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Thread: Hardest Year for haunt?

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  1. Default Hardest Year for haunt? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Blacksburg, SC
    Posts
    199
    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to ask some advice from some of you veterans in this industry. Most people will say that the first year is your hardest year.....in terms of getting everything prepared, getting actors/sets ready, and getting people to come to your haunt, however some people have also told me that the 2nd year was the hardest. This is our first season operating a "pro haunt" and we really advertised well and we are very pleased with the number of people who have come. I have read some posts where people say "be ready to really increase numbers the 2nd year when you are more established" but I almost think that your first year being "the new haunted house" will drive curiousity up enough to make year 1 numbers better. I realize that weather, economy, and tons of other stuff will play into this, but the reason I am asking for advice is we are just trying to decide on adding a 2nd attraction for next year and wanted to poll and see how many people had worse numbers their 2nd year and how many saw their numbers go up their 2nd year. Thanks!

    Matt
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Hartford CT
    Posts
    763
    it all depends on your 1st year. If people are coming and leaving saying "They blew" or "What a rip off" then your 2nd year will probably be lower as the new factor wore off in addition to disappointment. However if your haunt was good, people are gonna certainly gonna come back and bring their friends. Helps too if you change some of it every year too.

    I'm planning to have my 1st year next year and visited most of the haunts in my state an saw they are mostly face paint, jumping out and banging walls. My style is going to be much different and hence a different vibe/experience all together.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    227
    Your mileage may vary, but we doubled attendance from year 1 to year 2 (no I don't remember it - Excel is my friend!)

    Quote Originally Posted by SCfearfarm View Post
    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to ask some advice from some of you veterans in this industry. Most people will say that the first year is your hardest year.....in terms of getting everything prepared, getting actors/sets ready, and getting people to come to your haunt, however some people have also told me that the 2nd year was the hardest. This is our first season operating a "pro haunt" and we really advertised well and we are very pleased with the number of people who have come. I have read some posts where people say "be ready to really increase numbers the 2nd year when you are more established" but I almost think that your first year being "the new haunted house" will drive curiousity up enough to make year 1 numbers better. I realize that weather, economy, and tons of other stuff will play into this, but the reason I am asking for advice is we are just trying to decide on adding a 2nd attraction for next year and wanted to poll and see how many people had worse numbers their 2nd year and how many saw their numbers go up their 2nd year. Thanks!

    Matt
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    104
    Are 2nd year was down about 20 percent with using the same ad budget in year one and two. Looking back i think this was do to our advertising geared mostly with radio that is year by year having less results. If you stay creative with your marketing theres no reason you cannot grow second year.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    Second year is better. The only newness factor to a haunt is of you spent to much money on advertising. Stability and location are the key factors to me.
     

  6. Wink  
    #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    612
    We are a first year haunt, and are numbers have been small as of late, but there are still 3 weekends left so hard to say.

    Mr. Haunt
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Mike Chambers Guest
    Well IMO, I think the first year in any business is the hardest. Think about the money that was spent. Most of it was the capital part of the business like props,
    building sets,costumes and so on. So with the second year there is a better chance of making a profit. The key is to make a budget and stick to it now grant it things will come up and set you back but that's why if you budget the right way it will not be an issue. I always say plan for the unexpected. But I would wait till the end to see how your numbers are looking if you broke even or even made something then I would look at what areas can be improved on before making a decision of adding another
    attraction. I have seen to many businesses fail even my own haunt did because I got to big to fast. I was thinking "ok cool we broke even or we made some profit now
    lets add more if i would have worked on my problem areas and got them perfect or as close as we could then I think I might still be open,but hey live and learn and thats what I did.

    Just my 2 cents on things
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    356
    This is our first year but we seem to be right on track with my estimates. My expectation was for the first 3 – 5 years to be a challenge to get the growth I want and peak out my local market. My belief is that unless 30% (or more) changes each year we are going to get complaints. We need to have a couple of bigger props by year 3 or we will have complaints. So in order to grow the expense is going to stay the same. It just won’t be money spent entirely in wood from now on.
     

  9. Default  
    #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    612
    So as a new haunt, we had better numbers this weekend and hope to still be on the up and up.

    Thanks to those who came out, come back for more!

    Mr. Haunt
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bartlett, TN
    Posts
    285
    After two weekends, our attendance is way down from where we expected. We are on location with two other events, and expected to have a lot of carry over from them. Those sales really aren't coming through as we hoped. I'm sure the unorthodox nature of our event (not being a walkthrough haunt) is a big factor as people aren't sure what to think of it without seeing it, but we still expected to be doing better than where we are.


    There are three rules to designing a haunt. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.

    Website: www.HauntedMidsouth.com
    Haunt: www.ScarecrowTheater.com
     

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