Escape Room Business

Many escape rooms haven't adopted Internet marketing though. But the few that have are currently enjoying a massive competitive edge over those that haven't — one that encourages their growth and reduces the revenue of their competitors.

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. While there are many escape room websites and blogs online full of resources and information on where to find a local one in your area, we have put together this simple guide to starting your escape room business.

These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

  • Plan your Business
  • Register for taxes
  • Open a business bank account & credit card
  • Set up business accounting
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses
  • Get Business Insurance
  • Define your brand
  • Establish your Web Presence

Tips for the marketing of your business

When local companies are considering their escape room digital marketing strategies, well-groomed online profiles are a must. Most users will check online and compare offers before they buy from you. You should therefore make sure your profiles are up to date, and your reviews are great.

Evaluation platforms play an exceptionally important role for local companies. Just like restaurants, for example, users want to share their Escape Rooms, Paintball or Laser tag experiences – and use review platforms to spread the word.

As you’re marketing a local business, you should be present on the following rating platforms at the very least:

  • Facebook
  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor

Facebook and Google are major rating platforms for local businesses

Share Exciting Footage on Social Media

Create engaging video content to give a glimpse into the exciting world of your game. Use a professional photographer & videographer to capture the best moments and share them in the most visually engaging way.

Encourage shares with giveaways and contests that you regularly organize on your online channels. As we already mentioned, Social Media Ads are very powerful when it comes to building brand awareness too! So make the most of them by promoting your best posts.

Your presence on social media will demonstrate that you are engaged with the customers’ experience and want to keep it constantly great and exciting.

Spotlight players on social media channels

Whenever a group escapes a room — whether it’s on their own or because time ran out — they’re excited to go over everything that happened. Your Cluemasters are likely to hear the complete rundown — what went wrong, who solved what clue, which players gave up, and who was the bossiest. What happens in the escape room rarely stays in the escape room.

Since these player stories are a result of a unique escaping experience, you should share them on social media. Posting a group’s photo with a caption describing their escape will help you connect with other players. For example, an escape room enthusiast may want to see how another group did in a room they found particularly challenging.

Two Checkfront players posing after escaping Adventure Rooms for an Instagram post

Plus, when you create a social media post personalized to each group’s experience, the players are more likely to share it on their accounts with family and friends. The ultimate call to action and return on investment here is to get more likes and followers. This action can lead to more shares, likes, and comments. In other words, it can drive up user engagement. Even one Instagram contest picker will get you around a thousand followers at least and increase your popularity. Even one giveaway will get you around a thousand followers at least and increase your popularity, the renowned blog mentions

To collect a story in the middle of all the excitement after an escape, have your Cluemasters follow these steps:

  • Offer to take a photo of the group holding up creative signs celebrating success or admitting to failure.
  • Ask the group if you can use the photo on social media.
  • If the answer is yes, then take a couple of minutes to talk about the experience.
  • Have a few questions prepared to discover information you can use in your caption.
  • You can also ask for a photo and story if you send out thank-you messages to your players after the day of the escape.

Keep players updated with email marketing

It’s not often a player will try escaping the same room twice — unless they failed and didn’t ask your Cluemaster for the answer to the riddle. However, it’s still possible to retain customers despite the common one try per room way of thinking. There’s always a chance a player will book again for an attempt at one of your other rooms.

That’s why you should let players whenever a room is switched out for something new. If they had a memorable experience escaping the last time, they’d be wanting to have another go with a new theme, storyline and set of clues. And the best way to keep players updated is to send out an email campaign.

Example of an email marketing campaign for a haunted house theme escape room.

At the time of booking, you’ll likely collect an email address from each player. While the intention is to communicate with your players regarding the reservation, you can also ask if they’d like to subscribe to your mailing list.

Using an email marketing platform — like MailChimp — you can emulate the same creativity you have when designing your rooms. Whether you work off a template or start from scratch, your email campaigns can pique a player’s interest with captivating imagery and irresistible copy. And with the right calls-to-action, your readers are likely to convert into players (again).

Just like your escape rooms, some of these marketing channels might have a higher success rate than others. The nice thing is that there’s no time limit. So take the time to test each of these strategies and find the ones that work for you.

Social Media

Before I start sharing the 9 engagement methods, a quick note on social media. There are so many different social media channels out there, but only certain ones perform the best for escape rooms. At the same time, we want to suggest that you have an effective content creation and marketing strategy for your website and blog as well.

With these in place, you can then use the following social platforms to further promote your brand and business:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Linkedin

With that said, not all of these social media will be able to utilise all of the engagement methods I’m going to share. Instagram is for images only. Youtube, for videos only. Facebook will be able to use all of the methods, and Linkedin most of them.But maximise your results and engagement by using all four social media platforms!

1. Photos & Videos

Let’s start with a simple one. Photos and Videos may seem obvious, and you probably already post plenty of images at the very least, if not videos. The key is to ALWAYS have one of the others with everything you post. Never ever just post some text. A post with a photo or video is much more likely to be noticed, read, and interacted with.

The most common photo that escape rooms post are team photos, both winners and losers. This is a great opportunity to engage, and I cover this in point 5.

Photos can come in many different forms, but they should always be colourful, bright, and vibrant. If they are real-life photos, they DON’T need to be high quality — you can just use your phone! Photos of different parts of your rooms (whilst avoiding spoilers) will always do well, as well as any appropriate and popular memes — or you can always make your own!

