Escape Room Marketing To The Public


Digital marketing has had a huge effect across many businesses. And that includes the escape room industry. According to the booking system, Xola, around 63% of the booking revenue is generated by the average escape room directly from its website. We would suggest that in the age of digital media, and especially social media reviews, it's essential to have a professional and wide web presence. 

One large franchise escape room business we spoke to said that their busiest seasons for the escape rooms are during the summer holidays. As the director of marketing explained, 
"This focuses mostly on when families are able to spend a lot more time together and when college and high school students are not in school. We start advertising gift vouchers the week before Thanksgiving, then hold a promotion until midnight on Christmas Eve."

Less is More

"Our first time trying out [holiday vouchers and discounting] was in 2017," she recalls. "We discounted gift cards and saw great results. We found people were happy to schedule family time and give the gift of togetherness at a later date." As a direct result of this, the company has seen a huge jump of almost 25% in sales when compared to a slower period.

Carrying on from this, they decided that a big holiday push online and also in store, with large discounts, would be a way of encouraging customers to come back.

"A fun [deal] we do around Valentine’s Day is called a third wheel deal: You buy two gift cards and get one free. If you’re in a relationship and have a regular third wheel with you, all three can play the game," notes a company spokesperson. "It’s a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing to do. It’s not your typical gift card, where someone has to go to a big box retailer or online and it seems a little generic. Your end gift is the gift of adventure."

What's important is to be able to create original content that will help build the brands online presence, especially by using social media. Many successful escape room companies claim that they are using up to 60% of online media, when compared with other more traditional forms of media.

Interactive Media For Greater Retention

"A lot of what we do is interact as a brand with our social followers," the company spokesperson said. "We create content focused on providing an experience in a smaller form: riddles, charades, and different puzzles they get to solve on our channels. That creates a strong engagement because we are giving something to customers to interact with and not just constantly flooding their channels with our product. The 60% is about being present in our communities, stores, and social channels."

The company has made use of paid media especially across its social platforms. This brings in targeted results. But it must be stressed that there is a huge amount of effort required in learning about both Analytics and SEO. It's not enough to create ads and sling them out for the public to discover. Whether you're using Bing, Facebook, or Google, your ads need to be specifically targeted.

National Treasure Hunts

Last year the company pivoted towards a totally different form of promotion which proved to be hugely successful for the business. It brought in thousands of new players as well as creating a local buzz in the community and across traditional media. After creating a relatable hashtag for social media, they organised 25 national treasure hunts. Essentially the company spread 02 x $100 bills in cities across the United States. Coordinates were then released on social media that hinted at their location. After all, this is a company advertising escape rooms, so you wouldn't expect them to give the game away too easily.

"We ended up having over 10,000 people participate in some locations," an employee explained. "It started getting coverage from news stations in places we don’t even have a franchise."

Social Media Web Based Games

Another recurring problem was how to re-engage with customers who had already played in the escape room. To that end, a mystery game was placed on the website. This game changes on a weekly or monthly basis and gives players a chance to win a cash prize of up to $1,000. Because this is on social media platforms, it quickly spreads as friends tag friends.
This is a win-win for the escape room business. On one hand, it reconnects players with the escape room experiences and brings them back to play new games. On the other hand it’s a brilliant means of promoting the escape room brand. 

Another company we spoke to has a different approach to using Instagram and Facebook.

"There are a lot of brands that make their products and branding focused toward ‘Will this work on social or not? Will this give me followers or not?’ whereas we think the other way. This is how we are going to do it because it’s the way we like it and the way we think it should be done," a company spokesperson says. "If it works on social media, good. If not, we don’t care because it works on our customers."

Brand Partnerships

One of the largest escape room brands in the US has made partnership agreements with  well known entertainment brands such as Tomb Raider, The Exorcist, and even Jack Reacher. As they say, "We have built games for them and hosted events for big companies and films." So successful have these been that the escape room has been hired to build escape rooms at the San Diego Comic-Con. 

Social Media Influencers

Yet another type of partnership is that of the “thematic” partnership. For example when Fox Media was launching Prison Break, the escape room company set-up a Prison Break themed room and many of the stars of the show came to play. Then there's the whole social media influencer marketplace. These are celebrities across social media and have huge pulling power, without millions of fans and followers. Many escape rooms let influencers play for free in exchange for a set number of social media posts about their escape room experience. This way no money changes hands, which allows for a more honest review.


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