View Full Version : Waddya Think 'bout this?

Rich Hanf
03-31-2010, 09:27 AM
Let me throw this out there regarding a merger of HHA & IAHA.
For as long as anyone can remember the conventional wisdom has been that there is somewhere around 5000 haunts spread out throughout the country. I believe that number was a best guess that was made many years ago and is in no way accurate. Let’s say that HHA has somewhere around 150 members and IAHA has around 200. Well we know that many IAHA members are home haunters and enthusiasts but let’s put that aside for now and just stay with that 200 number. That is a total of 350 members combined…both organizations. For years now we have all been asking the same question…where is everyone else? Well I don’t think there is anyone else…per se’. Sure, there are Haunters that just don’t want to join, but 4,800 of them? I don’t think so. Between the legendary names and the money that makes up HHA and the almost 15 years of history that makes up IAHA I believe that the two organizations have achieved both incredible reach across the industry and penetration deep into the industry. I believe that there is virtually no haunter or would be haunter out there that does not know about these two Associations. Using that logic, there is no way that we come anywhere close to having 5000 Haunted Attractions out there with a 350 Haunter combined membership…and if indeed this is true, and our actual numbers are significantly smaller than anyone has realized up til now, we have no choice but to find a way to bring both organizations together. H

03-31-2010, 10:21 AM
That is the most sensible thing I have heard concerning both associations. Of course making it happen is another thing. Unification would take some doing.
Also, I think the numbers still wouldn't be 350. There are a significant number of folks that are members of both associations already. A combined number would only end up being 250-300, but a united front may attract the people that haven't already joined either group.

Allen H
03-31-2010, 11:30 AM
My guess (and its a guess) is that there are about 600 haunts who even go to trade shows and conventions. and About 400 who are willing to get involved in any kind of association at all.
I know of about 30 haunts in my market alone (Dallas) and only about 10 of them go to tradeshows of any kind. If I expand that to 40 states that makes about 1200 haunters.
There could easily be 2,000 If you consider multiple markets in different states.
Of them I think maybe 500 tops would join an association.
So 300-350 being involved is not to shabby and the numbers would go up if they merged in my opinion.
Allen H

03-31-2010, 11:31 AM
I have said for years... that our industry just doesn't support or doesn't want an association. This could be because IAHA has been nothing short of a disaster since day one and people burned or simply don't trust the concept. Or it could be that our industry just doesn't feel its worth the investment or just no time to follow it. Who knows.

But the bottom line is simple: Our industry has about 3000 haunts open each year and neither one of these associations have many members. We are talking about less than a few percent support either association. More professional owners and operators are supporting HHA but still that is only a handful of the haunts who will open their doors this coming season.

I can tell you why...

Associations by nature do the following: Run an industry tradeshow, industry magazine, education, seminars, conduct government relations.

Our associations do NONE of the above, however HHA did produce some fantastic seminars at Transworld this year but didn't reap the financial benefits from the work. Why? In our industry there are several magazines, seminars events, tradeshows and conventions and NONE of these are produced by the associations. This more or less leaves the assocaitions without any real improtance to your business on a year basis.

You take IAAPA a very successful association they produce everything from a magazines, to the industry tradeshows, and heck they bought out every competing tradeshow. To the amusement industry if you are not a member you are not in the amusement industry. Its like this for almost every industry where the assocaitions run tradeshows, magazines, seminars have full time staff, create year around benefits for memership, when there are issues with regulations they step in and fight for the industry. Our associations do NONE of these things... hence they are not as important as in other industries.

I doubt these things will ever change because everything is pretty established so how important will they ever be to the common haunter?

Out of the two HHA has more to offer clearly, you get subscriptions to several magazines, they try to produce educations, create content for magazines, and work closely with Transworld. But will it EVER just run rampant with members? I have no clue! Will it become something I think all haunt owners will support... I hope so! But they will have to become more valuable to a haunters business, to be so involved in changing our business that you can't afford not to join. That is the only way either will ever have 500 to 1000 members.