As for videos, there are many things that work. One thing, in particular, is teasers and trailers for each of your rooms. This is a big strategy, though, so I’m going to cover it in greater detail in a future post.

2. Competitions

Next up, we have competitions. Competitions are a great way of creating engagement because people stand a chance of winning something. A free visit to one of your rooms for a team of 5 or more usually does best.

The key with competitions is the rules of entry. In order to maximise engagement and how many people see your post and escape room, one of the entry requirements MUST be that people share your post or page on their own social media. This has a great compound effect, as more and more see your post, want to win and share, and so on.

Another great requirement you can add is tagging those friends or family that they want to bring with them if they win. Again this increases the amount of engagement and views, which will spiral big time!

You may be a little hesitant to give away a free visit at the cost of several hundreds of dollars. But the large amount of engagement you’ll be guaranteed to experience will well make up for that in new bookings that you’ll achieve.

Plus, if you make people enter their details on your website as part of the entry process, you can market to them at a later date via email, text message, etc.

Competitions are very much an investment — but that is absolutely what all marketing is. They’re a proven method for escape rooms, and I’d recommend running a competition as often as monthly. You won’t regret it!

3. Polls

The third method of social media engagement that performs the best for escape rooms is polls. Platforms such as Facebook allow polls to be ran, but you don’t need to use the specific poll option to run one. You can simply create a post (with a photo!) that asks a question and have people answer it in the comments.

Polls are great for engagement because people like to have their say and be seen doing so. You can run polls and ask questions on anything topical or escape room related.

One of the best performing polls I’ve seen an escape room run was a teaser for their upcoming room. They ran a poll asking their audience what theme they thought their new room was based on. To add to the engagement, they combined it with a competition, where each entry was in with a chance of being one of the first to try out the new escape room for free!

Polls can be great for getting feedback and ideas for your escape rooms too.

Thinking about trialling an adult only themed evening event? Run polls asking what times, themes, etc. people want. That’s just one example of many, but you can see the potential to get market research before investing in anything new.

4. Discounts

Next up we have discounts. I don’t think I’ve come across a single escape room that doesn’t offer some kind of discount if you know where to look. Those who are hesitant about offering a discount consider discounts to be desperate. The fact is they’re fantastic ways to generate new bookings, and not at all desperate. And they don’t have to be huge discounts to be effective, either.

Where escape rooms go wrong with their discounts is they don’t scream about them enough! Social media is a great place to do so, and because discounts are popular, you’ll get great engagement from them naturally too. That, combined with the usual success of running discounts, means you’re guaranteed to get bookings from social media posts promoting your discount.

Combine a discount post with a poll or competition and win engagement and bookings.

5. Tagging Team Photos

I briefly alluded to this strategy when talking about photos. Most escape rooms post hundreds of photos on their social media of winning and losing teams. It’s a nice touch, and people like to see themselves and save a copy of the photo too.

But escape rooms fall short of turning this daily process into great engagement. At the time of taking a team photo, the players (both winners and losers) will still be hyped from the experience they just had in your room. This is a great chance to remind them to tag each other on the photo once you upload it that night.

This has a fantastic compound effect. The friends of those tagged will see the photo, see what their friend has done and ask them about it. Many will want to have a go themselves, ask for details and book.

Do this with every single team you can! At first, it may seem a little awkward asking them to tag themselves, but people love it! They want their friends to see what they’ve been doing and the fun they’ve had.

6. Current Events

Next up, we have current event posts. These are quite common, and you probably already do some already. For example, wishing your followers and customers a great Christmas or New Year. If I were you, I’d get a list of all of the big events coming up this year and plan a post for each. Easter, bank holidays, valentines, sporting events, political events, etc.

The list will easily add up, but don’t fear about this taking a lot of time. You don’t need to put tonnes of effort into creating great photos related to each current event. Just a simple post that recognises what is happening.

These work great because the current events impact everybody, and people get hyped for them. People will love to engage with your posts, wishing you a “Merry Christmas”, etc. too.

7. Local Current Events

Similar to current events, there will also be events specific to your local town or city. Again these are big to the people who live locally and who your target audience are!

Examples might be winning city of the year or another award, or hosting a special event, or being visited by a celebrity. You get the idea.

This can also include events specific to your escape room — an anniversary, or a new room opening, or a team member’s birthday!

With both current and local current events, you want to aim to have a post on them about once a week. Some weeks may be quieter, but other weeks will have several, so it balances out.

8. Q & As

Next up, we have Q & A sessions. These are similar to polls or posts asking a question but in reverse! Instead, you give your audience the ability to ask you questions, and you can answer them. You could do this live on Facebook, or via a general post.

Like answering questions, people love asking them too! Of course, you want people to answer questions about your escape room where possible. You can host special Q & As for certain events like the opening of a new room. You can even offer free entry for a random question.

9. Special Mentions

Special mentions are posts aimed specifically at a certain customer or group who have recently played one of your rooms. You might want to mention them because they did an awesome job, and broke a record for beating a room. Or maybe you want to recognize them for being the friendliest, or for coming all of the way from somewhere far away just to play!

There are many different scenarios where special mentions can come into play. Of course, you need to ensure you have permission from the people you’re mentioning before going ahead. But there are so many opportunities that spring from this.

What Works Best When Promoting an Escape Room Online

Interacting with consumers on social media is an important marketing strategy for small and medium businesses. Using social media helps you build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current customers. And if you start using the third party tracking and remarketing options available on each platform, then you will really start to see some amazing results.

Some common social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. With more than three billion people around the world using social media every month, it's no passing trend.