HauntWorld Home - Forums Home - Live Chat - Find Haunted Houses - Hauntworld Magazine - Haunted House Supplies - America's Best Haunts - Find Vendors
Haunted House News - Haunted Tradeshows - Join Hauntworld Facebook - Hauntworld Twitter - Advertise - Contact Us

Thread: How did your haunt fare in 2013? - Year End Recaps!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. Default How did your haunt fare in 2013? - Year End Recaps! 
    #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    35
    Hello Everyone!

    I may have missed this topic, if it already exists I apologize, but I was curious as to how everyone's haunt fared in 2013?

    Did you have any special events?

    What kind of haunt do you have? Is it extreme? Gory? Psychedelic? What does it play off of?

    What worked and didn't work?



    I'm interested in how other haunts function, especially successful marketing techniques. This is my second year helping out in marketing and administration for the haunt I work with, so I want to know! How's the industry?
     

  2. Default "what Works?" Good Question. 
    #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,809
    I really don't know, anymore. so much has changed during these last 27 years since I opened up here. 27years ago the big newspapers on the East coast were beginning to have trouble with their advertisers because cable TV had come to town and readership was declining very noticably and suddenly old, established papers were for sale,some sold, some sold again for less money.
    Cable Tv became satellite Tv and suddenly everyone had So Many channels to choose from!
    So who is watching what and when? How much money would it take to hit a channel someone just wasn't just "Surfing" by for 2 seconds?
    Years ago after I spent my "Hard-Earned " on Cable Tv and tracked the calls and asked people how they found me and collected addresses from checks mailed for advance tickets I came to the sorry conclusion that for $1,000 I got maybe 10 customers from cable TV.
    I had a billboard along a major highway at the edge of this small town right where tourists coming from Chicago would see it as they headed to a major State park and the Missississppi River. Surprising to me the sign only seemed to bring us enough to pay for the sign rent each month and no more than that , but in the Winter it did nothing (We are open 365 nights and most weekend afternoons.)
    I have gotten nice free TV productions on HG-Tv and Wild Chicago which did seem to help noticably and continued to do this for a few years . Most other Tv productions brought almost nothing, some just brought a butt-pain dealing with "Those" people.
    There seems to not be any one or two things that will work well enough anymore to justify putting all your money or hopes into them, the media is too dispersed,or flooded.
    Free articles in books and magazines have helped some over these last few years . All newsprint is dead,no matter what they try to do for you, nobody reads them anymore.
    Just three years ago in October the Mighty Chicago Tribube had nice good photos of the house a good story and we saw very close to nothing from this, which shocked me, somewhat. 25 years ago an article there kept brining people here for years,not anymore.
    If I had to buy all of this" print", I would be pennyless now,it would have all been "outgo" with puny "Income".='s no balance, no value.

    THE one thing that works and keeps on working for years and years at a time is reputation. Try real hard to entertain and please those customers, impress them,do whatever it takes,make them laugh OR scream either way You WIN.
    I not only "Dumpster-Dive" I also have bult almost every inch of the haunted displays and art in here. Not only did this fact save money, it also created a unique experience for those people, possibly even unforgettable, noteworthy to remain stuck in their heads long enough to tell others they know.
    Ravens Grin Inn is not like any other haunt I have ever heard of. Pure accident on my part.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Clinton Twp, Michigan
    Posts
    409
    I love you Jim!

    Howie "Slobber" Erlich
    1986-1997 (Mutilation Mansion,) 1998 (Screamers Haunted House,) 1999 (Evil Intention Haunted House,) 2000-2001 Concept Creator/Business Partner (Urban Legends Haunted House,) 2002 Floor Plan Designer and Consultant for a (Haunted Barn) Owners had city challenges & were never able to open, 2002 Floor Plan Designer/Construction (Fright Nights Haunted House) 2003-2012 Now retired Owner (Deadly Intentions Haunted Attraction)
     

  4. Default Well,, Thank You! 
    #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,809
    Howie! I wonder what advice or knowledge will be passed along right here, I know one thing for sure ,I sure Don't know it all, even after being open 9,855 nights!
    But then relavent business knowledge does change as time passes and may also be somewhat different from one part of the world to the next.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Clinton Twp, Michigan
    Posts
    409
    Jim, I totally agree with your last post.

    Toothpaste,

    I can tell you that almost every haunt in Michigan has had declining numbers the last couple of years. Too many factors to list for the reasons I feel this has happened. From what I have heard from around the country, most will tell you that they have not had very great seasons the last couple years. (Obviously some haunts have thrived.) I have been involved in this industry for over 27 years now and have never seen things this bad for haunters.

