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So is anyone else seeing less trafic from there Ad dollar.
10-25-2011, 10:06 AM
We're seeing very similar numbers to last year despite raising the price a couple of dollars (to afford more advertising). The odd thing is, most everyone who visits who is asked how they knew about us says either they drove by the place and saw it, or they've been coming for years (about half), or heard others talk brag about it. That means (at least in this case) 2 out of 3 of the main reasons people come is the quality of the production, so one cannot afford to short change the customer in their experience if they wish to survive. The other lesson seems to be that people are letting advertising effect their decisions less than before. They are more skeptical with their dollar. (Thanks economy.) In some ways, that helps us, because our haunt is actually bigger and more intense than the Orlando haunts inside the theme parks, but we only charge to attend what Universal charges for a parking spot ($15)! So people who are used to spending $45 a ticket, 5 hours to drive there, gas and hotel fees are finding we're a true bargain. These days, a good bargain is a good thing!
10-25-2011, 10:20 AM
A bargain is a good thing but that doesn't mean undervalue yourself. The big haunts aren't stupid they spend alot of cash to figure out what people will pay and if they get $45 then you should charge half at least? If $45 is the park an a haunt might be different. In CT $20 is the average and some haunts have almost zero detail. Everyone also charges $5 a car for parking too. You have to remember this isn't something they can do every year too and people like to do different unique things and are willing to pay for it too.
How are you spending your ad dollars? Almost every ad you're doing so be in a target time frame. By this I mean not buying cheaper ad space they can play when people obviously aren't listening/watching. A majority of your ads should be during rush hour and popular tv shows. A targeted 30 sec cable ad on a top show is only $20 as opposed to a $5-$15 one which can be played a 1am.
10-25-2011, 01:13 PM
I agree with monster wax. It's like he read my mind, but said it in a better way than what I would have thought of.
Call me a chicken, but I have always been afraid to raise my price. By comparison, my place is really cheap, 3 haunted houses and a haunted cornfield for 15 bucks. I am now in a position, where I have to raise my price, because we are selling more tickets than what we are prepared to handle. It's hard on my crew, hard on the facility, we routinely run out of parking. Our community has been hit very hard by the recession and people around here are pretty cheap anyway. It is unheard of to pay for parking for any kind of event in my area, and people will riot over a $2 cover charge to see a band in a bar. Anyways, I have always used raising my price as a means to control the crowd, and that is what we will be looking to do next year. We did far less advertising this year, and will do even less next year. I think that all forms of advertising will be directed at driving traffic to FB and the website. Foursquare seems to be priceless. We are reminding people to check in, by using the PA system and then giving out t-shirts, mugs, hats, and front of the line privilages to random people who check in. Social media seems to be the ultimate qualifier for haunts, if you put on a good show at a fair price, people will talk about it. If you don't, they will also talk.
10-25-2011, 03:40 PM
See they can go to a bar any night, Halloween is only one month. It's something unique, different and it's got group built right in too. People pay $11 for a 90min crappy movie but for $15-20 you get a whole night out with friends. We had a crappy hayride it was about 5 scenes and 15 rubber mask actors and I wanna say it was like $20 and after I got off I was like "WTF??? this doesn't count" Jack ur price up get in with a local business and offer discount coupons an see if you can get a kickback from the business? Charge $3 a car and give the money to a charity or local organization which ends up coming off your farms taxes. Have a contest on slow nights to get more people in. Here they've had a roll the dice for $10,000. You have to roll 6 dice and spell "ZOMBIE" but what they don't know is the odds to win are 1 in 46,656. Like a jewelry store who has free stuff if it snows on xmas you can probably get Ken to cover like 5 successes for a $100 bucks? Another one is a Harley contest between 7-9 with a local dealer. Again high odds to win and they show they're merchandise for free almost with those odds. People will pay for a good show because they pay good money for a boring one up here from the big corporates who have had the same general layout for 10years.
I really do think some of you guys are under priced but again I don't know your economic areas. I do know the Governor of Ohio doesn't seem to be well liked though.
After checking CT is a little higher per capita income then Ohio but we also have ridiculous taxes too including the highest gas prices next to California.
10-27-2011, 11:40 AM
I'm not a fan of parking fees. It's a "hidden" tax, a grim surprise, a charge they get with nothing fun in return. As a customer, I feel when a business charges me for parking, they are basically making me pay just to get close enough so I can pay again to support their business. I much rather have extra charges that are optional, but provide something in return, like VIP tickets, T-shirts, buttons, trading cards or whatever. But that's just me.
10-27-2011, 11:56 AM
I agree with you on charging to park, and I think that most people process this in the same way. Since running out of parking has become an issue for us, I now think that it might be a way to encourage more car pooling. I have been thinking about doing this and donating the money to charity. This way the customers won't think of me as the bad guy. I also think about this when it comes to concessions. I don't want to ruin my image of being affordable by charging 4 bucks for a hot dog.
I think that this is one of those many times where it all depends on your region. Rural people are insulted by having to pay for parking, but in the big cities, this type of thing is common place.
Back to the topic, I think that advertising must also be viewed from the perspective of your market. I think that the only constant is that you must put on a good show at a fair price. The standard of good and fair will also vary from market to market and knowing your market is the real trick.
There are very few one size fits all solutions.
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