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TheGallows
12-20-2007, 11:52 AM
Here is my question for you all.
How many of your customers are IMPULSE style clients? Where they were driving by your location and thought "Wow look at that line! let's go to a haunted house tonight!"
Or did they originally plan on going to your haunt that specific night? Did they specifically go directly to your address and on that side of town just for your event?
The reason I ask these questions is that if you are trying to find a location and you find one that is located on the biggest and most popular street in the city but it is a lot more money. But you also find a location that looks a lot more like a haunted house and a bit more off the beaten path and it is a lot cheaper, where do you draw the line?

If they were planning on going to your event that night, and you had a simple direction and address, then why would it matter that much if you were not in a walmart style location?

Just my thoughts, what do you all think?

Ryan

SomeThingInTheIce
12-20-2007, 04:59 PM
My place is in the sticks and I still had over 1000 in two nights but, my haunt is a free home haunt. If I was doing a pro haunt I would want it to be seen but, that does not mean you need to be on main street. You can still get off the beaten path a little and be easy to find. I'm sure some of the pros on this board can give you the up and down side of location. Good luck finding a place, I myself would like to find some land to buy or rent so I can move my show to a place with some more room and no by laws.

Smiley
12-20-2007, 06:32 PM
How many of your customers are IMPULSE style clients? Where they were driving by your location and thought "Wow look at that line! let's go to a haunted house tonight!"
Or did they originally plan on going to your haunt that specific night? Did they specifically go directly to your address and on that side of town just for your event?

It's hard to tell what's going on in patrons minds, since we haven't evolved to the point where we all have telepathy. But I can assume that about a quarter or so of our patrons stepped in just after they saw us across the street (when we were located in downtown). When we relocated, we had less than a quarter; at least I assume. Because at this time, we were stationed in a more "suburban area". Regardless, we still had a good numbers after the relocation.


The reason I ask these questions is that if you are trying to find a location and you find one that is located on the biggest and most popular street in the city but it is a lot more money. But you also find a location that looks a lot more like a haunted house and a bit more off the beaten path and it is a lot cheaper, where do you draw the line?

I think "media coverage" plays a big role in that. Typically when haunts first start out, there isn't much media covering the event. Why? Because that costs $$$. So it helps if the haunt is located in a place that is already teeming with potential patrons. But as haunts grow, so does their budget. After creating/buying more props, better costumes, and purchasing air time on TV, their reputation grows. If that reputation is good, then they can relocate to nowhere and still have a great customer turn out.

But haunts don't have to start out in a busy place to become big. Being located in such a place just provides a sort of "customer convenience". People will doubt if a haunt located in nowhere will be worth the trouble and that can make a dent in the turn out. Your haunt's reputation will determine how big of "a dent" that is. Wait, have I gotten off track? Anyway, as said before, haunts don't have to start out in a busy place to become big.

When your located in nowhere and have little reputation odds are you'll have a somewhat small wad of cash to spend on the haunt after those customers have paid for their tickets. How you spend it is up to you; props, costumes, etc. The idea is: over time, your haunt will gradually become even better and be more well known because people will be talking about it and start bringing their friends and family.

More patrons=More money. More money spent on haunt= Better quality (Usually. let's not forget our actors). Better quality= Bigger reputation. Bigger reputation= More patrons. And so on.

So what's the big difference between starting in the city and starting in nowhere? Nowhere haunts usually take longer to become huge, well known, truly impressive haunts.

Or maybe that's all rubbish. Sometimes I just say stuff.

Jim Warfield
12-20-2007, 07:31 PM
All right! Am I being baited here to respond to all of this? hahahaha!
Ravens Grin, world's worst location, according to almost anybody in the haunt business Before I showed any success, that is......
Billboard along the highway...? didn't seem to work , it maybe paid for itself but not much more than that , so forget the billboard.
Build up as you can, but wait to call the newspaper reporters until you think that you really have something to show them.(You never get a second chance to make a good first impression)
Yes, happy, impressed customers will respond by telling their friends and relatives and bringing them back.
Ask yourself what exactly it is that you are "selling"? (It helps if it is something that you are very partial to or is an area that you have alot of natural talent toward.)
I offer fun, exillherating experiences with unpredictable humor and strange, funny things to comprehend and enjoy,no blood, no guts, no Hollywood(expected) Monsters. Alot this comes in a very human -paced venue with all of us being in pretty much normal, human modes, of course this couldn't happen if 100's of people per/hour were zipping through here.

Greg Chrise
12-20-2007, 10:45 PM
I've had the most personal excitement driving to somewhere I had no idea where I was going, drove through the kind of heavy rain people die in ditches from and then seeing some bloody signs that said haunted house with an arrow had me laughing like an idiot driving up a one lane road that required slow driving to negotiate. I've driven 3 hours to a town I didn't know my way around and had to stop and look at maps only that town would have to see where this road off into the wilderness would possibly be. Upon finding the place, the shack behind grandpa's mobile home sees 4,000 happy people. I did find a listing on Hauntworld with a lack luster web page and still had to see it.

At my own location on a highway that sees 80,000 to 120,00 cars a day, I watch cars slow, take a look and take off if they see a line or too many cars parked there. In the second year we doubled the numbers from 421 to 821. The heads of the charity were jumping up and down when we saw over 100 in one night for the first time. I'm like you don't understand.....No high fiving until it is over 1000 people per night.

