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slash
03-27-2008, 11:23 AM
We're looking into opening a couple weekends during the summer since our population increases more than 3 times than normal during the summer. Plus you get the tourists on a week's vacation looking for stuff to do.

Has anyone done this before? If so, how many nights were you open, how did you get the word out (people don't usually think of haunts in the summer), did it work, and did you use normal staff levels or cut down a bit?

Thanks!

Jim Warfield
03-27-2008, 12:55 PM
Appealing to the tourist in summer I think most haunts would have to play down any gruesome bloody stuff.
The tourists I see here come arriving in vans with kids, and even Grandma, although maybe your crowd will be more couples with no kids?
I would suggest a haunt designed to be operated by no more than two people 90% of the time and have a phone list of quick helpers on a weekend night or suddenly busy Sunday afternoon.
Decide as early as possible if you are going to do this or not so some ads can be in place before the first week in May ( when some ad sellers want them by), maybe some co-op ads with other tourist business in the area.
Buy a new car alarm from e-bay for $90 and make it into your doorbell so the ticket seller can double as a helper inside, away from the ticket window.
You may want to theme your attraction tyeing it into local events or tourist attractions and maybe even , like I said, downplay the haunt aspect or the gruesome aspects, maybe go more historical, maybe even more real, then, since history is supposed to be factual.
Will these tourists be coming for the history that the area already has?
Summer heat would be tough on people wearing make up, air conditioning?
Signage is expensive and sometimes almost made impossible to get. Maybe a decorated yet legal car or truck can be your movable billboard?
Be sure and mark all this summer holidays and any local celebrations too, that should be the times the most business will be there..usually.

Motograter
03-27-2008, 01:47 PM
There was a few haunts open all year long here in the metro-Detroit area couple years ago but last year he closed them down. I'm not sure why but I'm thinking of lack of customers maybe.

slash
03-27-2008, 02:58 PM
Appealing to the tourist in summer I think most haunts would have to play down any gruesome bloody stuff.
The tourists I see here come arriving in vans with kids, and even Grandma, although maybe your crowd will be more couples with no kids?
I would suggest a haunt designed to be operated by no more than two people 90% of the time and have a phone list of quick helpers on a weekend night or suddenly busy Sunday afternoon.
Decide as early as possible if you are going to do this or not so some ads can be in place before the first week in May ( when some ad sellers want them by), maybe some co-op ads with other tourist business in the area.
Buy a new car alarm from e-bay for $90 and make it into your doorbell so the ticket seller can double as a helper inside, away from the ticket window.
You may want to theme your attraction tyeing it into local events or tourist attractions and maybe even , like I said, downplay the haunt aspect or the gruesome aspects, maybe go more historical, maybe even more real, then, since history is supposed to be factual.
Will these tourists be coming for the history that the area already has?
Summer heat would be tough on people wearing make up, air conditioning?
Signage is expensive and sometimes almost made impossible to get. Maybe a decorated yet legal car or truck can be your movable billboard?
Be sure and mark all this summer holidays and any local celebrations too, that should be the times the most business will be there..usually.


All good ideas, thanks Jim!

Jim Warfield
03-27-2008, 08:53 PM
In the summer a haunted house attraction needs some other tourist attractions near it to have customers and in the summer Sat. and Sunday afternoons might be when most of the customers show up?
The night time hours will be tough if not much else nearby is open or happening.
If you have a busy summertime tourist draw nearby you may have to be open from 12 noon to 12 midnight,with maybe a supper break around suppertime.
During October a non-related business near a haunted house will only see an increase of perhaps 5% ,of haunt customers frequenting them, in the summer it may be working in reverse , you may only see 5% of their customers.
I guess finding out the ebb and flow and numbers of the summertime customers in your new location will really help to decide if it will be worth your efforts or not?

Mr. Haunt
03-27-2008, 09:22 PM
I said NO, beacue I think people tend to want to go to haunts more times in October. I think with the thought that Halloween is close, night time comes later and such, people look forward to haunts opening in the fall.

HOWEVER haunts at local fairs tend to see a lot of thrill seekers. You will always have thrill seekers, just what are the odds that there is a lot in your area is the question?

So I could have picked YES, but for the sake of October and Halloween, I will say NO, the profits in the summer just might not be worth it. What happens if you can not pay the BILLS?

My Idea for you, test the waters. DONT OPEN the whole part of summer. Maybe limit to one month, lets say June. If you do well, try August or September. Or Stick to one month and call it a sneek peak at something new you are doing for your October haunt. Now thats an idea!


Mr. Haunt

Tom
03-31-2008, 02:52 PM
It all depends on location and other attractions going on in the area, especially during the summer with tourism.

I built the "Dungeon Haunted Ride in 3D" located in Oklahoma City, OK. This is my 4th spring/summer season and doing quite well. Tourist love the unexpected thrill ride when they're on vacation.

I feel the only way to please the general public is stay away from the gorey bloody stuff and focus more on special effects, animatronics and props. Tourist generally involve families with youngsters. If it's too bloody/gorey or even too scarey, this tends to push them away. Edit: yes, I've had to wipe the seats down a couple time because the air cannons didn't go well with the little girls. OOPS :) They should have told me, I can turn those off upon request.

San Antonio has the Ripley's Haunt (also in other locations) and they seem to do well. But then again their name & budget helped them out a bunch.

Just my thoughts,

RJ Productions
04-04-2008, 03:11 AM
Almost every haunt open outside of October is in some sort of tourist market. They are usually scaled down, fewer actors more animations and as stated you usually have to down play the gore too as it is a different demographics.

Jim Warfield
04-06-2008, 07:53 PM
"Demographics"....."Demon graphics"...interesting...but we all know those little demons disguised as children can be a hand full!