View Full Version : Haunt length

07-29-2010, 02:59 PM
I know this may have come up before, but what would you say the average time to get through your attraction is based on your sq footage...say what would 8k sq ft on average should your customers take inside?

07-29-2010, 11:34 PM
8-10k is a good start if you are good at winding and weaving... if you want the haunt to be longer, you are going to have to make sure you utilize your space wisely. I went through Necropolis, and their haunt is only (correct me if I'm wrong) 9-10k feet. It felt ALOT longer. Why? Because they made the weaves back and forth so good that it felt ALOT longer. Also, slowing groups down, though may cause congo lines on long nights, makes the customer feel like they are getting more for their money. The longer it takes someone to get through something, the more pleased they are when it comes to an industry like this.

Some of you may disagree, but honestly, the more time I have to go through a haunt, the happier I am. I get to get spooked more, see more details, and enjoy my money's worth.

Just my .02.

Jim Warfield
07-30-2010, 11:15 AM
The entire lot it's on is only 75 by 125 ft. The building is approx. 5,000 sq. ft. ask almost anyone who has been here for the tour and they will think it's larger, it does require from 60 to 90 minutes to go through it.
Of course over the last 23 yrs. I have managed to pack alot of things in here, except for unruly mobs, we don't ever pack them in. Ever notice bigger groups cause more pure trouble? More secretive drunks, theives, roudys, touchers, gropers, loud mouthed idiots.
There is Definately a diminished return when more bodies are crammed into a small space, unless you are just counting gross income and not considering damage, theft and the poorer tour experience they all just had to suffer through, which means many of them will Never be returning ever again.

Matt Colton
08-01-2010, 03:45 PM
I know this is coming from my experience from a garage haunt but yeah I agree, the more you utilize the tiny nooks and crannies of your haunt the longer it seems. I was running on approximatly a 35x50ft garage and the run time was about 2 minutes. Thats surprisingly long for just a small garage. On the bright side the tight passages also add a very clausterphobic touch making people feel a bit more uncomfortable! Can't wait to put this knowledge to a pro haunt in later years :D

08-02-2010, 02:09 AM
We started out at under 12,000 square feet back in the day, and have expanded over the years to over 18,000 (and are adding more this year). It was 20 to 30 minutes long at 12K, 30 to 40 minutes at 18K, and we don't know yet what the average tour time will be after the added footage this year. The maze-like floor plan is a big help in getting bang for the buck, but we still like to include a few big open spaces for "wow" effect. These are usually areas where some sort of elaborate action is carried out, so the tour stops and takes in the dramatic detail more while this occurs.

I'm a big advocate for not pushing the people through, even if it slows up the line. Haunted Houses are a lot like eating places in that regard. If you charge $1 for a burger, they won't complain if it's bland as long as you deliver it fast. If it's $10 for a burger, they'll be willing to wait a lot longer for it, but it better be a damn good burger! A slower line will cut down on profits per season, but the satisfaction is much higher so it brings back more customers the following year and is ultimately the best advertising. (Word of mouth always trumps every other form of promotion.)

"Padding out" their stay is never a good idea. Keep it entertaining the entire time or remove it. Don't just waste their time having some actor talk out of character or start ad libbing to run out the clock. If it comes down to that, it's better to have it shorter and more consistent than longer with periods of slack. There's absolutely nothing wrong with smaller haunts as long as they are thrilling the entire time and are priced accordingly. Using that hamburger comparison again, there is a point of diminishing returns. No single burger is worth $25. People will spend more than that to eat, but they expect more than just one serving for that amount. So the bigger haunts justify a bigger price because they offer more quantity than the smaller ones do. Just don't sacrifice quality to get that quantity.

Jim Warfield
08-02-2010, 11:33 AM
About a haunt many years ago that was a 90 second walk through but was very good, very intense and admission was $7 when $7 was a good price and people would get back into line to see it again right after they got out of it!?
I think John Denely had it in Salem, Mass.?
Real or legend?

08-03-2010, 09:44 PM
Don't just waste their time having some actor talk out of character or start ad libbing to run out the clock.

I concur. A haunt here in Western PA tries to block you in and make you sit there and listen to someone talk and rant about the "history" of a haunt. If your rooms aren't doing the talking for you, or you don't have a tour guide for each group, don't stop them with menial BS and wastes of time.

Jim Warfield
08-03-2010, 10:32 PM
But "talking" & "Ranting" is not acting nor story telling. Is it?
I spend alot of time and effort telling customer some of the things that have happened in this house.
Who might be getting bored? The 14 yr. old? The drunk with the vaporous attention span?
I punctuate my speaking with my personal movements around the room which seem to mostly catch people off-guard(or at least they react like that) which could be looked at as ..scaring them! What are we doing in a darkened atmosphere anyway? We are hoping to ellict some fearfull responses, right?
I also vary my speech, adding attempted humor occassionally (Probably odd and unexpected, I feel)
A few nights ago a drunk was yammering causing a slight disturbance. I really distracted him and slowed him down when he said "I like this place." When I said, "You won't like it when you find out that you have had your lips on my butt for the last ten minutes!"
The rest of the people in the audience appreciated this remark too.
Much later in the tour he thought something my Wife said was sort of negative about me, he came to my defense and said he "Loved this place, and thought I was a great guy" or something like that? He was seeing the Ravens Grin for the first time, or at least I assume his beer goggles were wiped somewhat clean?
Maybe a ranter is just insecure about who really has control of the room?
In October I will do a ten to twelve minute first room routine , my goal then is to inform, make them laugh, then scream, then laugh again, be gracious, polite but authoritive enough to let any potential problem people to know where I stand, which is right behind them!

08-07-2010, 08:49 PM
In doing/assisting in a couple attraction designs myself...it is all about cleverly winding, and a couple long hallways where possible to both disorient and extend the foot traffic length of the attraction. I was amazed at what we were able to design into 3 pavilions at an outdoor concert venue...took well over an hour or more to get through them all.

Mike "Pogo" Hach

09-22-2010, 01:52 AM
I think it is ok to have a few hallways or short mazes with nothing going on to allow them to calm down anticipate what might happen next. It makes it a little longer, but also serves a purpose.

We have a few of those, but no more than maybe 30-40ft.

09-22-2010, 07:12 AM
I feel that at times haunts can last too long. I can think of a specific house I visited last year, part of a larger event, that just seemed to take forever. It was outside and had a cornmaze theme (not a real cornmaze). We would walk and walk and walk, nothing but corn. I think I remember 3 actors throughout the maze. You should justify you length with scares throughout. No deadspots. I am a bit nerverous about this season at my new haunt. We have alot of length, alot. I don't think we have the actors or props to really justify it though. But construction is still going so Ill keep my judgements quite until Oct 1st.

09-22-2010, 03:40 PM
We have a tour guide for the first minute or two of the tour. He does all the story telling in the time that it takes to get the group from the upper level to the lower level. Then a few of our characters have assigned lines. Usually though I just give my actors a sheet before the haunt opens with a list of things they are allowed to say so that they don't have to say the same thing over and over again.

The average tour for us is about 15 minutes and I work with around 10,000 square feet. We are using a lot more of the maze type layout this year so that may increase our tour times. Of course we only charge $2 or 2 canned food items because most of our customers are really broke college students so they def. feel that they are getting their money's worth out of it. It's great though because we usually raise a TON of cans to donate to the local food bank.