03-31-2010, 12:55 PM
From the outside they look more like clubs than associations and the industry as whole seems more like a community than an industry. Just one of those things. BTW does anyone from Universal Hollywood or Orland belong to either association? Where's Lynton. etc.

03-31-2010, 01:08 PM
My thoughts on this -

Associations - Two have helped both be BETTER. Now they need to work together as closely as they can, and perhaps before renewals begin next year they can make it happen. Both produced relevant seminars, IAHA Chaos and HHA Brainstorm. Lets all put our trust behind both boards to get it done.

Haunted House Numbers - Depends on what you call a haunted house! If it includes anything that pops up for a few nights it might tend toward the high side, but something that is real - i.e. has insurance, gets inspected, opens 10 or more nights, etc. then the low might be more accurate. That is why the Associations are working together on a simple non invasive series of questions we can all get behind to really answer this mystery.

I think the only ones who really know is...The Vendors! If they could work together and do some cross referencing then we might have something.


03-31-2010, 03:25 PM
From someone on the outside looking in, and after talking a little to associations, I still question the value brought to the members. Sure, with HHA you get subscriptions to magazines, but that only pays for itself if you were willing to buy all of those magazines in the first place (I don't buy subscribe to them.) The national advertising is the most touted benefit of the HHA, but I still question the benefit to the individual haunts who aren't senior HHA members and showing up in that advertising.

Allen H
03-31-2010, 04:01 PM
If you are a buyer then in discounts alone you can make back the tuition money. If more people get involved the associations can have a bigger voice. a dream of mine is having an insurance discount just by joining the association. Joining proves you are serious and saftey classes make you less of a risk.
There is also a networking benefit. Granted alot of networking is done on this forum and the association networking capabilities are icing on the cake.
Allen H

freak 'n' stein
03-31-2010, 04:12 PM
Robert said it PERFECTLY! Club more than an Association

...an EXCLUSIVE club which caters to the "rich and famous" of the industry. From my understanding, it was a PR Campaign it's first year, however, since the "outsiders" didn't know that, it didn't reflect HHA in a positive light.

I like Larry's initial explanation as well. The HHA should have near exclusive rights to run industry tradeshows, magazines, seminars, etc.

Well I hope everything gets rolling and works out for the best!

03-31-2010, 04:44 PM
I'm a farmer and have served on State board of directors for Michigan Soybean Assoc. & county board of directors for another farm group. And dues are hefty at $120/year. I even had lovely job of membership chairman one winter. PLUS the assoc. brought about a 1/2 % "tax" on every bushel of soybeans I sell. NOT SAYING IMPOSE TAX TO ASSOC. on every ticket sold..totally different beast farming & haunting. But farm assoc. definitely benefit me ...in U.S. & around the world. Haven't seen benefit from haunt assoc. Ok, maybe I haven't paid attention. Maybe my Scarefactory props & Gargoyle Shock I just bought would have paid membership. But my membership wouldn't have benefitted prop makers to give me discount.

Insurance benfits because of classes great idea! My farm insurance covers me so it wouldn't affect me. I'm too ignorant to know how trade show is set up and comment intelligently...so I'll pass on that. But I LOVE shows in St. Louis these last two years and a sincere thanks to those responsible. Ok; who is going to PM me and hit me up for assoc? Just remeber; nobody is as stingy as a farmer. Speaking of stingy farmers, you should have seen my Dads face when I first told him I was going to spend $12,000 on a Scarefactory Slayer many years ago.

03-31-2010, 05:11 PM
Seriously, I dont think anyone should complain about either association unless you are prepared to get involved and make it better. Club or association, its all this industry has so get in and make it better I say. Its easy to sit on the sidelines and not be a part of the solution at least some people are trying to actually DO something.


