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View Full Version : Giving away Free Tickets to your haunt???



Nightmaresgate
01-03-2011, 01:47 PM
We are always looking for ways to bring more people through the doors. Giving away free tickets hoping that for every ticket you give away they will bring a friend... seems like one way to do so. Surely some of you have tried this before. What are your thoughts on it?
Corwyn

Allen H
01-03-2011, 02:25 PM
We give away a ton of free tickets, give a stack to event managers so they give them away as prizes, give a stack to radio stations for the same reason, when they say what the prize is, you get a mention on air or at their event.
I also do ticket trades to local resturant managers, they give me gift certificates that I give as prizes to actors and I give them tickets to give to their employees (Chatty servers have sent us alot of business).
Allen H

Wolf Creek Haunted Forest
01-03-2011, 02:28 PM
I have always given away free tickets to my haunt during my first 2 seasons. I have 2 actors always trolling malls, shopping centers, fast food places, and high school events taking handful of tickets and giving 1 or 2 out to a group at a time. We track the tickets and see how many people they brought with them. For every 1 free ticket i have given out, i have noticed atleast 2 or 3 people always join the free ticket. Giving away free tickets has helped generate more customers to my haunt. I usually give a couple hundred tickets away by just passing them out each season.

damon carson
01-03-2011, 04:13 PM
First set the number of free tickets your gonna give out. I have given them to sponsers and volunteers. And parades, radio ect. Put an expiration date on them. Like no later than the 2nd weekend of Oct. And have it where they only can use them on slow nights like Thursday or Sunday. If you dont they will show up on the Saturday before Halloween. You dont want that. You could also makeup some buy one get one free passes.
Good Luck,
Damon

Badger
01-03-2011, 05:05 PM
The big effect I believe overshadows how many people they bring with them is how many people they tell AFTER they visit. If you knock it out of the park they will tell everyone how much they loved it bringing you even more business. But if you fail to meet expectations they will tell their friends "I'm glad I got in free because I wouldn't pay for that..." an then that "Free" ticket may have just cost you some people that were going to be paying customers.

In other words, make sure your show rocks and then promote it a little and let the word of mouth buzz about how awesome your haunt is take over. Your customers are your best advertisers.

I call that the "Rule of Four". One person will tell on average 4 people about the haunt, whether good or bad.

I am a big supporter of free tickets in the early part of the season. Getting people into the haunt to tell their friends is critical, especially if you have new sections or themes. If you support a particular charity or volunteer group make sure they are rewarded with tickets...

Jim Warfield
01-03-2011, 11:53 PM
I worked for many years getting paid very little (not haunting)
If someone has just driven 2 or 3 hours to see my haunted efforts I think they will be expecting to pay for that pleasure.
Give 6,000 people back a dollar, they won't appreciate it ("What's a Dollar?") But I would be missing $6,000 from my income!
Need to create a feeling that your place is popular, thereby dragging more hangers-ons in? I built a pretty realistic looking tour bus front end and put it beside the house for a year in the parking lot. It is sheet metal, silver. People would look down this dead-end street and see a bus parked here! Yes, the old "Everybody's Doing It" form of advertising! (And they come back to see what they will be seeing next time!)

Moxley Manor
01-05-2011, 09:58 AM
Being a first year haunt, we did several nights of buy one, get one free just to get our name out there. This worked out well for us in the VERY competitive DFW market. There were several occasions in which the patrons that purchased the BOGO tickets brought out friends purchasing tickets at full price.

Boni
01-05-2011, 10:29 AM
Do it, it works great, as long as you have a good show.

I make deals with the radio stations. After I bargain the price of the ads, then I bargain how many tickets they will give away on air with a max of 2 at a time.

I look at it like this, if they give away 50 pairs of tickets, that is 50 free ads. And usually they say "be listening in 10 minutes for Dr. Buzzsaw tickets" Then "5 minutes", then "Call now" and then "We have xxxx on the phone, tell us who just hooked you up with Dr. Buzzsaw tickets?"

So its usually 4 free ads for every pair of tickets.

We also give tickets to the local high schools and middle schools to use as "good behavior" rewards. Our local schools do this at lunch on Friday. The whole cafeterial watches as a teacher on the mic pulls a name out of the hat of everyone that got a "caught doing good" ticket. And now the winner of the Dr. Buzzsaw ticket shouts the teacher. That is one of major target audiences.

We give them to all our sponsors for their employees.

Raycliff Manor
01-06-2011, 05:42 AM
We've been able to negotiate with the radio stations to get 50% of our ad rates paid for in a ticket for ad exchange. This way we receive 50% off on our ads and we get the additional exposure when they promote their contests and the ticket giveaways. We make sure to provide tickets that are stamped with "valid" dates on the backs of the tickets. Early in the ad campaign they give away the tickets that can only be redeemed the first few weekends. Like was mentioned before, this prevents all the free ticket holders from showing up on the busier weekends closer to Halloween.

We also provide our entire staff with 4 free tickets each for their family and friends at the Safety Training Meeting. They get a new Raycliff T-shirt as well. They only receive these if they attend. These tickets are valid for the first two weekends and help to generate an early buzz. Of course we provide free tickets to charities for raffle baskets and other events and we provide the area nightclubs with some free tickets to award their customers, which they promote as well.

Hope this helps!