We did have one 355 people night but it was a set up, a hosted event for a whole lakeside resort member ship.

Plus, I think the cost of the rural setting is more of a match to how much a haunt actually makes unless you started 20 years ago in a big city and built up a clientel to today's standards.

Even the trip to the Raven's Grin Inn in broad day light is like "oh, shitt, I know I have heard a million times on TV, not to go meet people you met on the internet. Do I have a reason to live? Nope, keep driving." Two hours of corn fields..."Oh man, how many movies have I seen where the hillbillies get over on the happless victims, this is not good but, other people who necessarily don't like me have told me I should go here, that's also not good" Well, I've driven 19 hours straight, I just have to see right now. keep driving.

The trip is part of the adventure.

Plus, even routine travel, people know that 6 miles or so out of town looks like, yeah, we drive through there on the way to the beer store, nothing to look at. Yet, they have no idea what wonders lurk in the back woods.

There, I've talked myself into it, I'm moving.

At least in Texas, haunt attendance numbers are actually greater the farther out into the wilderness. Meanwhile the size of the haunts is like 4 times too large in the city and no one is inspired by this investment to attend. They would rather attend a fire trap in a pole barn with signage that looks like a road side vegetable vender made them.

A Halloween orange flier on the counter on a BBQ stand does better than $2,000 a week in TV advertisements. At least here. Even better than many free spots on the evening TV news.

There is a percieved excitement relative to I have never been there and don't know what is out there compared to wait, it's at the former Bingo parlor? The VFW? The Volunteer Fire Department? How cool is that? Not.

But, yes, the consultant said you have to have a good location. The other consultants said so too so as not to be giving the wrong advice.

Even if it is set up all year, yo can drive by and scope it out. Nope, doesn't look like any changes on the outside, I'm not coming out here to give them money but, If you have to drive to get there the mind is full of what could it be? They say it is different? More? Better? Let's go see!

At least then it's well, we have come this far, let's do it. Instead of doing a drive by.

My new rule is, if you are a small offering and still aren't seeing 3500 to 4,000 people per season, you location is too public, too hyped and sucks. Then there are exceptions to the rule seeing 8,000 the first year. Most see 800 or less.

There definitely is something to the mystery of not seeing. And that Raven's Grin Inn dude is very smart not publishing any pictures or videos. Then the place is big enough that even outside spy photos can't tell what all the outdoor decorations really are. In person it is so much that it is impossible to inventory in your head.

The ones I drive by regularly go down in attendance every year no matter what they do to advertise. Back in the day they did a lot when they were new to the location. Meanwhile out in the boonies they increase every year.

Greg Chrise
12-20-2007, 10:47 PM
I didn't put any kind of hex on them as I drove by to screw up their attendance more and more every year.

Jim Warfield
12-20-2007, 11:18 PM
Butt, Gregg, I thought carefully balanced cat turds on the edge of someone's roadside sign was always considered a curse, no matter where you were, especially all standing tall, sort of like those stone heads on Easter Island, except hopefully alot shorter.
Yes, it WAS my turn to clean the boxes tonight, "Georgia was NOt on my mind", something elsez were. They gone now.
Butt knot forgotN

TheGallows
12-20-2007, 11:28 PM
Well I totally agree with everything that you have all said. I saw one crappy add for a haunt that was 60 miles away from me this year and had to go to it because it was located in an old hospital. Well I found that they obviously did not do their homework! they never read the JB corn books or Kelly Allens book, they probably DID read Pickels book (from what I have heard) but they sucked big time. So I am with you that longer drives can be worth it. But we are in Utah and once you leave city limits you are in the Salt Flats practically! There is nothing really rural out here. If it does not fall within the city limits then you are dealing with sagebrush.

I guess I should of clarified, I am saying off the beaten path WITHIN the City. If you are not on main street in your city will it affect you more if you are down a substreet from main street? The other well known haunts in my city average 40,000 to 60,000 visitors and they sit on fairly expensive real estate.

My thought process tells me that 80% of haunt guests planned on attending the said event without even caring where the location is in the first place. So does the other 20% loss due to location balance off for the 40% lower rent payments in a harder to find location?

Like an old warehouse area instead of an old Walmart......

Doing a Myspace poll for my friends I found that 90% of them would not travel over a certain distance from the main metropolitan city to attend a haunt. Most even had certain cities within the metropolitan area that they would not go to even if it was the coolest haunt around due to possibly being in the "Ghetto". ( which is understandable, L.A. could be cool but you couldn't pay me to go into Compton for a Haunt!)

So my question still stands how much could it affect me if the other haunts own prime real estate and I can afford much less?

Ryan

Jim Warfield
12-21-2007, 09:03 AM
A tourist town I am familiar with sees over 3 million tourists annually there is basically one main busy street winding down the 6 blocks of the main attraction there.
A few years ago if you located a business there, right there on the main busy street, rent was $1,200 a month for a 20 by 90 foot old storefront.
If you decided to rent a spot just around the corner on the next street, rent dropped to $500 to $800 a month, BUT the number of people walking passed and stopping in your store dropped ALOT!
Of course all of this is sort of a manipulated real estate situation since only two or three people owned everything worth owning , I was told.
"Why is the rent so high? Because I say so!"