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View Full Version : Check out this article... its an eye opener



drfrightner
10-14-2008, 04:32 PM
I got a call from an AZ newspaper saying they are doing a story on how the public can figure out which haunts are good and which are bad. So I gave them my does and do nots for the paying public.

You tell me if there is something else I didn't list or something I should have added or something you think I'm wrong on...

Keep in mind I wasn't saying in all cases but just steps a customer can take if they really want to figure out which haunt is hype and which one is the real deal...

http://www.getoutaz.com/story/4383

Larry

Haunted Illinois
10-14-2008, 11:08 PM
ďIf a haunted house has a bad Web site, itís very likely to be a bad haunted house. The same person whoís going to skimp on a Web site probably isnít going to spend X amount to make a scene look really cool and really scary,Ē says Kirchner.

I donít agree with that AT ALL. A cool website doesnít guarantee a cool haunt in the same way that a bad website doesn't guarantee a bad haunt. Perhaps the haunt owner in question made his own site and isn't web-savy or they don't understand the importance of a strong web presence, yet they are outstanding haunt designers.

Anyone can misrepresent their event with a fancy website. Iíve been to a number of Haunts that had an awesome website, but their attraction was anything but that. A lot of times a flashy website can be used to lure patrons to visit an event that wonít live up to their expectations, based on what they saw on the web. It happens all the time.

drfrightner
10-14-2008, 11:22 PM
Adam,

Let me tell you if you don't cut your grass in your front yard, you probably don't clean your house either. If haunters don't realize now that your website is EVERYTHING it is like the brain of your haunt, your website means eveything.

Would you go on a first date with the girl of your dreams dressed like a slob...you only get one chance to make a first impression.

I'm trying to lead people in the right direction. Either way I'm not saying it is an absolute but it is a sign, and sure some good haunts might have bad websites, but NO GOOD haunt should have a bad website.

Something everyone should look into down the road.

Larry

Mr Nightmarez
10-15-2008, 07:36 AM
Do you know how many haunts have super flash websites and great 'canned or bought' graphics and their haunts SUCK?

I will gladly PM you two in my area.

Now our site is custom and full of content - and I agree w/ the "ACTUAL PICS" from your haunt... etc and video. But one haunt (in particular) has video of his haunt from 4 and 5 years ago... and photos too. His haunt is misrepresented and his website is not. Or Elswarro video footage (or similar)

So don't judge that book by it's cover...
I can create a great cover and still give you a horrible novel...

I will agree on fliers - Clipart won't cut it...

But don't overlook the crappy haunts that have "Media Marketing" and no true representation of the haunt or actual characters or scenes from their haunts... again I have not been to one haunt that has an amazing flier, but last year they had Wal Mart and K-Mart props... but amazing fliers and websites...

Haunting Copy
10-15-2008, 08:05 AM
Larry did not say that all good Web sites represent good haunts.

What he said was for customers to be wary of haunts that put up bad sites. VERY FEW *good* haunts will put up a shoddy Web site. So, Buyer Beware! of the haunts that put up a crappy site.

It's simply another method to use when weeding out the places where a customer *doesn't* want to spend his or her money.

*Everyone is in agreement* that there are lots of great sites out there that don't have the haunts to back up the "wow factor" of their sites.

As for logo, however, if a haunt cannot afford terrific design work, then my recommendation would be to skip a logo altogether. I am most certainly not on the "logo-is-everything" bandwagon - not until a company has proven itself, anyway.

And while it may look like I'm arguing with Larry, I'm really not. If a haunt presents a crappy logo, then I would not spend my money there. A crappy presentation is an insult to customers. To use Larry's example, how would your dream date feel if you showed up for a first date wearing your grubs?

Sarah

Jonathan
10-15-2008, 08:18 AM
Well....always fun to discuss things...but for once I do have to say it is all about image, marketing etc. The main goal is to get ppl to your event. I do agree withyou Adam that many and I say many haunts have sweet websites, killer mascot icons etc and are downright horrible.

