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Mastering the Maze: An Effective Guide to Escape Room Business Management

Business Tips 12 min read

Looking to start or manage your own escape room business? Our comprehensive guide offers expert tips and strategies for effective escape room business management. From creating immersive experiences to optimizing operations, our guide has everything you need to succeed in this exciting industry. Get started today!

Hijacked airplanes, trapped submarines, or broken subways are usually the stuff of nightmares. Many entrepreneurs cater to people willing to pay for these escapes for fun activities. Crazy, right? It’s the desire to escape reality and cross the limit of being the person you’re. Escape rooms like these make sense for us in this chaotic world.

Escape Room Business Management
Image Credit: Freepik

Most of the new inventions of entertainment are the ideas to flee our reality, at least temporarily. You can also add our today's topic, Escape Rooms to Books, shopping malls, gardens, vacations, music, social media, video games, theater, pornography, or even Disneyland. From corporate teams to private parties, family reunions, and casual group date nights, the escape room business is in high demand, with more and more people getting interested.

Gather the basic details, get the necessary permits and licenses, offer a standard service and product, and finally advertise it, and it’s safe to announce that you’re a business owner. However, running a successful escape room business is an entirely different story. It takes several factors to make a business successful. Likewise, starting an escape room business is a complex endeavor. General information like population size, tourism forecast, or competitor research can help your escape room business better understand market opportunities.

In July 2022, there were more than 1500 escape room businesses in the country, and it faced around an 8.5% decrease since February 2021, which showed that the industry has quickly bounced back.

Moreover, the research shows some significant factors influencing the growth of the Escape room industry in terms of value, market share by region, segment, country opportunities, product portfolio, and growth strategies.

What Are Escape Rooms Anyway?

The first escape room game is believed to start in 2007 in Japan. An escape room, sometimes known as puzzle rooms are theme-based adventures where people work together to find clues and solve the enigma to escape simulated danger before time runs out. Escape rooms have a head game master who sets and explains the rules. Some standard setups for escape rooms involve castles, space stations, or Egyptian pyramids.

Since its opening year, the industry has grown and reached people worldwide. There are around 14,000 escape rooms worldwide, and where no business goes up in a line forever, the escape room market is slow but still on the rise. It can also be an excellent team-building activity that’s fun and effective.

Things to Think About

Managing an escape room business is like going on a safari. There could be countless surprises and disappointments. The escape room business has sprung up like mushrooms in recent years. While the competition in small towns is still manageable, the market in other areas is saturated. As a result, companies no longer attract new players and have to close their doors. But what differentiates a successful escape room provider? Or what should you do to be the winner of the market?

  • Quality of missions
  • Brilliance of marketing

Escape rooms give everyone an interactive and unforgettable experience via introspection, collaboration, and creativity. But take any scenario, business is never fun or a pastime activity. If you want to make a hustle out of it, you must be willing to give it to them. Here we’re sharing a few important factors with a business plan to follow when trying to master the maze of the escape room business.

How to Start An Escape Room Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

Before digging deep into how to start and plan an escape room business, you must first determine whether you’re dedicated to the demands of running a full-time business. Is this merely a pastime activity for you, or you’re ready to hustle and put everything into it?

But first things first, if you’re serious about starting an escape room business, then putting together a detailed plan is utterly necessary. This stress should not inhibit you from enjoying the process, but the quality of your escape rooms determines the success of your business. A well-worked business plan will help you visualize how your business will operate after going live; align partners on objectives; fill in the gaps you’ve missed; and much more. But not sure where to start?

Business Plan & Concept

A detailed business plan can help you fill the gaps you might overlook. In the initial stages, you may not even understand some scenarios, but as you work through a business plan, they may become more apparent. Additionally, investors and lenders would require you to check your business plan before funding it. A well-written and detailed business plan will increase your chances of collaborating.

A business plan is not just something written on paper. It will help you map out, all the possible risks and benefits. A few factors to include in your business plan are

  • Finances
  • Location
  • Equipment
  • Escape room games
  • Team building
  • Marketing
  • Documentation: licenses & permits

Now that you’re about to enter the industry and duke it out you must be an expert in the escape room business.

Market Research

Market research is a significant factor when starting a new business. It helps determine whether there’s enough demand for the escape room business in your area. If the market size is not big enough, you may face challenges keeping your business profitable. The ideal target market for the escape rooms is mainly engaging for those who love interactive experiences, business owners, and coaches who want to bring forth team-building and recreational activities. However, perform proper market and competitive research to estimate the size of your potential market.

Expenses of starting the Business

Escape rooms are one of the most profitable ways to enter the entertainment industry. Having well-grounded financial projections is compulsory. Everything must be funded, including equipment, venue, legal and administrative fees, and advertising.

Starting any new business often requires a solid financial foundation. Usually tucked in the back of your business, this section is paramount when showing your business idea to investors. Let’s cover some expenses when running an escape room business.

  • If you intend to buy personal property, you must pay the acquisition price.
  • Security system
  • Outfitting the space with required resources - room partitions, lighting, internet, painting, and washroom facilities.
  • Advertising and promotional costs
  • Permit, licenses, and other legal costs
  • Utility bills
  • Employee hiring & salaries
  • Commission for partner sites

Whoa! That’s a long list to pay for. Now let’s figure out how to source the funds for all this. There are many options, including - self-financing, informal financing, debt financing, equity financing, and government financing. Having detailed insights into financial elements is essential to open an escape room business. And if you have doubts you can always discuss them with other owners and locals in the industry.

