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View Full Version : Darn... The Proof is finally out. Read On...



drfrightner
10-15-2009, 02:52 PM
Well I guess this confirms it in a HUGE way...

Read all about how its finally been reported that Halloween is going down the tubes this year. This is horrible news and I'm sure the retail shows and everything else in relation to Halloween will be down as well because of high inventory. Looks like even pumpkin patches will be down as well.

Wow... by my estimation our industry will be down about 20% from last year that is huge. Something we can't overcome really unless we start thinking about how we can draw in people. Maybe we should consider some promotions and discounts.

Anyway read the report here:

http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=2&aid=171446

themagicofjustinarrigo
10-15-2009, 03:28 PM
I think it is the general belief that as time goes on, and years go by, things get more expensive. Which is normally true. However in tough times like the US and World are going through now, it might be a good idea to think the opposite way. I have noticed a lot of industries doing this, and they seem to be getting by. Food and supplies in the grocery stores seem to be getting a little cheaper, gas isnt going way up like it did previously, retail stores seem to be offering better sales and on a more regular basis. I work in the car business as well, and recently they have had some of the highest rebates on vehicles in history. Look at the way videos are rented, years ago I would have to go to a video store and pay $5 to rent 1 VHS tape. Now I can go to a Redbox machine and get a DVD for $1, or get a netflicks subscription for like 10 bucks a month, and get as many movies as I can watch. As times get tough, people spend less money.

If you run a haunted house, it costs you the same amounnt of money to run it each night no matter if 100 people come through or 5,000 people come through. Isnt it better to lower your prices a bit and have more people come through, than keep them the same or raise them and have less? If your tickets are $20 and 1,000 people come through in a night thats $20,000. For ease of understanding we will call it $5,000 in nightly expenses (actors, managers, fog fluid, water, electricity, gas etc), that a $15,000 profit. Now lets say you decide to cut your ticket price by $5, and you attract 500 more people to show up in that 1 night because of the more affordable ticket price. Thats $15 a ticket, times 1,500 people, for a total of $22,500, minus the same $5,000 expenses, for a total profit of $17,500. Not to mention the extra money you will make on food and retail sales if you offer those. Makes sense to me.

How about a lower price for a family 2 adults and up to 3 kids get a reduced cost. Or maybe if you show your ticket stub from last year you get an extra discount! You have to think with the way the times are going, you cant jack the price up because a year has gone by. If the economy sucks you have to work with it, because if you dont, you are going to loose your business! In hard times, people want to be entertained, but they dont want to go broke doing it. Give people a good price and more of them will come. Then they will tell their friends who are looking for something affordable to do about you, and they will come too. Referals and repeat business are the key to success!

Justin

shawnc
10-15-2009, 04:09 PM
I think it will be an even worse disappointment than that article suggests.

Have you been in any stores this Fall? They have crap for Halloween. Smaller Halloween areas, less selection, lower-priced items. The stores sensed that people would spend less so they ordered less.

The problem is this has become a self-sulfilling prophecy. I know many people who went out to buy decorations but didn't because there really wasn't anything available they liked.

Decorations are the big piece of the Halloween-spending pie, with haunts a much smaller piece. But many haunters on here have said they are in the same range they were last year. It could turn out to be a good year since people spent less on decorations, but it could also be worse since they don't have the same Halloween spirit.

Grimley
10-15-2009, 04:57 PM
This has been an up year for online sales. Mostly masks but 20% increase.

spookhaven
10-15-2009, 09:51 PM
I think it will be an even worse disappointment than that article suggests.

Have you been in any stores this Fall? They have crap for Halloween. Smaller Halloween areas, less selection, lower-priced items. The stores sensed that people would spend less so they ordered less.

The problem is this has become a self-sulfilling prophecy. I know many people who went out to buy decorations but didn't because there really wasn't anything available they liked.

Decorations are the big piece of the Halloween-spending pie, with haunts a much smaller piece. But many haunters on here have said they are in the same range they were last year. It could turn out to be a good year since people spent less on decorations, but it could also be worse since they don't have the same Halloween spirit.

I have noticed they almost totally skipped over Halloween here and went to Christmas. Our Lowe's is packed with Christmas decorations. I opened a Halloween Store last year and our store front was lost due to landlord losing his building to foreclosure. So we opened the store in part at the haunt this year. Many people have been emailing and calling wanting to know about the store because they were disappointed we didn't open it. It was a business decision to focus on the haunt vs store because of the economy. It does show us that people at least have thought about us but our sales weren't showing it last year.

Now our haunt sales are up about 15% but we are only in our 3rd year and still have lots of room to grow. I think the economy still has some "fall out" to go through before it starts to climb again. Real estate business never fell off here like it did in other cities but we just lost our "Coke Cola" plant closing at the end of November. What is that telling us? It's going to get worse before it gets better.

