tech and set design are tools to help with these. The core mechanics must be present, however, or all you have is a very pretty, very expensive room with a crappy game built into it.

Marketing & differentiation

More than at last year’s conference, we heard a lot of angst about market definition and differentiation. As local markets fill with similarly named companies, it has grown increasingly difficult to stand out.

Our panel on collaboration across companies within local markets was abuzz with discussion about how to better work together and how to deal with bad actors within the a local community.

Our hope is that more companies will focus on providing an exceptional player experience, co-promote other great companies in the region, and grow strong, eager player communities. Ultimately this industry will live or die based on everyone’s collective ability to foster regular gameplay.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Still no puzzles

I still wish that there had been a greater focus on puzzle design and game mechanics in the talks and on the tradeshow floor.

On the other hand, we didn’t have tons of people approaching us and expressing their total dislike of puzzles, which happened a lot last year. #Progress

Greater maturity

In Chicago last year there were a number of owners and prospective owners who heckled speakers and were painfully cynical in conversation. This year that wasn’t an issue. I think I only spoke to one person who was looking at escape rooms as a cash grab opportunity.

The attendees at large felt a lot more calm, thoughtful, and mature, which made our many conversations so much fun.

It is possible that the cynics just avoided us… and that’s fine too.

How to support Room Escape Artist

Last year a lot of owners asked how they could support us; we didn’t have an answer. While we would happily accept money, we don’t want to know where it comes from, as this could compromise our commitment to neutral review. This year we showed up with a solution that we have been beta testing for 6 months.

If you want to support us, simply use our Amazon link to purchase goods for your escape room (or anything else). It has zero effect on your Amazon experience and we pick up 4-10% of the sale depending upon the item.

We don’t know who’s buying what, so we cannot be in a position to play favorites. This solution allows escape room owners as well as enthusiast readers to support us without direct financial relationships.

If you’re willing to favorite this link and use it in the future, please know that we will never know who you are, but we deeply appreciate the support.

http://amzn.to/2rhfGV9

If you’re in Canada, we’re working on a link for you. Stay tuned.

Props 4 sale

Like last year, there were a lot of prop makers selling Arduino and Rasberry Pi driven props. They looked great and cost a pretty penny.

I continue to worry about the lack of  a substantive service model for these devices. The folks buying ready-made props lack the technical know-how to build these things in the first place, so I don’t understand what they plan to do when these props fail.

Every single escape room operator should have at least one backup plan for every single element of the player experience. Shit happens. Please be ready for it.

Locks

At our booth this year we set up a pair of lock trees to demo many interesting padlocks. We ran little crash courses on the finer points of lock design, as well as how to identify locks that will be less likely to break. For those who are interested, these are some of the crowd favorites from our booth:

Commando Marine Brass Lock (which we recently reviewed)

Clear Trainer Lock

Trick Lock (which we strongly discourage you from using in an escape room, but could be a nice lobby puzzle)

Atlas Lever Lock

The strange but entertaining line of Mindy Locks

Stay tuned, we’ll be writing reviews of each of these and more over the coming months.

Seeing old friends & making new ones

Over the past few years, we’ve met so many wonderful people through this industry. These conferences are like reunions.

To all of the people that we spoke to (except for that one cynical dude), it was a pleasure chatting with you. We were so insanely busy, but we had so much fun.

Also, we extend a special thank you to our regular teammates and dear friends Jason Lisnak and Lindsay Froelich for running our booth and making sure that we could eat. We could not have done this without you two.

The next conference location and date have not been announced yet, but we are looking forward to it nonetheless.

Until then, we wish everyone a productive, fulfilling, and profitable year.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale.)

Update from The Netherlands

Greetings, Breda! A few months ago we didn’t know you were a place (sorry), and now we don’t want to leave.

Trip To Do List:

✔ Talked our way onto an earlier, nonstop flight… thanks Delta!

✔ Completed flight without violent re-accommodation… thanks Delta!

✔ Admired Van Gogh paintings

✔ Consumed too many stroopwafels

✔ Played 10 wonderful escape rooms

❒ Reviewed 10 wonderful escape rooms… stay tuned!

✔ Debated game design and the definition of art over beers

✔ Escaped with owners and enthusiasts from around the world

✔ Played a real life game of Ticket To Ride

❒ Presented to an audience in Breda about The Perspective of the Player’s Experience

❒ Spoke on a panel about the role of bloggers in the escape room industry

If you happen to be in the area, help us with these last two checkboxes; we’re on our own for the reviews. 

Black-light-saber – May The Fourth Be Thank You

A few weeks ago I tweeted a fleeting (and not particularly amazing) joke while finalizing our presentation for the Niagara Falls Room Escape Conference and Tradeshow.

Well… now I have one; it fills me with so much nerdy joy.

A hand holding a lightsaber that is glowing with UV light.
You’re damn right that’s a blacklight… and it makes most of the sounds.

Our friend Brett Kuehner made one for me and gave it to me right after the hilarious Room Escape Divas’ talk.