But...it is all about image, the look, the feel etc. I work in Advertising and Marketing for my day job and I tell my clients all the time...it's all about the image. And 90% of the time that is the truth in all areas from celebrities being nice to all the guests coming to meet them, to Joe Cafe down the block competing with a Mega Cafe.

And as for some haunts, I don't think they try to be shady. I think they get a sweet site because we all love what we do in this industry. And they truely believe their haunt is the scariest and best work they could bring to the table from them that year. And as for some haunts with a cheap site, yeah its time to upgrade and spend the cash set aside for one more pnuematic and get one of the great industry designers to knock something out.

Im not going to pick sides in this debate just adding my pennies to the pool. So all in all I agree with both you Adam and Larry.

Okay I am done rambling.

drfrightner
10-15-2008, 12:56 PM
First and foremost you have to understand the point of her article... with so many haunts out there what are some of the way a person can make a better decision when picking a haunt if you are only going to ONE!

So I have to put myself in a customers shoes and this is what I come up with...

1) Logo: does the haunt have something from a clip art book or something custom made.

2) Website: Is it something a persons brother sisters friend, of a friend made or something an owner made hired a professional, invested the same kind of money and passion they would put into their attraction.

3) Once on the site do they show you photos, trailers, video, anything that gives you a glimpse of what you will get for your hard earned money. Every movie does this and it helps people decided about the film...

4) Can you find reviews of this attraction, word of mouth online, homemade videos of the place anything. Basically testimonials.

Look I can go on and on... but the point here is this: If one haunt has a great logo, a great website, is showing you videos, and photos, and you can fish around on youtube and find homemade videos of the attraction and you can read articles and reviews about the attraction the point is this attraction is probably the one to pick.

If I was only going to ONE, I'm doing my homework.

Now some may disagree with what I'm saying, and maybe because you fall into this holes, the point I'm making to all of you with this post is DIG YOURSELF out of these holes and make sure you pass all of these tests.

When you decide to go to a movie how do you decide...

1) Movie trailer
2) Images you've seen
3) Reviews
4) Hype

These are not all the reasons but they are some of the main ones... fill these gaps or create these elements and you will be on your way to increasing your attendance.

Larry

GothycDesigns
10-15-2008, 01:25 PM
I and some friends went to see a fellow haunters attraction. Years prior he has always put on a good show because he was in a permanant place. His website is top notch. And photos I think were for this year as well. Trailer was updated but still had some footage of last years stuff mixed in with this year. I think to cut a deal wioth air time, just move around some video.

Anyways. We get to his attraction which is setup at a county fairground complex now. and I have to say, that a hant that has been top 5 in the area for almost a decade, this year I couldn't even put him in the top 10. I felt it was poorly put on. He has 4 haunts, 2 for adults, and 2 for small kids. the worst one for the adults called "Caged Rage". You walked in and immediately blinded by a flash bulb going off every second. so a 10 ft walk to the other side was kinda hard. Then it opens up, and within the rest of it, was chain link fencing maze that you could see cross the whole room from any angle. The actors were not aggressive for scares. most kinda hid just to poke a head out. makeup looked smeared on. But the thing I thought was funny/bad, that I as a paying customer, scared 4 other guests moreso than the actors their themselves. I leaned up into the fencing, because you can see the next path and started acting crazy. Guests went nuts.

SO...in this case a good webite, plus a prior reputation, did not do well for him this year. And all because now he has to buildup and teardown his haunts, when before they were a permanant in an old theatre.

Haunting Copy
10-15-2008, 01:37 PM
I and some friends went to see a fellow haunters attraction. Years prior he has always put on a good show because he was in a permanant place. His website is top notch. And photos I think were for this year as well. Trailer was updated but still had some footage of last years stuff mixed in with this year. I think to cut a deal wioth air time, just move around some video.

