Did we scare our customers away?
This past season was our second year putting on a charity haunt. With last year being what I thought a great success I was a little let down by this years numbers.
I live in a very rural area and the haunt was in a city of approx 15,000 people. The nearest haunt is about an hour away.
Our first year we brought in about 12% of our area population. Which from what I've been reading is about par for a 1st year haunt. We literally lost count of the number of people who couldn't make it through and wet themselves. There were 3 confirmed to have defecated and one who threw up. Some of those after paying decided to not even enter or chickened out after entering the first hallway.
Personally I didn't think we could be too scary, and for the most part still believe that. But after our numbers were down a little this year (-63 people). I'm wondering if we've over scared our advertising market? This year we were in a more visible location, open 3 additional nights, tripled our marketing budget and still came up short from last years numbers.
The frustrating part is when I hear about people driving that hour plus to other haunts and paying more in admission to be let down and they do this every year.
Is this norm for a new haunt? I realize relocating every year doesn't help, but just trying to get ideas as what to do/expect next year. Maybe we should broaden our marketing area.
Do potential customers see our lesser price associated with a charity fund raiser and automatically think we're a sub-par haunt?
Thanks for your time and I appreciate any and all feedback.
Hard ? to answer. some people do things diff.
Stick with a location.. moving after your 1st year is basically like your 1st year all over again. It sounds like you did well. Keep in mind your bringing your art/ your dream to life so really let that soak in. think of your positives.
I visited a lot of haunts this past year and saw no difference between some for profit to non profit haunts. Actually some non profit haunts had bigger budgets and gadgets and better actors then some for profits haunts.
Since I have not seen your haunt I don’t have to much detailed advice to give. I don’t think being too scary is really possible “People are so desensitized by video games, tv and movies.” Are they being entertained (I don’t mean this as a dig to you) I mean this as a question to ask yourself? If so How? How can it be better? How can I make it Over the top Memorable? If not why? How can it be fixed? Really think each room through. You can hide in a corner of the rooms as people go through to see how the room can be improved. Don’t be afraid to moves walls around.
Another issue is marketing, think who you are marketing too. If you market it to kids in young grades and it should be for young adults maybe the marketing should be looked at. Try cross marketing with other haunts, restaurants, concert halls, paintball arenas, family fun centers. Think where are the people.go there. "Here have a flyer." It sounds like you need to keep getting your haunt out there and the people will start to come. But remember.. you have to produce a good show to have people talk about it and bring them back for years to come.
Bring your passion, Love and creativeness to next year and the people will come. Wish you the best of luck.
Last thing.. Don’t forget patience.Dont rush. Quality... give a great show and they will talk and return..