Ever since the first escape room came into being in 2007 in Japan, the market for the same has been expanding ever since. Escape rooms, as a business, give fierce competition in the travel and gaming industry. What once emerged solely as a real-life escape game experience has now evolved as a travel attraction, as well.
Escape rooms, when done right, can be a very profitable business. However, given the competition in the market, one can’t step into the field without a proper understanding of the same. It’s like shooting an arrow in the dark while walking around a landmine field. And this goes for any sort of business, not escape rooms alone.
Well, since in this blog post we are focusing on escape rooms, here are 8 considerations one must keep in mind before running an escape room business.
Develop an understanding of the market
As stated above, entering a market without proper knowledge of the trade, customers, and competitors is utter foolhardiness even if your business is profitable at the beginning, which is a big ‘if,’ it won’t last for long. Because, as we said, it’s like walking in a landmine field. Research is a crucial part of starting any business. You need to understand your market, your audience, and your competition. And, you need to aid this all by working on your weaker areas and improving your strengths further.
In the case of escape rooms, it becomes even tougher. While it is a growing phenomenon, one needs to lay emphasis on the ‘growing’ part. If you’re thinking of starting an escape room at a place where they aren’t very popular, you need to develop an understanding of how well the audience is going to receive it. If you’re planning to start it at a place where it is already popular, and you have preexisting competition, you need to ideate what different you could offer.
Visit escape rooms
Nothing beats what first-hand experience could teach you. And there is no better teacher than those already in the trade you’re interested in. You need to develop a fair knowledge of what you are in for.
Escape rooms are still relatively new phenomena in many places. Hence, the best course of action in such a case is to do your fieldwork and visit escape rooms in person. From a customer’s perspective, you’d know better what they’re doing right and where they are going wrong. Even if you’re planning to start an escape room at a place where they’re already a thing, you’ll anyway get to know how to manage the trade, the rights, and the wrongs.
Make sure to attend conferences and seminars.
A lot of people are of the view that conferences and seminars are a thing of the past. Many think that these events are a waste of time. However, what people do not understand is that these events are actually a goldmine of knowledge and learning opportunities from the seasoned players of the trade.
As far as escape rooms are concerned, such events are already scarce. Hence, we would recommend you to go for it and take the opportunity if you ever get one. You never know how much you’d end up learning and return with so many ideas.
Talk to the people of the trade.
Nothing compares to learning the skills of the trade first-hand. And there’s no better teacher than the ones in the trade itself. Do not hold back or hesitate to reach out to experienced business people.
Escape room owners understand the struggle they face while trying to establish themselves in the field. Hence, most people you’ll try reaching out to will reach back. There are a lot of things, especially minute details, that you could learn from such people.
Become a part of the community
To ace it in any trade, it is crucial that you stay in constant touch with people who are already into it. As you get introduced to more and more business owners, your circle widens, allowing you to gather more experience.
Escape rooms, in particular, have communities existing on various social media platforms. Do not shy away from connecting with people and gathering knowledge about the details of the business. The escape room community is usually very welcoming, so there’s no reason for you to feel hesitant.
Chalk out a business plan
Planning is a very important aspect for any business to flourish. While some people may view it as a waste of time, planning actually is a great way of going over things and rechecking if everything’s been covered or not.
Don’t worry, and you don’t have to go big with your planning right from the beginning. Start with smaller things like what would your escape room be called, themes, designs, etc., and then move along to bigger things. Remember that it’s one step at a time.
A good location is just as important
Location plays a huge factor in whether your business will work out or not. How easily accessible is your venue, and what facilities are available? All of these factors determine how good of an attraction your business is going to be.
This is especially true in the case of escape rooms because this is a business whose success is solely determined by the location. You need to choose a location that your target audience can access with ease, along with basic facilities like parking spaces, bathrooms, etc. Once you’re decided on the venue, you can move ahead with the other things such as themes, experiences, etc.
Plan out and manage your finances accordingly
Any business requires a certain amount of capital invested and expenses planned out accordingly. From the bigger, more evident expenses to smaller, miscellaneous expenses, it’s really important that you jot down all your expenses.
Escape rooms aren’t an easy business to run. You need to invest a good amount of money in a lot of things. From bigger expenses like license and rent to smaller ones like props, you’re going to have to think about it all even before you actually start investing in it all.
So there you go. These are the 8 considerations one must keep in mind before starting an escape room business.
Running a business is no piece of cake. However, when done right with a proper game plan, your chances of success increase manifold. Escape rooms, in particular, are a fantastic business idea, given their popularity. However, like every other venture, it’s not always going to be smooth sailing. Hence, we hope this list helped you out and gave you clarity as to how and what your business plan is going to be.