Anyways. We get to his attraction which is setup at a county fairground complex now. and I have to say, that a hant that has been top 5 in the area for almost a decade, this year I couldn't even put him in the top 10. I felt it was poorly put on. He has 4 haunts, 2 for adults, and 2 for small kids. the worst one for the adults called "Caged Rage". You walked in and immediately blinded by a flash bulb going off every second. so a 10 ft walk to the other side was kinda hard. Then it opens up, and within the rest of it, was chain link fencing maze that you could see cross the whole room from any angle. The actors were not aggressive for scares. most kinda hid just to poke a head out. makeup looked smeared on. But the thing I thought was funny/bad, that I as a paying customer, scared 4 other guests moreso than the actors their themselves. I leaned up into the fencing, because you can see the next path and started acting crazy. Guests went nuts.

SO...in this case a good webite, plus a prior reputation, did not do well for him this year. And all because now he has to buildup and teardown his haunts, when before they were a permanant in an old theatre.


And now his marketing efforts have lost much of their credibility. It's going to take a lot of work to rebuild trust.

Sarah

berniehaunter
10-15-2008, 02:45 PM
I have to agree that a bad Web site does usually mean a bad haunt. Though I am shooting myself down there mine had to be rebuilt after an unexpected flameout. It is in my plans to revamp it this November.

That being said, I think that what determines a good Web site vs. a bad one is much harder than most people think. You can by stock sets of images and Flash elements for few dollars and create a slick looking site in a matter of hours. However, personally, I put more emphasis on what is in a site.

Does the site have directions to the haunt?
Does it have a link to Google Maps?
What about images of the haunt (something I need to get up)?
Video? (I agree with that)
FAQs?
Rules?
Buy Tickets?

I'd rather have a site that is a little rough around the edges but containing the right info than the reverse.

The 13th Gate Web site: http://www.midnightproduction.com/past_attractions.htm is what I consider a pretty good site. It is well put together, has all the right information though it does have a few rough spots.

The problem that I have with telling people to look for slick design is that anyone can buy such a design pretty easily. I tend to have more respect for those who build their own imperfect creations than just buy professional made ones (much like how I feel about haunts themselves).

So, I agree with you definitely, but I think that many individuals will have a tough time separating the good from the bad.

Haunted Illinois
10-15-2008, 05:36 PM
...However, personally, I put more emphasis on what is in a site.

Does the site have directions to the haunt?
Does it have a link to Google Maps?
What about images of the haunt (something I need to get up)?
Video? (I agree with that)
FAQs?
Rules?
Buy Tickets?


I agree with that 100%. Content definitely counts! I've been to some cool-looking haunt websites that don't have any info, just flashy graphics. What good is all of that, if you forget to post your address or even what state your haunt is in? Don't laugh, I've seen some haunt sites that leave out some of that critical information. ... and they wonder why their website isn't bringing new customers to their haunt. LOL.

Mike Goff
10-16-2008, 09:26 AM
very interesting discussion, check out our method for finding great haunted houses.
The Porta-john rating system can be found at www.haroldshaunt.com

JamBam
10-16-2008, 10:27 AM
Your website is so important these days.

So are banners on sites like Larry's and HH. We get so much of our web traffic from these ads is it unbelievable.

Last year a woman told me her family had checked out all the area haunts and we were where she brought her family. She said our site was h why they came to us and hands down our site was the best of all the area haunts. We have a couple of other haunts (notice I did not say competittors) in the area that are kickass. Their websites suck though.

And our web traffic beats theirs. Use this link to check out your site and compare it to your other area haunts. http://www.compete.com/

You can use data like this to show sponsors.

Haunting Copy
10-16-2008, 08:52 PM
Use this link to check out your site and compare it to your other area haunts. http://www.compete.com/

You can use data like this to show sponsors.

VERY interesting. Thanks for the link!

Sarah