Escape Room Facilities: The Options and How to Decide
Escape rooms have exploded in popularity over the last few years and their demand doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Even with the current pandemic, escape rooms have been a profitable attraction for operators because of the inherent social distancing, and the opportunity for small groups of family and friends to play together.
This makes now a great time to have escape rooms at your facility. When deciding to add this attraction, there are many questions: how many rooms should I add? Which themes should I add? How much should I charge customers for the escape room experiences?
However, before you can address any of those questions, you have a much more important question: should I be a stand-alone escape room business, or should I include escape rooms in the overall attraction mix at a family entertainment center (FEC)?
Escape Room Facility vs. Entertainment Center with Escape Rooms
Which of these business models should you choose? It’s important to establish an identity for your business, so we’ll review some considerations for this decision in this article.
In the first model, you are exclusively an escape room business. Almost all of your revenue will come from escape room group sales and you would need to plan on having multiple escape room experiences (at least 4-5) to keep customers coming back.
The other option is to include escape rooms in a larger entertainment facility. Escape rooms would be part of the overall attraction mix, but likely wouldn’t be one of your main anchor attractions. You wouldn’t need as many escape rooms as a stand-alone business, and they would serve as a secondary experience for your guests – a way for them to fill time before/after experiencing one of your main attractions, such as bowling, laser tag, mini golf, etc.
Considerations for Choosing a Model
Neither business model is inherently “right” or “better.” It depends on several factors, which we will break down here.
Competition in Your Market
Probably the most important factor when deciding which route to go is to analyze the other entertainment businesses in your market. Start with these questions:
- How many other entertainment businesses are in my market?
- How many (if any) of those other businesses have escape rooms?
- What do those escape room facilities look like? Are they escape room-only facilities, or do they have other attractions too?
Analyzing the competition will give you a great understanding of what’s out there and how successful these other businesses are. This will help you identify underserved areas of the market, and then plan accordingly.
Download This Presentation to Learn How Escape Rooms Can Improve Your Attraction Mix
As is the case when starting any entertainment business, it’s extremely important to identify your target market. Start by analyzing the local demographics. In general, people of all ages play and enjoy escape rooms. However, Millennials (people currently in their mid 20s to mid 30s) are generally the demographic that escape rooms appeal to the most. What are the entertainment options in the market for people of that generation? Do they currently have the option to play escape rooms? If not, it might be a good idea to go more towards an escape room business. If yes, maybe you start a facility where escape rooms are part of a larger mix of attractions.
Food and Beverage
Food and beverage is another large consideration in this decision. Some questions to consider:
- If you’re opening a new business, do you want to serve food?
- If you have an existing business, do you offer food and beverage to guests already?
- Are there other entertainment facilities in your market where people can eat/drink?
Again, this involves looking at the competition in your market and assessing based on your own target demographic.
In general, don’t be afraid to conduct surveys of your local market to get their opinions on the matter. You may find some interesting data that will help you make all of these decisions.
Escape Room Webinar
Recently, our team hosted a webinar where we interviewed two escape room operators who have different business models. We discussed a variety of topics, including efficient operational strategies, staffing requirements, and alcohol sales. Click here or the banner below to access the recording of the webinar for free!