Hire and Train Your Staff

One of the many problems in escape room businesses is that owners will often only concentrate on giving the best gaming experience. It’s easy to become blinkered and almost forget how the experience will be perceived. The key to averting that situation is hiring the right people. The roles you’ll require will depend on the size of your business and the type of activities you offer. In all this, one role that every escape room owner needs is Game Master.

As the title sounds, Game Master is the person in charge of overseeing the activities. Among all the team members you hire, Game Master should be the person with the highest experience. You’ll also need a front desk representative, actors, technical & maintenance staff, designers, and general managers.

Suitable Venue

After securing the budget, finding the right venue should be your next immediate step. In addition to being practical and convenient, it should be located in a good and easily accessible location. Some of the major factors that constitute a good business location are

  • Easy accessibility and foot traffic
  • More security and less crime rate
  • Competition
  • Potential for growth and expansion

Additionally, consider the physical characteristics of the space, including - room size, accessibility to electricity and water use, fire exits, and the admin area. Generally, deciding on the venue requires a minimum space of 3 escape rooms. If you go any lower you’ll run out of space quickly, limiting your ability to expand.

Take Care of Legal Requirements

Not to scare you, but failure to acquire legal permits could lead to various legal issues and, in a worst-case scenario, shutting down your business. So if you haven’t already, get your business authorized and obtain all the required licenses. A privacy policy and a few terms and conditions should be drafted. The legal requirements and permits may vary depending on the business’s needs and can include the following:

  • State license
  • Music license
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Sales tax permit
  • Liability waivers for players to sign

Marketing & Promotion

After ensuring all other requirements have been met, develop an action plan that articulates a comprehensive marketing & promotion strategy. Marketing your business is anticipating, identifying, and satisfying customer needs. More simply, predict what your customer wants, build solutions for them, and then sell that solution to them.

One thing to remember when working on marketing plans for your business is that you’re selling an experience. If anyone is looking for a weekend getaway, your business should be the first to come to mind. If someone is organizing an event for the whole family or a team-building activity, you should be their last stop - an instantly available, easy-to-book solution.

Building a website, listing your business on Google, writing influential blogs, and advertising in local publications, or social media are some of the free-of-charge or cheap approaches for promotion and marketing.

Keep up with Trends

The escape room business industry is still growing, despite the ever-changing trends and competition. The market, however, is constantly changing, and so are your options. People want real challenges and engaging experiences like no other. To spice up the experience, be more innovative and diversify your offers. The escape room business is more about a one-time experience, so keep up with new themes and activities.

Keep a note in mind, it’s not only about creating a “wow” effect but your customers will also remember how friendly you were and how much your team helped.

Focus on What Makes You Different

Revenue, profits, and steady cash flow impact the present and future of every business. But businesses need to create their definitions of success to have sustained value.

In the business world, it’s known as “Emphasizing your value proposition”. If there is no significant difference between you and your competitors, no buyer will be interested in your service. Your value proposition differentiates you from others and attracts new clientele to your business. Focus on the why and what you do better than the others. A powerful value proposition improves understanding of your services among potential clients. For every business owner, the focus can be on two different aspects. Some would try to assess their value through their ability to solve their customer problems. And others may focus on the progress toward a dream or mission.

Online Booking Software for Escape Rooms

Looking for a prime online booking system for escape room business? Look no further because Picktime, an all-in-one simplified escape room scheduling software, can make bookings and managing your escape room games a breeze.

Its easy-to-use interface allows you to manage your escape room games quickly and easily. In addition, its powerful team management and reporting feature will help you track the business progress and booking process, and monitor the business stats. What else are you waiting for? Sign up today with Picktime for free and work smarter, not harder.

Manage Multiple Escape Rooms At A Time

With Picktime multiple location access features, you can turn the pain of scheduling into pleasure. Picktime will automatically detect your clients’ time zone to book group appointments even if the members are located at different locations and let them view appointment slots in their time zone.

Live Booking Portal

Allowing your customers to have real-time access to time slots is one of the best solutions you can provide when starting an escape room business. This single feature can take away much of the labor of organizing bookings. Let your clients book online appointments in a few seconds so that you can say goodbye to unexpected calls and increase your business sales. With Picktime, you can customize the booking page with different themes according to your needs.

Easy Data Collection

Picktime online booking forms can work as client intake forms to gather necessary information about the clients upon the bookings. All you need to do is construct an online booking form and share the link with your clients via SMS and email. You can customize the form according to your demands and requirements.

Tracking & Reporting

Adapting to the needs of marketing and operations is simple with Picktime appointment scheduling software. From total revenue to upcoming bookings to the most loved service, Picktime’s reports & dashboard feature gives you insights into little details of the business. This lets you analyze the worst and best-taken decisions so that you can run your escape business in a better way.

Payments & Invoice

No more dependency on other tools to take care of your finances, manual typing, or producing bills in old-fashioned ways. Picktime understands how time-consuming it could get. This is why Picktime has partnered with PayPal, Stripe, and Square to make transactions easier for you. Start using Picktime today and forget shuffling between apps. Sign up today for free and forget unsatisfactory business management.

Not even this, but from business management to beauty & wellness to education to sports to medical Picktime can serve all business needs. 24Hrs email support, external calendar (Apple/Google/Outlook) sync, recurring bookings, and automatic reminders, without any extra software installation Picktime has become the favorite of all businesses.

The world is changing swiftly, and strategies and habits that worked in the past don’t guarantee success anymore. When working on operations and management of your business plan don’t forget that choosing the right solution is critical for the success of your escape room business. You may be starting the business for the first time or working on pivoting in a new direction. Either way, stay open and take in the ever-expanding flood of information.

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