Thank you Brett and May the fourth be with you.

Save

We’re at the Niagara Falls Room Escape Conference

Hello Niagara Falls!

We’re in town this week for the Room Escape Conference and Tradeshow.

  • Niagara Falls Conference & Event Center
  • 101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, NY, USA
  • Registration is still open
  • Onsite registration starting at $30

Room Escape Conference & Tour logo, an abstract head with a maze, keyhole, and clock.

Escape Rooms

We’re playing 6 escape rooms in Niagara Falls and Buffalo today. Perhaps we’ll run into you around town.

If you haven’t decided which escape rooms to visit yet, read our recommendations for Buffalo and Niagara Falls or ask us about the ones we played today.

Come To Our Talks

We’re delivering a free talk Tuesday morning: Goldi-lock-ing Your Escape Room Business… Learn the Difference between Magnificent, Average, and Tragic Escape Room Design.

  • Tuesday, May 5 at 10:00AM
  • Cascade Room 1

We’re also moderating a panel on Tuesday afternoon. We’ll be chatting with three Louisiana escape room companies about Co-Working, Co-Existing, and THRIVING!

  • Tuesday, May 5 at 2:30PM
  • Cascade Room 1
  • Panelists from Rise Escape Rooms, 13th Gate Escape, & Clue Carré

Visit Our Booth

Please find us at booth 102 on the tradeshow floor and introduce yourself.

We’d love to talk shop.

An Exploration of Escape Room Pricing Structures

It’s time to explore one of the most controversial issues in the North American escape room market.

Ticketing Models

Private Ticketing – Refers to a ticketing model where an entire group experience is purchased at once. This eliminates the possibility of strangers sharing the same experience. It is the most common ticketing model outside of the United States. In this model, there is a set price for the entire group experience. It sometimes varies by player count.

Public Ticketing – Refers to a game where admission is purchased by each individual player, thus allowing for the possibility of strangers sharing the same experience. This is a common ticketing model in the United States. In this model, the price is per ticket and isn’t adjusted based on how many tickets are booked.

Myths

It is commonly believed that:

Escape room players prefer private ticketing because they don’t want to share these experiences with strangers.

Escape room owners prefer public ticketing because it is a more lucrative business model.

To get the best of both worlds, companies occasionally offer a private ticketing model for the same price as the maximum number of individual tickets. This is positive sales spin.

In truth, however, the ticketing model debate isn’t so black and white.

Study

When The Locked Room opened in Calgary, AB, Canada in August of 2014, they opened with public ticketing. They were the first company in their city and the subsequent companies followed their lead. At the start of 2017, however, they switched over to entirely private ticketing.

So, what happened?

We recently interviewed Edwin Tsui, Managing Partner at The Locked Room, about this transition.

Photo of Edwin and his partners in one of their horror games. It's dark and there are body parts as well as implements of destruction postioned throughout the room.

Room Escape Artist: You have recently switched from public ticketing to private ticketing. Why did you make the switch?

Edwin: By 2017, we’d expanded to offer 8 more escape rooms and competitors had opened up others. The majority of our rooms were no longer filling to the maximum, but our prime weekend spots were still filling up with mixed groups.

On a Saturday with 132 rooms running across 3 locations we would log an average of 1 or 2 cases of groups vocally expressing their displeasure at being paired with others. For these groups our customer service team would follow up with them to resolve, get feedback, and compensate them (regardless of fault). We also acknowledged that we were likely alienating some of our non-vocal customer base: the “that was great, but I would only do it again with only my friends” camp.

Despite running hundreds of thousands of players through our rooms and having giant disclaimers and warnings about public ticketing, we still regularly had groups come through unaware about this policy.

As a brand with 12 rooms in a single city, repeat and return customers are crucial to the long term survival of our business. We began to consider a switch to private ticketing as a commitment to player experience and long term sustainability.

In the meantime we also launched a US location that was entering as the 4th company to market in a new market (Omaha, Nebraska). We decided to start with private ticketing there as a way to ‘disrupt’ in a market with only public ticketing games. We thought private ticketing might be the hook for new players.

In game at The Locked Room. A science lab with a assortment of lab equipment.

Let’s do the math. What were/are the ticket prices?

Our old pricing model was on a per head basis. It was $24.95/player with no minimum group size. It was a public ticketing system where strangers could be paired with each other.

Our new pricing model retains the same pricing at $24.95/player, but with a minimum booking size (3-4 players depending on the room). All bookings made under the new system are private with no special exceptions for weekdays or weeknights. Players may bring along additional teammates for pay-on-arrival without any special notice.

What were you expecting to happen when you made the switch?

We expected a few things:

  1. A moderate initial revenue drop (10-15%)
  2. A strong positive public response
  3. A drop in customer service-related issues

What actually happened when you switched to private games?

