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Thread: Did we scare our customers away?

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  1. Default Did we scare our customers away? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Posts
    108
    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.
    Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did itů Autograph your work with excellence!
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    erie, pennsylvania
    Posts
    40
    well... u gotta figure, what made u a success last year. were in a busy area. was it easy to get to. was there any road construction that might limit people getting to ur place this year. did u still market to the same people. did u carry the same haunt name. did u have the same people work. soemtimes peopel that work ur haunt are ur best advertisers. how did u treat ur peopel last year... were u nice... grateful, stuff liek that. theres so many variables when moving ur location from spot to spot.

    where did ur advertising dollars go. what did u do the previous year.
    Henry GQ - Fear Factory Erie, Pennsylvania. www.fearfactoryerie.com
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Posts
    108
    Quote Originally Posted by FearFactoryErie View Post
    well... u gotta figure, what made u a success last year. were in a busy area. was it easy to get to. was there any road construction that might limit people getting to ur place this year. did u still market to the same people. did u carry the same haunt name. did u have the same people work. soemtimes peopel that work ur haunt are ur best advertisers. how did u treat ur peopel last year... were u nice... grateful, stuff liek that. theres so many variables when moving ur location from spot to spot.

    where did ur advertising dollars go. what did u do the previous year.
    Actually this year was easier to get to (more visible from main road), marketing was increased in the way of additional radio advertisement commercials ( we only ran 6 last year and while the haunt was open), ticket give aways, etc as well as flyers, facebook, website etc...

    We kept the majority of actors from last year and actually due to the size increase of the haunt brought on several new actors. I always thank the volunteers and let them know their appreciated and that they are the life blood of the haunt. Without them it won't happen.

    Through out the month I also give them opportunities to share the stories from the night as well as give them the opportunity to provide their own input on their area as well as make changes. I encourage them to make their room/area their own.

    Word of mouth and reviews was great. Exit interviews was 9+ through out the month. There were even comments like scary enough, to scary, etc... I know most haunts that have been around this area have been kiddy type haunts and I'm trying to bring in a whole new level of haunt marketed more to teens and younger adults, but we still see all ages come through.

    As far as the name we kept the same name because we wanted to the name recognition from last year. With us relocating that's the only way I knew we could possibly carry the momentum over from last year.
    Last edited by evilmanor; 11-08-2010 at 01:57 PM.
    Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did itů Autograph your work with excellence!
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    erie, pennsylvania
    Posts
    40
    thats actually an interesting perspective on the haunt. if a charity is involved does it make less scary? or "cool" to go ?

    how about a website ?
    Henry GQ - Fear Factory Erie, Pennsylvania. www.fearfactoryerie.com
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Posts
    108
    The website is www.hauntdetails.com.
    Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did itů Autograph your work with excellence!
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Posts
    108
    Hmmm...did I post this in the wrong forum?

    Was hoping more people would chime in here.
    Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did itů Autograph your work with excellence!
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    The Rangers making it to the world series hurt your business, I know it did ours. On many of our "Big" nights there was an important game. Its "local" sports and they did well and staying in with buddies is a cheaper nights entertainment.
    Also 63 people is nothing, statistically you did the same as last year. People arent chiming in because we dont have enough info to help you, I can tell you that it being just 63 people down, then the Rangers could easily be the reason.
    You arent to scary, you arent scaring your customers away, there are a ton of variables that go into people deciding not to go out. Also you moved, that will kill you, try to get a location and stick with it. People drive over an hour for haunts sure, but not for first year haunts, they hear abpout them and then go the next year, or the year after that...if they are still there.
    Id watch your advertising budget next year and expect more than this year IF your in the same location.
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Posts
    108
    Thanks Allen

    Yeah I knew the Rangers hurt us some this year, but thought the location an additional marketing would have over come that.

    So even though we're in a small town and probably only about 3-4 miles away from our previous location that until we find a permanent home we're not going to see much growth?

    What other info would be needed for others to give me some advice? I know we're not to scary compared to some haunts that have been doing it longer and bigger than we are, but we're definitely the scariest this town has seen.

    We heard adults and teens several times this year say that it was the scariest haunt they've been to. One local guy was quoted in a monthly periodical saying he loves haunted houses and will drive an hour for a good one. He went on to say that this years haunt was as good if not better than anything he saw at Six Flags last year. I'd think that's good, but unfortunately have never made it to Six Flags during October.

    Thanks again!
    Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did itů Autograph your work with excellence!
     

  9. Smile Hard ? to answer. some people do things diff. 
    #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    513
    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.

    Peter T
    FS

    Last thing.. Don’t forget patience.Dont rush. Quality... give a great show and they will talk and return..
    Last edited by FablesStudios; 11-10-2010 at 03:22 PM.
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Posts
    108
    Thanks for the response Peter. Unfortunately I don't have any control over the location. I dont currently have the budget to invest in a business. I can see where that's going to be a problem that will eventually need to be overcome. As far as over the top and memorable we've definitely done that.

    At least for our area. I heard great things about last years haunt weekly for about 6 months after the haunt season and from time to time after that. I know you can't always believe what you hear, but that's the things we heard. We had a group of 10 drive all the way up from Waco (about 3 hours drive) to go through the haunt. Not sure how they heard about us but was glad to have them and was glad they enjoyed themselves.

    I honestly don't think we're to scary and like you don't think its possible. But I know that not everyone is scared of the same things and being in a small area just think based on comments from some that refused to come that they were intimidated by what they had heard and experienced last year.

    I guess basically I was wondering if maybe there's just not enough interest in our immediate area or just not enough willing to allow themselves to be scared.

    Thanks again for all the input!!
    Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did itů Autograph your work with excellence!
     

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