    Howie "Slobber" Erlich
    1986-1997 (Mutilation Mansion,) 1998 (Screamers Haunted House,) 1999 (Evil Intention Haunted House,) 2000-2001 Concept Creator/Business Partner (Urban Legends Haunted House,) 2002 Floor Plan Designer and Consultant for a (Haunted Barn) Owners had city challenges & were never able to open, 2002 Floor Plan Designer/Construction (Fright Nights Haunted House) 2003-2012 Now retired Owner (Deadly Intentions Haunted Attraction)
     

  6. Default Great year here in Northern Michigan - 
    #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Traverse City, Michigan
    Posts
    319
    We actually had a great year despite some nights where it rained so much it actually flooded into our haunt - We did almost 1,000 more people than the previous year, which was our first year at our newest location. In 2012 we were also plagued by a very wet season and still managed a decent season up here in Northern Michigan. Sure its not anywhere near the numbers the big boys down state pull.....but we don't have the population up here, we are growing and that's what matters to us
     

  7. Default Central Michigan -did good with raising prices last year. 
    #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    616
    Had a good year. Had one weather downer and one Sat. night they shut down the Interstate 96 interchanges one mile from us. Parking lot was going into overflow just before people could no longer get to us. Better than having the I-96 shooter at our interchange the year before. Same night we were going into overflow parking with 600ish here a haunt that has been around for 4 years had 4 cars in the parking lot. Phatman caused the accident I am sure on his way to the other haunt. Get a reputation and keep it...never slack off.

    Wicked Farmer
     

  8. Default Oops you asked for more info 
    #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    616
    We do not do gory. Or at least keep it low key...like bloody hanging body bag that moves. We are an outside trail through a corn field with a non haunted corn maze on the other side of the field. Haunt is $15. Actors are key though we do not do masks any more than the $20 range. Several shacks along the trail where we have lots of eye candy from Poison, Distortions props and shocktronics, old Scarefactory stuffand we rotate lots of props. Been told no one wants to see masks they can get at local Haloween specialty stores....hmmm never had a comment like that from customers in 13 years. Maybe we will step that up some. No special events...love hearing customers who went to other haunts in area for "celebrities" then when coming here give comments like "We will come here from now on!" So....I don't do gimmics. But when you have hundreds of people at your place comparing notes on local haunts THAT IS HUGE!!!!!

    Wicked Farmer
     

  9. Default  
    #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    35
    Thanks for the response!

    Jim- I agree that print media ads are not worth advertising unless there is a very specific audience. Last year, however, we had a fair amount of media attention! Local free papers that have a good reputation and solid reader base ran stories on our haunt. One was connected to a university, one was a more civic minded paper that is popular and the other was a sort of "indie" paper that is focused on music, dining and entertainment within the region.

    That said I feel that where I live, in Columbus, OH, there is a strong prevailing culture of "support local" and "support Ohio" that permeates through most market segments. People here actually read the free papers, almost out a sense of local pride. Seeing you are open all year, there is probably less of an incentive for news stories to cover you around Halloween since you are a business with a yearly presence, but I'm no pro so it's just a guess.

    As to our numbers, we moved to a different location in 2013 (not by choice) and expected our attendance to dip by 50%. In the end we lost about 20-25% of sales but not nearly as bad as we thought.

    Wicked - That is great to hear you did well! Just because you are not a "big haunt" doesn't mean your strategies and success matter less. How do you get the word out?

    Howie - I heard the same about the haunt industry in the mid-west, that attendance has been poor as of recent. I guess the question is, what can fight this trend? While reversing the trend may be impossible to do from inside the industry due to greater market forces, far out of the haunt industry's control, influencing how people spend their disposable income, surely there are best practices.


    Although this is pretty obvious, I really like building a reputation with your current customers, looking inward. But does this really translate into a growing customer base? How much do you spend reaching out to new customers vs. improving the quality of the experience for your current?
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,587
    Quote Originally Posted by wickedfarmer View Post
    We do not do gory. Or at least keep it low key...like bloody hanging body bag that moves. We are an outside trail through a corn field with a non haunted corn maze on the other side of the field. Haunt is $15. Actors are key though we do not do masks any more than the $20 range. Several shacks along the trail where we have lots of eye candy from Poison, Distortions props and shocktronics, old Scarefactory stuffand we rotate lots of props. Been told no one wants to see masks they can get at local Haloween specialty stores....hmmm never had a comment like that from customers in 13 years. Maybe we will step that up some. No special events...love hearing customers who went to other haunts in area for "celebrities" then when coming here give comments like "We will come here from now on!" So....I don't do gimmics. But when you have hundreds of people at your place comparing notes on local haunts THAT IS HUGE!!!!!

    Wicked Farmer
    In all honesty my first reaction upon reading this was Hell No if I saw a pro haunt using $20 masks I'd be demanding my money back. That's just a slap to the face of people, charging people for garbage and no creativity. BUT, you said your price was only $15, which is an incredible bargain these days. So in the end for a $15 ticket I would be expecting less and could be pleasantly surprised, but if not at least I didn't spend $25-$50 which would've been a complete rip off.

    DA
     

Thread Information
Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •