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  1. Default  
    #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    394
    The haunting paradox, people pay us for entertainment in the form of scaring them, and if we are REALLY successful then we potentially lose them as a future customer.

    For example, consider the numbers Howie posted. 56 confirmed "accidental discharges" and another 527 people who purchased tickets and failed to see the entire show. For the sake of easy math, instead of the 56 confirmed accidents, lets pretend that the staff missed a few (easy enough to imagine) and round that number up to 60. Let us further assume (for the sake of arguement) that all 60 will never return, and that 25% of the failures (or 132) were so traunamtized by their experience that they too are now ex-customers.

    This gives us a grand total of 192 lost year 2 customers. Let's round that up to 200 to make the math easy. Assuming that the rates above hold, and that each customer spends $12 total, Howie will have lost the following customers and revenue:

    Year: ONE
    Lost Customers: 200
    Total Lost Customers: 200
    Revenue Lost: $0

    Year: TWO
    Existing Lost Customers: 200
    New Lost Customers: 200
    Total Lost Costumers: 400
    Revenue Lost: $2400

    Year: THREE
    Existing Lost Customers: 400
    New Lost Customers: 200
    Total Lost Customers: 600
    Year Revenue Lost: $4800
    Total Revenue Lost: $7200

    Year: FOUR
    Existing Lost Customers: 600
    New Lost Customers: 200
    Total Lost Customers: 800
    Year Revenue Lost: $7200
    Total Revenue Lost: $14,400

    Year: FIVE
    Existing Lost Customers: 800
    New Lost Customers: 200
    Total Lost Customers: 1000
    Year Revenue Lost: $9600
    Total Revenue Lost: $24,000

    This Haunt then enters year six knowing up front that they have sacrificed 1000 customers that they MIGHT have had (in a perfect world). Of course, the above generously assumes that these lost customers wont negatively influence anyone else into not attending, but in the real world they do.

    This is obviously the big haunt delema. How do you provide an entertaining experience for the majority without overscaring the minority? If you tone it down to the point at which the terrified become calm, then the average person will be bored. But if you don't then you need to rely on a steady influx of new faces that exceeds the number you lose each year.
    "To be matter-of-fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy - and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful." Robert A. Heinlein
     

  2. Default  
    #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,840
    Smacky, It sounds sort of like the tavern business. Sell booze to make money but you want them not to be aggressively drunk, sick or kill themselves driving home(This costs customers, perminently!), then you tell them to stop drinking and get out! Goodbye income.
    Maybe having food in the tavern would spread the profit potential?

    Smacky, you need to just add another dimension to your show, such as humor, maybe some history? Artifacts? More human interaction (this takes alot of time and energy, admittedly)
    People coming here may get scared, thrilled, inspired, entertained. some people think they see a real ghost here, some do! Some laugh their butts off all the way through the 90 minute tour!?
    The majority of people respond well to be treated as "people", versus numbers or shadows running passed you down a hallway.
    I have the advantage of leading most customers all the way through the house so they know me, sort of, and respond "in-kind" to the way I relate to them.
     

  3. Default  
    #13
    Guest
    Smacky,

    I understand your point but we have found that many who chicken out will still come back the next year to try again. If nothing else to prove that they can do it. Some even come back the same year, so now they have paid twice.

    Also, it is great word of mouth for people who are looking for a very scary show. Just imagine the talk around the water cooler when the chicken tells everyone at the office that they were too scared to make it all the way through the haunt. Or even better when the friends the chicken came with tell their friends how the guy the went with last night could not even make it past the first room.

    We have had a lot of people not make it through the entire haunt the last four years since we opened. Yet every year except one, our numbers have increased. So, our very intense type of show seems to attract more customers rather than lose them.

    I look at it like this, there are several dozens haunts in the area that cater to a "family friendly" consumer. We are one of the only around that go for the old school, in your face approach. It sets us apart from the crowd and gives us our unique customer base who are looking for the thrill that comes from being terrorized.

    The few that we lose to the "extreme" experience ultimately translates into more customers in the long run knowing they can't go anywhere else for our type of haunted house.

    We hear all the time that we went to this haunt or that haunt and it was very pretty or well designed but it had no scare factor at all. When it comes down to it, I believe that most haunt visitors while wanting to be entertained also want the biggest scare for their buck as well.

    Just my 2 cents,

    Howie "Slobber" Erlich
    Deadly Intentions Haunted House
    www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com
     

  4. Default  
    #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Davison, Michigan
    Posts
    1,751
    Quote Originally Posted by Howie Slobber Erlich
    Smacky,

    I understand your point but we have found that many who chicken out will still come back the next year to try again. If nothing else to prove that they can do it. Some even come back the same year, so now they have paid twice.

    Also, it is great word of mouth for people who are looking for a very scary show. Just imagine the talk around the water cooler when the chicken tells everyone at the office that they were too scared to make it all the way through the haunt. Or even better when the friends the chicken came with tell their friends how the guy the went with last night could not even make it past the first room.

    We have had a lot of people not make it through the entire haunt the last four years since we opened. Yet every year except one, our numbers have increased. So, our very intense type of show seems to attract more customers rather than lose them.

    I look at it like this, there are several dozens haunts in the area that cater to a "family friendly" consumer. We are one of the only around that go for the old school, in your face approach. It sets us apart from the crowd and gives us our unique customer base who are looking for the thrill that comes from being terrorized.

    The few that we lose to the "extreme" experience ultimately translates into more customers in the long run knowing they can't go anywhere else for our type of haunted house.