Kel

legendsofthefog
01-06-2011, 08:25 AM
We give out a ton of tickets to the radio stations that we work with, and we make sure that they give us a schedule of the times that they're giving away tickets (to make sure they're not hoarding them for clients, etc.). That is the most cost effective :10 spot that you can get.

We also give a good amount of tickets to our actors, and we give a good amount of tickets to our sponsors/contributors. Unfortunately, we had no "valid" dates on our tickets, and we really paid for it on the late Saturdays in October. We had more than 15% of our guests come as comp passes, and we were overextended on both of those big Saturdays, and we would've been perfectly comfortable w/o any of the comp passes.

Next year, we will have a 'vip' comp to give to the sponsors and contributors (they can come any night they want) while the radio comps will be limited to a certain nights, or they can act as a discount coupon for a busier night.

When the Baltimore Orioles give away tickets to their games, do you ever get the Yankees or Red Sox games? Of course not.

Jim Warfield
01-06-2011, 08:40 AM
The majority of the tours through my house heavilly involve ..ME. I am the one doing 100 to usually 98% of the time and effort to make the tour happen. I am personally leading the tour through for anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, narrating it and actively walking and running, lifting and bending for the entire 60 to 90 minutes personally traveling the 1/2 mile back and forth, resetting the house, ex cetra.
"Free Tickets?" Are you kidding?
I have a lawn that needs mowing every week all summer long, it only takes about 3 hours to mow it. Anybody want to come over and mow my grass ..for free?
I have "invested" all my energy and most of my time in building and operating my place, no complaints about that though because I do probably have more of this peculair actual "FUN" doing this and more laughs than most people.
..but no free tickies.

damon carson
01-06-2011, 08:55 AM
Ever think about this Jim? What about all the people coming to your house to do a story on your house. Did you give them a free tour? How many of them were actually legit? Did you actually get to read and see the final story on each of these people.?! You gave quite a few free tours last year huh! LOL!
Damon

HauntChick
01-06-2011, 09:55 AM
This past season we handed out several free tickets and it did bring us several new customers. We took a stack of free tickets and a stack of $2 off coupons. we'd ask people if they'd heard of us (since we're only in our second year) and if they had, we'd give them a coupon and if not, we'd give one of two free tickets (depending on the group size). It seemed pretty effective.

I really like the idea of the validation of the tickets. Alot of our free tickets were redeemed the last two weekends on friday/saturday nights. This would help get them in on Thursdays/Sundays earlier in the month. Thanks for the tip!!

Jim Warfield
01-06-2011, 07:17 PM
Many people coming here to write about the place never get a tour at all. They are much more interested in interveiwing me. You know I Can talk alot and talk for a Long Time and never even repeat myself.
Catie Sullivan who wrote for Chicago Magazine last year got a tour with no real interveiw, which was her choice, but even then many people will pay me, buy the ticket because they don't want to be feeling they owe me anything when they write as far as being more kind or forgiving and less critical.
One of the first times a magazine wrote about the house it sort of went like this:"Hi!, I'm---- and I am from "-----" magazine!"
"Admission is $-."
"Yes, but I'm from ---magazine!"
("?") "Admission is $-."
Then he bought the ticket.
Then there are those who never even tell me they are a writer until someone shows me what was written.
One such young man was here in the winter, all by himself . He travels around the world producing small home made books (for sale on e-bay) called "Dream Whips". I am mentioned in either Dream Whip 13? or 14?, maybe. He wrote some funny stuff.
I think if you had a room with 50 haunters and a room with 50 newspaper and book authors, that the room with the writers would be much more odd and just basically stranger than those of us who scare people. (Maybe that makes them scarier?)

damon carson
01-06-2011, 10:26 PM
Ya sometimes there called Paparazzi! They have been known to kill people! That is scary!
Damon

Nightmaresgate
01-11-2011, 12:34 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. I feel like we do a quality show. If you have ever run a haunt you'll know what I mean when I say that I am proud of the show we created, but in my mind I can see it being so much better. Each year we plan to challenge ourselves to create greater depths of realism, more exciting scares, and better memories for our customers to cherish. But doing so takes more than heart and hard work... it also takes cold hard cash. Until the number of patrons through the door exceeds what we need to create the best show possible this HAS to be a large part of the focus of our efforts. Your thoughts are appreciated.

JamBam
01-11-2011, 02:50 PM
I agree with Boni and Kelly Allen for all the reasons they say. Don't forget sponsors when doing a media/Vip night or opening weekend stuff. We also give a bunch of tickets to our local Pepsi distributor for both their employees and the store managers that they put our coupons into.

The return of free radio give away tickets has been around 20 % for as long as we have been tracking them (1998). The return of our sponsor tickets, radio live promos, and such has been around 45 % the five years we have been doing that, too. In Kelly's example of radio ad trades. If you buy $ 200 and trade $ 200 for $ 400 in radio ads, the return rate could be valued at $ 240-300 with a ten dollar ticket price depending on how they are given away. But then take into account Badger's idea of free tickets attracking more customers and it will make even more sense. Some will argue that free tickets give away money, but many of those proabably would ever darken you door in the first place.

While each haunt has a different policy, ours has helped us continue to grow attendance consistently.

Mad Wax Sculptor
02-12-2011, 03:47 AM
I used the bogo early in the season on slow nights and on Sundays. This can help to drive a few heads to your door