Allen H
10-16-2009, 01:08 AM
Justin,
"Isnt it better to lower your prices a bit and have more people come through, than keep them the same or raise them and have less?"
No, it is not better. I would much rather have 1000 customers a night rather than 10,000. The more people you have the more problems you have. Almost all of the major issues I have at SCREAMS are because of to many customers. Examples Lines, Vandalism, fights, actor abuse, tired actors, wear and tear on animatronics, and parking issues. When you increase the number of guests your costs also go up. You need more actors to cover the same area, you need more security to watch them. Ive heard many people say they wish they did 5,000 customers a night but they are not ready for it, its an eye opener.
At the show I own "The trail of terror "I raised my price from $5 to $7. The main reason I did that was because I had so many customers my quality of show went down, by processing less people the actors have more time to work on them and they get a better show. My sign actually says "admission $7 (it keeps out the riff raff)".
Others may disagree but its easier to scare and manage smaller numbers.
just my take,
Allen H

Mike Goff
10-16-2009, 01:27 AM
Very well put.

This year we raised our price with the intentions of selling fewer tickets. Our Sat. nights were overloaded to the point that we were no longer in control. I know that it is possible to put through far more customers than what we do, but we are not ready for that, and probably won't be for a few years.

We have always viewed raising prices and coupons as a way to regulate ticket sales. I think that to raise your price for any other reason will eventually cause problems.

Haunter3
10-16-2009, 03:48 AM
I still think as the season gets better, things will gradually improve, especially with Halloween on a Saturday

PAT MATTHEWS/HOUSE OF WAX
10-16-2009, 05:13 AM
Its a double edged blade. either way you go there problems. Raise prices then customers complain. Lower prices fewer people attend as they think the quality isnt upto par. I have tried it both ways over the yrs and found problems. How about dropping your price from $10 to $5 and you still see no increase that really sux.

Speculo
10-16-2009, 09:17 AM
"plan to visit a haunted house (17.0 percent vs. 18.1 percent in 2008)"

This is only what 1.1 percent PLAN to do when the survey was taken. What will they plan to do when they are buried in all of our collective marketing?

You need to LEAN into tough times - Show then why they need the release of a haunted house. Hollywood is UP.

Unless you live in a very depressed market our you are getting slammed by weather (always a hassle) or sports, you should still be able to rock!

Don't fret...FIGHT!

Thanks!

mindtumor
10-16-2009, 09:28 AM
Well I think a lot of it does have to do with what market you are in right now. I am in Michigan and while I can't confirm it I was told Detroit and Flint both have something like a 30% unemployment rate right now( I will look it up). Yet SOME the haunts in the Detroit are also SOME of the most expensive I have seen. I know some haunts cost more but there are some costly ones down there. Up here in the Flint area it isn't so expensive though.

As far as Hollywood being up you can almost go and see 2 or 3 movies now for the cost of one of some of these haunted houses. Things will probably go back the other way for haunts in a season or two. It is probably a cycle like everything else. Plus it doesn't sound like all haunts are doing bad just some in depressed markets.

Nightmare_Trance
10-16-2009, 11:19 AM
I agree Mindtumor, it does seem like the cycle changes around every couple of years.

The unemployment rate will for sure play a major role in the "entertainment" portion of your customers budget.

Nightmare_Trance
10-16-2009, 11:33 AM
Here is another article that jumps on both sides...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574473324146112960.html?m od=googlenews_wsj

Tater
10-16-2009, 01:13 PM
Larry,

I know your down but other markets across the country are up. Every house ive been to has been up. So its not necessarly all doom and gloom here why dont you talk to some of the people that are doing great to lift your spirits some.

drfrightner
10-16-2009, 01:48 PM
Tater,

Couple things... I think I've said already that there is a difference between an up and coming haunt, new haunt and established haunts. If you are an established haunt, you've been there for years, and you've established numbers each year like for example you usually do around 30k maybe a little up maybe a little down... THEN the majority of those haunts are DOWN up to 30%.

If you are a super established haunt and every year you are doing like 40 or 50k up or down 5% your numbers are DOWN up to 30%.

If you are an up and coming haunt mean like you've only been trying to grow your business for the past 3 to 5 years and have not yet hit a peak you could still be growing because in your market you never fully tapped into it in the first place. You could still be growing.

You have other cases where your haunt did horrible last year for whatever reason, maybe tons of rain and this year its not raining your numbers may be up and it could be because you had no where to go put up because of certain conditions the previous year.

But yes there are haunts who report steady or up but almost all haunts I've talked to are DOWN DOWN DOWN...some are getting tons of rain like us then you mix that into the economy you have a bad season.

Personally I've taken some cost cutting steps like cut some advertisement, I've cut some staff, and other little things. I fully expect to do well but nothing close to what it was last year.

Lastly...here is another story about the subject here in St. Louis.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories.nsf/story/E697006B889FDB6386257651000589EC?OpenDocument

Tater
10-17-2009, 01:32 AM
I know what your saying larry but you just seem so down. I dont like it when your like that, Lauren has a present for you from me to hang as a memento, make sure you get it and hang as the poster with the kitten says Hang in there

drfrightner
10-17-2009, 08:53 AM
No actually I'm not down at all... I feel great! I take these things in stride and roll with it... we are going to be fine! Me personally I'm worried about everyone else right now.

I hope for a good year for vendors, and I hope that someone wises up and votes out all democrates so we have a chance to turn around the economy. Remember for me a haunt who opens in September we are always TEN months away from opening again when we finally close!

Larry