    We hear all the time that we went to this haunt or that haunt and it was very pretty or well designed but it had no scare factor at all. When it comes down to it, I believe that most haunt visitors while wanting to be entertained also want the biggest scare for their buck as well.

    Just my 2 cents,

    Howie "Slobber" Erlich
    Deadly Intentions Haunted House
    www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com
    I agree with you, I also believe that people will come to your event just to see what was so scary that people couldn't make it through. I also believe that some people that couldn't make it through the first time will try to challenge themselves to see if they can make it through the second or third time. I know most people don't enjoy soiling themselves but I have heard some people laugh at the fact that they soiled themselves at a haunt and considered it a good haunt because they were scared so much the soiled themselves. And besides for every person that says it was too scary for them to make it through you get probably get 2 or 3 that WILL now come out to your attraction to see if it really is that scary.
    Jared Layman
     

  5. Default  
    #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,840
    This live- haunt-entertainment field is a "nich" business at best compared to other businesses and finding your own customers within this nich is quite an accomplishment whether they are scared 9 yr. olds or college kids or whatever?.......
    Whatever "works",...works.
     

  6. Default  
    #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    394
    Quote Originally Posted by Howie Slobber Erlich
    Smacky,

    I understand your point but we have found that many who chicken out will still come back the next year to try again. If nothing else to prove that they can do it. Some even come back the same year, so now they have paid twice.

    Also, it is great word of mouth for people who are looking for a very scary show. Just imagine the talk around the water cooler when the chicken tells everyone at the office that they were too scared to make it all the way through the haunt. Or even better when the friends the chicken came with tell their friends how the guy the went with last night could not even make it past the first room.

    We have had a lot of people not make it through the entire haunt the last four years since we opened. Yet every year except one, our numbers have increased. So, our very intense type of show seems to attract more customers rather than lose them.

    I look at it like this, there are several dozens haunts in the area that cater to a "family friendly" consumer. We are one of the only around that go for the old school, in your face approach. It sets us apart from the crowd and gives us our unique customer base who are looking for the thrill that comes from being terrorized.

    The few that we lose to the "extreme" experience ultimately translates into more customers in the long run knowing they can't go anywhere else for our type of haunted house.

    We hear all the time that we went to this haunt or that haunt and it was very pretty or well designed but it had no scare factor at all. When it comes down to it, I believe that most haunt visitors while wanting to be entertained also want the biggest scare for their buck as well.

    Just my 2 cents,

    Howie "Slobber" Erlich
    Deadly Intentions Haunted House
    www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com
    Don't get me wrong Howie, I am not being critical at all. I was only pointing out the obvious paradox and using your numbers as an example. Haunted Houses are probably the only business in which dramatically exceeding customer expectations risks losing their business. No one ever says, "Disneyland was way too fun, I'm never going back there!" or "This Lobster tail is too big; I want a tiny shriveled up one!"

    I will say this though. I think we both have met MANY people, even adults, who were so terrified by a past haunted house experience that they will never (or rarely) try one again -- even years later.

    But what's the solution? Obviously the intensity level cannot be lowered to match the desires of the overly sensitive, or not if you want to stay in business.
    "To be matter-of-fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy - and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful." Robert A. Heinlein
     

  7. Default  
    #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    147
    Last year I had a whopping 25%-30% not make it through but it was due to chav-baby-pram-teenage girls and their latest fling bringing toddlers in past family times... After 8pm it is for adults (13+) but not strictly enforced....

    they had to make a hastey exit when the kids would start wailing!!

    But with with young mothers as young as 12 themselves and their spotty boyfriends who look like 13 it is easy to see why they make these decisions... ;-0

    But this year - the crowd was normal - more middle class /older and everyone bar 4 or 5 didn't make it through...

    we also had a lot more families during the day and really nice customers!! No problems at all during the day or night!

    However another bigger but not as good haunt about 15 miles away had three 13 year olds carrying knives, an actor punched in the face, and about 4 fights per evening (in the ques) - several props and sets destroyed... sounds like the chavs went some where else ... ;-)

    I couldn't be happier
     

  8. Default  
    #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,840
    An old mystery may have been figured out here.
    I'm open almost every night of the year and I am the one leading customers through the house , the only one during the off-season, any month except Oct. the end of Sept. and the first few weeks in Nov.
    I have some excellant helpers here in-season but they can't get away with doing everything that I normally do during a tour because when I am doing the entire show the customers sort of get to know what kind of person I am and possibly do not over-react to some of the things I normally do, in a physical way, whereas my helpers are only seen and heard for a very short time during the tour so they don't have the same trust or knowledge of them, thereby aggressive reactions sometimes are forthcoming from the customer that I do not see ever coming my direction.

    If you need customers to behave better :

    1) Just say , "NO!" to Drunks (No admittance)
    2)Invest in video cameras
    3)Have customers go through in small groups
    4) Make it a guided tour, one guide leading and one following
    5) Have your haunt a little more well lit than more dark
    6) Be as human, nice, civil to the customers as you can be , at least most of the time. This can have an extra advantage of setting them up for the scare.
     

  9. Default  
    #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    I just imagined the front room routine being the viewing of Gone with the Wind, the full 4 hour version with no pee breaks. Please Mister let us out of here! No this is the best part!


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  10. Default  
    #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,840
    Controlling another person's bladder , yet promising them relief "soon", yet continuing, is one of the tricks cults start out doing to get that old mind-control going.
    Yep! Read that years ago.
    I think I might have also heard that "Gone With The Wind" was one of A. Hitler's favorite movies?
    Can't you just imagine the urine turning into sweat and popping out the pores as nobody wanted to get up in the middle of that movie and anger Adolf.
     

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