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drfrightner
10-20-2009, 03:45 AM
We matched our numbers from last year this past weekend and our weekday numbers are not up and over last year however you can't make up what was already left on the table.

I think it looks like many haunts will see attendance climb back to numbers from last year on the same dates as last year on those same days... however and again what you've already lost is lost.

So maybe as you hit your bigger nights your percentage of loss is actually decrease because if you start matching numbers your decrease will still shrink because of the fact previous weeks losses are lower attended nights.

What it looks like right now based on everyone I talked to haunts as an industry will end up down about 18% or so...

Haunts charge probably more than they should so and because prices to enter are at prices that already are so high a loss in business won't sting as much as if you charged lets say 13 bucks opposed to 18 or 20.

Some things are hurting like labor costs are just way too high right now... down the road I think haunts have to figure out just how can we reduce labor cost while still giving the same or better show. Something to think about...

Its going to be a challenging future and we'll have to stick together and figure this thing out...

I just read that they are predicting the ecomomy will stay around 10% un-employment until 2012 right about when we can give Obama the boot! LOL

Anyway that is NOT GOOD... they are also predicting that in America cost of living is going to decrease in other words LOWER PRICES NOT RAISE THEM... another thing to think about I guess.

Lots to think about!!!!!!!!!!!!

We'll have to do more with less going forward. There are many things you can cut gonig forward and that is something we'll be debating all winter long and into the haunt show in march.

Larry

Ken Spriggs
10-22-2009, 12:14 AM
Larry.....let's talk about a haunt show shall we?

You are saying we will be doing more with less?

I don't think there will be an increase in sales at the halloween show this March.
Vendors are thinking about putting our money where we can actually make money to survive.

With the current economic woes....who in this industry is going to have money to blow on new toys?

mindtumor
10-22-2009, 08:14 AM
Well if our attendance goes up again this weekend we will actually have had a decent season and maybe even made just a little bit. Our numbers will still be down from last year but we cut a lot out of the budget this season in antiicipation that it might be a tough year.

That being said we are selling the haunt because we want to rebuild in a different market. We won't be spending much at the show this year because we are going to put our money back into the basics.

We are going to be much tighter with our money rebuilding next year, we have learned a ton and believe we can do a better job spending less money.

Nightgore
10-22-2009, 12:28 PM
Like I've said before, we don't have anything to compare our season too... but we're generally happy with how it's going. We are NOT going to even come NEAR breaking even... that will take a FEW seasons!

But! That doesn't mean we won't spend at the show. We know you've got to spend money to make money. Per our business plan, we'll actually make a profit in 5-6 years. Yeah, it's slow... but that's allows us to better watch some aspects of the business. Growth too fast, and we may f**k up on something and it could hurt us.

We'll come to Transworld ready to buy MORE stuff, not as much as we did this year... but more stuff none-the-less. Some stuff you just have to buy every year... i.e. Scents! ;)

Hope everyone is having a great season! -Tyler

drfrightner
10-22-2009, 02:23 PM
Ken and everyone...

As a haunt owner and person who generally throws around a lot of idea's, tries to get national promotions together, tv shows or whatever I'm re-evaluating everything I do. I'm going to Universal Horror Nights on Wed the first time in like 10 years I've left my home to visit a haunted house, outside of the tour in vegas or Atlanta during IAAPA or whatever.

I'm going to rethink EVERYTHING and once I've come up with an opinion I'm going to write about in Hauntworld Magazine.

I think we are all doing pretty much the same thing now, and I wonder if it will all go stale I wonder if with the changing over how Americans learn about events, products to buy or whatever if we will get passed by if we don't make changes to how we do things.

The World is changing all around us... media is changing, how people get media is changing, what interest people is changing, and people are more PC than ever before and lastly the public is more educated than at anytime in the Worlds history.

How does the economy affect us, what impact does a zillion other haunts have on your business, do people want more than just actors screaming in the face, do they want less horror and more entertainment...I dont' know.

I'm rethinking all of that... I've noticed the media interest in our industry has declined two straight years and thats a fact. Why?

Will that hurt business over the next five years? What do we do to get their ear again and who do we try to get the ear of because clearly newspapers don't mean much anymore.