03-31-2010, 09:07 PM
Dark Angel did touch on a serious point... everyone points fingers and complains but hardly ANYONE rolls up the sleeves and does anything. I think the IAHA when I was involved was like a self serving club, and no matter how much you tried it worked against anyone who went against that grain. Maybe its different now. HHA from my experience working with these people is nothing but all for one and one for all.

But hardly anyone helps and even those who do say they will help or join boards don't do what they promise... assocaitions should have full time staff but due to lack of support you can't because you can't afford it.

Haunt owners have to step up and support these with their pocket book and their experience otherwise they will both drag around in the mud.

Really its a mute point to beat up on there are more important things to debate or flush out...

I'd like to discuss our whole industry changing to timed ticketing. That needs to be studied big time there are just so many benefits to doing timed ticketing.

I'm done debating associations...

I hope HHA can do some good, I trust those on the board. I don't trust IAHA for ONE GOOD REASON... they do NOT communicate. You hear about them from them once a year when they want you to give them some money, or attend their event at Transworld. Where is the reports, the updates, the news, the reaching out to the whole industry???? Can someone point to any level of communication they have done to reach haunters outside their own inner circle...no! Again I'll stick with HHA. Larry

03-31-2010, 09:39 PM
Allen said it good. Im pretty familiar with the Dallas area, which does have between 40-50 haunts. And only maybe 8 or 9 of them are involved in either or both.

Then you have the Longview/Tyler area which has 4 or 5 haunts that are pretty good. None of those guys are involved.

Then you add in the Austin/San Antonio area and the Houston area, and that potentially another 15 haunts combined. Maybe 4 out of those 15 are involved.

This is just 4 regions of one state. So I can easily see over 1000 or maybe more haunts across the country that either arent interested or dont know about them.

Maybe if the boards of both can come up with a brochure or some form of letter to send to these haunts.

And maybe to find them all, you can recruit regional haunt owners that are familiar with their markets. I personally know of 6 haunts withing 60 miles that are not involved.

Could that work? Can you have regional haunt owners that can help branch out into their markets?

03-31-2010, 11:22 PM
The flavor of the month is why the polarization is caused by a few.

If you can't be constructive, then be "professional" and stop being negative. When some members were with IAHA, the self serving attitude didn't help.

The HHA didn't produce the seminars, people from the HHA did, just like some of those same people did when they were members of IAHA. Some of those have even rejoined the former organization as well.

Bottom line, both organizations can bring some great people to the same goal. THe time might be right with the right people in place and the right people NOT in place to make one voice reality. The "PROFESSIONALS" need to BE professional.

The fact that both organizations do not represent much of the whole industry tells me that the rest of the haunt owners don't join for many reasons and drama, bias, and negativety should NOT be a reason, but unfortunately it has been.

The comments by many on this board tell me that the time might be right, but a change is still needed by both to aid in the recruitment of the silent majority that have not signed up yet.

The first step is continued positive attitudes and calm discussion.

The next step is reaching toward each other with PROFESSIONALISM.

Lots of money is spent supporting the structure of each organization that could be saved for recruitment and publicity for haunts in all market sizes.

Lots of energy is spent trying to support each organization that could be used collectively to do more.

As a member of both, I could even save some money.

04-01-2010, 02:05 PM

I think we would all agree IAHA's past rep is tarnished. On the flip side we've seen sequels to movies top the original many times, so with new leadership anything can change. There is still one major flaw that has always haunted IAHA... they DO NOT communicate with ANYONE.

Unless you are on their yahoo group you have no clue what is going on, what they are doing, who's what, whats what nothing... Tourist parks and Attractions is now run by HHA, and I don't see any threads or posts from them about 'here is what we're doing today, last year, or next year'.

I have invited IAHA to post on these forums and COMMUNICATE with the industry... still no posts. I don't see them posting anywhere else either... at some point if you want the trust of the industry YOU NEED to communicate...tell us what you are doing, how you will help us, what you have done and what you will do.

Relay the message and lets find out some details.