In response to our expectations:

  1. There was no initial revenue drop. Our online sales decreased in the realm of noise (~5%) but we made up the difference with an increase in in-person payments.
  2. Overall, the switch had a strong positive response. A few individuals, however, contacted us expressing their displeasure with the room minimums or telling us about their positive experiences with the public ticketing system.
  3. We experienced fewer customer service-related issues, exactly as expected… and even better!

Unexpected positive side effects:

We are able to staff a bit more efficiently. Since there are no longer ‘difficult’ groups of strangers to mix together (i.e. a group of 8 with a group of 2 or a group of 4 adults paired with 4 teenagers), our staff feels more relaxed. Consequently, they perform better in terms of customer satisfaction, faster and more accurate room resets, and ability to maintain games in between bookings.

We were able to push the private ticketing offering as a strong marketing campaign for the lull months (January, February) of the new year, encouraging people to come back or to try a room out even if they couldn’t gather a full group together.

Bonus interesting point:

Most customers simply didn’t notice any difference. They didn’t know that there were 2 different systems. First-timers would never know the difference and a large percentage of returning players had never been paired with others under a public ticketing system.

In game image at The Locked Room. A security office with camera screens, a desk with a typewriter, and a filing cabinet.

After operating under each pricing model, do you have a strong opinion in this debate?

The sides of the ticketing debate often have clear divisions between owners and enthusiasts. This is the expected result of different goals: profit versus customer satisfaction.

As an owner and enthusiast, I see no advantages to the player experience with a public ticketing system over a private ticking system, given equal or similar pricing for both options.

There are exceptions such solo business travelers or individuals without like-minded friends, but they make up a trivial percentage of the players coming through our doors.

The majority of our room escapes are best with 4-6 players. While we get fewer groups of 8 or more since switching to private ticketing, that also means more groups sizes closer to the optimal amount. Since we do not run games tuned for more than 8 players, I cannot comment on the public ticketing model for those types of escape rooms.

We launched with public ticketing to generate profit. At the time, our 4 rooms were constantly booking out, selling every possible spot on both weekdays and weeknights. It made no sense to turn away eager paying customers. We acknowledged that we were making a player experience sacrifice in exchange for a better bottom line. If I were to have a do-over, I would still have launched our company with public ticketing as the first escape room in town.

We switched when we shifted our goal to long-term sustainability. I believe that private ticketing will play a big role in achieving that goal. It was a pleasant surprise that we could improve the player experience without a hit to our bottom line. It’s an added bonus that I personally feel better about what we offer to our guests!

Is it the right choice for every company? Maybe not. However, if you are solidly booked through public ticketing, don’t be surprised if the market starts shifting towards smaller games with private ticketing when new escape room venues pop up in your city.

Room Escape Artist’s Conclusion

For The Locked Room, given the type of experience they offer, private ticketing makes the most sense. It provides a better customer experience, more effective staff members, and equal revenue.

Much of the nuance comes down to the product offered.

If your room escapes are designed for over 8 players, we’d probably still recommend public ticketing. It would be challenging for most people to bring a large enough group to fully enjoy the experience.

However, if your room escapes are designed for 2-7 players, we recommend private ticketing.

We fully agree with Edwin on the following points:

  • Private ticketing will reduce customer service issues.
  • Private ticketing is great in a competitive market.
  • Public ticketing makes sense in a population dense, non-competitive market… but there aren’t too many of those left.

Panel Discussion: Co-Working, Co-Existing… and Thriving!

Last year we made it clear that we believe that top escape room businesses should be collaborating with one another.

The panel

So, we’re delighted to moderate a panel at the upcoming Room Escape Conference and Tradeshow in Niagara Falls on this very topic. We’ll be speaking at length about how Louisiana escape room owners Mindi Plaisance (Rise Escape Rooms), Dwayne Sanburn (13th Gate Escape), and Megan Mouton (Clue Carré) support each other’s businesses.

Co-Working, Co-Existing, and THRIVING! will be held on Tuesday, May 2 at 2:30PM in Cascade Room 1.

This panel will cost $50 per person if you pre-register or $55 per person if you register at the conference.

What to expect

During our pre-interviews (we do our homework), we covered a lot of ground with Mindi, Dwayne, and Megan. Attendees are in for a fantastic discussion.

We’ve heard a lot of great things about all three of their games and these images speak for themselves.

As far as the panel discussion is concerned, you can expect to hear about how collaboration

  • creates awareness
  • improves game design
  • generates a market
  • builds a support structure

We’ll also address some of the individual challenges these companies face… from space constraints, to traffic crises, to market size, to drunk players. They might not have the same operational concerns, but they all have the same goal: to create a thriving puzzle entertainment business in southern Louisiana.

There will be plenty of opportunity for audience questions, so come on over if you’re looking for a dynamic discussion… and no PowerPoint slides.

Get your tickets today!

If you haven’t already purchased them, get your tickets for the Room Escape Conference in Niagara Falls. Come to our talks, visit our booth, and generally enjoy a few days of learning and networking.

Be sure to checkout some escape rooms while you’re there. Buffalo / Niagara Falls have some great ones.