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Wolf Creek Haunted Forest
12-01-2010, 04:13 PM
Hey everyone. Had a question about attendance and sending groups through. I just completed my 2nd season as a haunt and we did about 20,000 people through our haunt. The most we sent through in a single night was around 2700 people. But i see haunts claiming they have sometimes 2 or 3 times the amount of people I saw.

I wanted to know what some of your tricks to getting groups through the haunt faster without ruining your haunt?

Just to give some numbers and times. I was sending at the peak busy times 10-16 people in a group every two minutes. We are open for about 6 hours a night. When doing this i felt the groups were way too large and the haunt experience suffered for many people in the groups. My wait in line on those busy nights seemed to be around hour and half to 2 1/2 hrs and some customers complained terribly about this. They simply could not understand that we couldn't send customers through the haunt any faster without bunching them up.

Also, we are an outdoor haunt.... i am just wondering how a single haunt by numbers can send more than that through a night. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Jim Warfield
12-01-2010, 08:39 PM
Say one can do 1,000 per/hr. So you have 4 of them next to one another 4 x1,000=4,000.
In your case have paralell trails?
Several years ago the crowd waiting was getting edgy, grumbling, I stood on-high asked them for their attention and explained how I had been hearing complaints from people about Other haunts rushing them through, ex cetra and it does take a certain amount of "Time" to do whatever you are trying to accomplish and you are dealing with "People" not guppies in a bucket.
Some will come back again even though the show was not as good as they thought it should be (for the $) Some will return hoping this season it will be better.
Of course some will only give you one chance to do them right.
I have never come close to 20,000 people in one year and I'm open almost every night, often a one-man show (guess who the "man" is?)
My patrons do enjoy or suffer-through a rather different show here geared to Them as far as the sheer amount of attention if nothing else.
After being open 23 years I do have a customer base and a positive reputation, which saves on spending for mere advertising, since my patrons do that for me.
Ravens Grin Inn---"Bring Your Friends, Send your enemies!"

hauntedjack
12-02-2010, 03:36 AM
First off a two minute between groups time is LONG especially on busy nights. I have ties to Louisville KY, and if this is (which it may not be) the Wolf Creek I heard about that was on the Danger Run your wait time between groups was a lot longer than two minutes. Honestly if you go to some of the big haunts in the industry (Darkness, Netherworld, etc.) you will see that they are sending groups through quick. And when I say quick I mean like 20-25 seconds between groups. But some how magically groups do not combine, and everyone in the group does get a good show. This falls completely on your actors and actor training. To make sure that groups do not combine they need to scare FORWARD. I hate going through a haunt and some actor jumps in front of the group. ALSO the actors know to wait until the opportune moment. If they are good (which I feel reflects the haunt owner) they will know that person in the group of 5, 10, 15, or 20 to pop out at to get the reaction from the entire group.

I understand you are a green horn in this business but if you want to make money in it you have to learn to be able to send groups through large, fast, and still keep them happy.

Good luck

Allen H
12-02-2010, 11:12 AM
I wanted to know what some of your tricks to getting groups through the haunt faster without ruining your haunt?
If you find out tell me, I know what I try to do and I will share. we do big numbers also (40 to 60,000) and at this level (25,000+) almost all of your problems come from to many people.
here are a few tips some of which have already been mentioned
#1 scare forward
#2 design you show so actors and guests have good flow (mmuch harder than it seems)
#3 put the whole show on a dimmer switch, turn up the lights a tick or two when you need to speed up throughput
#4 try to have a feature in your haunt that guests can aim for to help them navigate, a sconce or light of some kind works best as people naturally follow lighted paths
#5 use stoplight roles to controll traffic and eliminate bunching up
#6 more attractions = more que lines to lessen the burden on one show
#7 If you only add one attraction try to make it a maze type (a real maze) they can eat alot of people and keep them out of the line for the other attraction and the line for it will go quick if you have three or four alternate paths to choose from as you enter
#8 We send 10 to 15 people every 30seconds between five attractions and a sixth upcharge attraction
#9 sell a VIP/fast pass ticket- its free money and if 25% of the people buy it you will have 25% less complaints about the wait
#10 Have more to do to ease the burden on the lines- we have scaryoke, a snake show, roaming actors, several vendors who open up shops, an arcade, and a voodoo lounge/bar If each of these things occupies 20 people then I just saved someone a ten minuites of waiting.
#11 have a breaker actor as opposed to taking a whole show break, it keeps things moving. If you need to build fast pass sales then one 10min show break early in the night will build a line and boost sales of fast passes when new customers see the long line.
#12 build several scares that get the whole group all at once falling walls chandeliers, moving floors, things that makes everyone in the group jump makes sure everybody gets a show.

Anyone can plan and scare 1 person, it takes more work to scare 1,000, and very few can effectively scare 25,000+ customers. Your show will not be as scary but it can be as entertaining
I have to board a plane, but I will write more later unless other jump in and eliminate my need
Allen H

HauntedMemphis
12-03-2010, 06:26 AM
Try to break up lines of site. I know it's not always easy with an outdoor attraction, but if you can figure out how to break up lines of site so people can't see "2 minutes" ahead then you can move things faster.

Just getting from 120 seconds between groups to 90 seconds between groups means you can put through 25% more groups in the same span of time. Get it down to 75 seconds and you have 37.5% more groups. 60 seconds doubles your groups.

20-30 seconds may not be possible for a trail, but trying to bring that time down can make a big difference.

Jim Warfield
12-03-2010, 09:09 AM
Don't have a bunch of "Stuff" written all over them, people Will Stop to read anything, but then if you need to slow them down, write stuff on the walls.
"Bud, Save this board." on a piece of wood from a dumpster (I guess he didn't save the board, I got it) had so many people turning themselves almost completely upside-down just to read these pencil scratchings it was amazing!
I should have wrote under it still upside-down"2 degrees more and your heavy head will seperate from your thin neck."

NilesHauntedHouse
12-03-2010, 06:44 PM
We have a completely different but very unique haunted house that was designed for through-put. We are one of a kind, and offer patrons the multiple route Niles Haunted House. Through this we can boost our throughput to over 1,200+/hr. Also, its more of a cash cow, instead of charging full price of $10 for repeat visitors, we offer a discount with a hand stamp for only $5. Thousands of people love this option and it will increase traffic flow tremendously.

Also, instead of putting through large groups of people every two minutes. Narrow it down to the classic smaller groups. It may not seem logical, but putting through 4-6 patrons every 15-20 sec. helps out a lot and allows the line to flow. Patrons hate waiting in lines, we still have them, but you generally wait NO longer than 30 mins per attraction. Offering line entertainment via actors, shows, projector screens, or laser shows keep them more entertained and in the mood while they wait.

All of our attractions are designed for throughput, if they weren't, we would suffer. We can push close to 12,000 patrons through on a given night only by the attendance from out interior attraction alone.

We've been in the industry for over 35 years. It takes time to tweak things, but never should your groups be put through every 2 mins. Way too long.

Aaron Smith
Niles Haunted House Scream Park
www.haunted.org
"We'll Scare the Yell Out Of You!"

Wolf Creek Haunted Forest
12-04-2010, 08:20 PM
I appreciate all the input and time you all have given me. This was only my 2nd year and I am not closed minded to suggestions at all. Some of the things you mentioned will help a lot for next year. I look forward to many future discussions.