I'm going to see Universal Horror Nights looking for answers to some of these questions, and combine that with what everyone keeps telling me, and base that on what I personally think.

That is an article coming soon... I hope that it inspires a lot of discussion because we need to discuss these things over the next 6 months to determine the approach we'll have going into 2010.

As for vendors...

I think they'll be just fine, they might tighten their belts, although I think that is the wrong approach. When times are down that is the time to get more aggressive!

More on that later!

Larry

mindtumor
10-22-2009, 02:43 PM
Examine haunt prices and what you can do in other venues for the same price. Maybe people are sick of spending $20 + per person to see a haunt. A lot of people compared our industry to the movie industry before the season started and predicted that people will want to escape so haunts will do well. Well at this point you can see way more movies for the same price of a haunt and be entertained for longer. I don't know that the whole industry is down or whatever but something to think about is maybe people did want to escape but they choose other methods to escape.

Another thing is what do the customers want? Do they want to pay high prices and see high tech? Do they want to be able to visit multiple haunts and get scared more than impressed? Do they want a combo of both? Personally I don't care about going to one haunt and paying a high ticket price to see all the stuff I just saw at Transworld. I like to be able to hit up a couple haunts and be nervous and jumpy while I am in there. I don't think we all necessarily like to see the same things our customers like to see.

Think about what impresses us now a days, is it seeing articles about massive control rooms, or haunts that custom fabricate monsters, or how one haunt differs from another in the way they run their haunt, or whatever it is that us as haunt owners want to see. Now think is it the same information our customers care about?

Look the number one thing guests still ask me when I tell them I own a haunt or right before they go through my haunt is "Is it scary?" They don't ask anything else. They comment when they leave on being impressed with how it looks but they don't ask before they go through. Now I think the way it looks is very important in helping it be scary but I think the point is people want to be scared when they go through. I can tell you something else they get sick of seeing the same thing at every haunt too. I think a close second to people wanting it to be scary is, is it something they can take their whole family to do without paying too much?

JamBam
10-22-2009, 02:43 PM
Larry, Congrats on finding out there is life outside St Louis in the haunting world. LOL

Universal is definitely a place to see. Your post is insightful and I look forward to reading the article and your comments on this site.

An idea for you to reduce your labor costs that you always are concerned about would be to move the events to Colorado. They just announced that teh minimum wage is being reduced due to deflation. They are reducing it $ 0.04 cents per hour. That would be thousands of dollars savings, right? LOL

Hope your's and everyone's season finishes strong. We opened down about 15 % from last years record year (cold), went up 10 % the second weekend, down 15 % the third weekend. Looking at our web numbers they are down slightly from last year each weekend as well.

Nightmare_Trance
10-23-2009, 08:43 AM
Examine haunt prices and what you can do in other venues for the same price. Maybe people are sick of spending $20 + per person to see a haunt. A lot of people compared our industry to the movie industry before the season started and predicted that people will want to escape so haunts will do well. Well at this point you can see way more movies for the same price of a haunt and be entertained for longer. I don't know that the whole industry is down or whatever but something to think about is maybe people did want to escape but they choose other methods to escape.

Another thing is what do the customers want? Do they want to pay high prices and see high tech? Do they want to be able to visit multiple haunts and get scared more than impressed? Do they want a combo of both? Personally I don't care about going to one haunt and paying a high ticket price to see all the stuff I just saw at Transworld. I like to be able to hit up a couple haunts and be nervous and jumpy while I am in there. I don't think we all necessarily like to see the same things our customers like to see.


Mindtumor, I really think that this plays a big role in a lot of customers decisions. Great point.

I was debating the same issue with a coworker the other day. We were comparing movie prices and Haunted house prices. His point was that he got nearly 2 hours of entertainment for half the price.

He agreed with me that at haunted houses you live the movie experience and the intensity, but it all came down to the financial obligation.

haunter112
10-23-2009, 04:09 PM
I think a lot of haunts have simply outgrown their market.

Each year, these haunts get bigger, longer, and more elaborate.

Each year, the admission price increases to cover the cost.

The haunt across town raises its prices to match his competitor.

It's a vicious cycle.

Who can afford to take a family of 4 to a $25 haunt?

That's $100 for a half hour of entertainment.