View Full Version : Maximum Throughput for a Haunted Walking Trail

03-17-2012, 03:57 PM
Hello all,

I'm working on a business plan / estimate for a farm that already has a corn maze and small festival entertainment attractions. They want to add a haunted trail to increase sales they receive per customer. The trail would be made through light forest and part of the corn field. The owner says on a good Friday and Saturday night in October he gets 1200 visitors to the corn maze. His question is, "what is the max number of people we could put through a haunted trail in a three hour period?" His hope is that with new advertising AND the additional haunted trail he will lure in more customers... which is reasonable since we are close to a large university.

So being a good pretend scientist, I started making up some numbers.

Let's say we put 10 people per group (lead by a tour guide), and run a new group per minute into the attraction. That's 600 people per hour.
10 people * 1 per minute * 60 minutes = 600 people / hour

Now looking at the actors on the trail... is having a new group once every 60 seconds reasonable? We broke their time down into three actions:
Action 1. waiting in position / posing / acting a scene
Action 2. scaring / chasing / urging customers forward to the next scene
Action 3. resetting back to original position / resting / breathing / waiting for next group

So 60 seconds per group only gives the actors 20 seconds per action. (They will probably hate me, right?)

Then there are other factors that will stop or slow down the throughput:
Example 1: Actor rotation.
Example 2: Technical downtime like power outages, music problems, accidental dismemberment of limbs
Example 3: Customers are too scared and want to go back out (so we have to kill them)
Example 4: Stuff I can't even think of.

While my naive and relatively inexperienced self tells me the 1 group per 1 minute might be possible for a little bit, I know it can't be maintained for 3 hours straight (at least not for a first time operation run by noobs!)

So my questions to you guys are:

Question 1:
For a generic forest trail and corn field trail haunt, how far apart would you put the groups of 10 (lead by a tour guide)? What's reasonable? 1 per minute to quick?

Question 2:
How much downtime per hour should be expected the first year of the new haunted trail? I know... I know... <opens can of worms>.

Question 3:
What did I miss as far as calculating nightly max throughput.

This will be my first professional haunt. This is my first haunt post. Please be kind... I injure easily. ;)

Allen H
03-17-2012, 04:06 PM
You kind of have it covered- what you are missing is the customer appearance arc. they do not all show up in an orderly fashion evenly spaced from when you open to when you close, they all show up about 9pm and trickle in before and after that. Be prepared to handle 500 people per hour. If you can handle 500/hr then you can process some people. 700 - 800 is attainable but unlikely your first year.
Darkness of show and amount of actors you have are also limiting factors of throughput. Your first weekend is not that busy and is a great practice for the next three then the last weekend will be more like the second or third weekend was. your fourth weekend (the sat before Halloween) is normally the busiest (depending on what day Halloween falls on). There is an arc to when customers come, both for the night and for the season.
Allen H

Haunt man
03-17-2012, 04:32 PM
I have to go with Mr. Allen, you seem you have it down.
Since you are worried about time, wait one more min bewteen groups if its slow. Keep the actors on the same time per group, this way you will have more down time when its slow but be able to keep up when its crowded and the actors wont be (AS) tired because they did have more down time before to recover.
Verry well thought out! Sounds like a great plan, keep us posted!

Haunt man