View Full Version : Competition vs. Community

10-29-2008, 02:19 PM
I was wondering how most people treat other haunts in their own city or area. Do you usually see them as competition, or do haunts local to each other usually support each other?

It's obvious that on a national (and world) scale that there is a really good support network that helps everyone out, but on a local scale, does that sense of community also happen? Are new haunts opening in an area looked at as competition or reasons for concern?

I actually figure that much of the audience that goes to one haunt would likely enjoy going to other haunts as well. So do haunts often do cross advertising? It would be really easy to have posters or flyers for other haunts at each haunt to try to cross promote each other, and try to get people to visit multiple haunts.

Haunted Illinois
10-29-2008, 04:53 PM
Well, I really think people’s ideas on cross-promotion vary for a number of reasons. I personally have seen many events engage in such advertising, believing in the idea that if someone goes to one haunted house, they likely to go to another, if it is nearby.

In fact, the website http://www.hauntedheartland.com/ is a collaborative effort of more than ten haunted attractions in Central Illinois to do just that. In previous years, they have traded flyers to promote one another and offered discounts to those who wish to buy tickets for multiple events in their network.

The big problem that I have seen are with those attractions that are larger-scale and those where the owner(s) are trying to make a living from their attraction alone. It is then when you see events less likely to engage in cross-promotion. Most often, the bigger the event, the more they view others as competition.

As an example, just ask Larry what he thinks of cross-promotion. LOL. Actually, here is a quote from Larry last year “...if you're THE established place in TOWN, and someone wants to feed off your success you're just not going to do something dumb like that. Do you think some city landmark eatery is going to promote some new joint that just opened down the street? …....the last thing you want to do is help someone compete with you. THAT IS JUST DUMB!”

I personally think everyone should cross-promote, that way everybody wins… but some people do view other local events as competition…

10-29-2008, 05:53 PM
Adam, Thanks for the kodos man!!!

Unfortunately with the end of CreaturesCrypt I have not done as much with http://www.hauntedheartland.com/ in the last year as I should have. It is a great thing I really should have gotten off my butt and promoted more. Of course, I did get to do makeup in more than one state and 4 events in 2008, so that was cool.

Just to give you guys the key idea we used to say to everyone. 100% of your target market is at another haunted house. What are you doing to convince them to road trip to you tonight when they are done there? If we all advertise for each other it really does boost your numbers.

Honestly, why not push people to each others events? I like what Larry, Ben, and others are doing with the marketing. But at a grass roots local level everyone can share the haunt fan. It makes you have to compete harder, your events better, and gives you a haunt fan with a taste for good haunts. Imagine that.... TONS of people who are not just seasonal something to do people... but born and bread haunt fans. Its a cool concept for any of you guys like CreaturesCrypt that don't feed off a huge city and need to build a dedicated fan base.

Oh, and lots of credit to John Dolan for CreaturesCrypt and be very cool guy when his event was around.

10-29-2008, 07:05 PM
At Pain's, we have no problem supporting other haunts. Well, except this one haunt, but more on that later. In our shop (or what use to be our shop before we decided to relocate), we had a bulletin board that had cards promoting gothic shows, websites, and Professor Cline's Monster Museum. Professor Cline's a great guy; he gave us a behind the scenes tour of his haunt and demonstrated how he does some of his prop building. A few months later he brought some upcoming haunters (I believe that's who they were) to our place where we also showed them around and how we built some of our simpler props. We like to make new friends and help out our fellow haunters. But there's this one haunt we didn't get along with too well. In the Salem/Natural Bridge area there are about, ohhh.....five haunts. Dr. Pain's Haunted Asylum, Professor Cline's Monster Museum, Dixie Caverns, Cursed Castle, and Field of Screams. We never really established a tie with Dixie Caverns or Cursed Castle. Not that we wouldn't want to, it just that we've never been formally introduced. Though I did meet the guy in charge of Cursed Castle; nice guy. We'll have to chat some more. As for Field of Screams, most people might know it as a very successful haunt located in Pennsylvania. But there's a second one located in Avalanche Stadium in Salem, VA (if you've seen the movie Borat, it's right next to the civic center where he was shouting "We support your War of Terror!").That's the Field of Screams we've had friction with.

It's been so long since I heard anything between Pain's and the Field. Heck, I've nearly forgotten how the tiny haunt rivalry began or what kept it going. But I distinctly remember one thing. During mid October, Field of Screams did a change of theme. As told to me by Pain's owner and others who went there. What did they change to? An insane asylum! That's our theme! Really....why a change? Why use a theme that a haunt not 10 miles away was also using? Near the end of October, Field of Screams was shut down before the season came to a close. The reason for the closing was due to a safety issue with their maze. Funny thing is, that's not what it said in the newspaper. It said that the reason it closed down was because the haunt was "too long and too scary". Huh. We smelled something rotten; and it wasn't our corpses. But really, it's a shame when competition goes a bit too far. We don't want to make enemies, especially not ones that take part in something that we share a passion for. I'm not saying that surrounding haunts all have to join together into one big happy family, although I would like it to be that way, I am saying however that haunts who choose to compete on a level that's less than honest can't be surprised if things get "ugly".

Course, that's just my little opinion.

10-29-2008, 07:56 PM
I would have no problem advertising other local haunts at my front cash register area or at the exit of my haunt. I will not advertise them at the beginning of the line for mine, they might decide to leave my hour long wait and try another persons haunt. But once they have waited in line for an hour or gone through ours entirely, by all means, I'll post a flier for anyone as long as they do the same for me.

In fact, I tried to connect with the Haunted Hotel in Huntington, IN, but I just did not have time to drive down there. We were planning to exchange posters. We did not communicate until Mid-October so both of us were neck deep in our own haunts. But I plan to make that connection next year.

10-29-2008, 09:11 PM
Sounds like both sides of the issue are about what I thought. More established haunts with more traffic built in might have far less reason to exchange, as the upside is not as big for them. (Less people will know the smaller haunts and not know the bigger haunt.)

I do agree that trying to not repeat themes is a big thing. I actually did a big tour of area haunts this year trying to figure out what I like and don't like about each, and very importantly, what are the themes. I'd like to find a way to design a product that would compliment them instead of stepping on toes.

My brother in law used to run two haunts in the Chicago area and used to post signs for other haunts at the end of his haunt. I thought that was great cross promotion, and wondered how widespread it was.

There are obviously some resources that you would be competing for like actors, but I would think there are more actors than spots to haunt in high population areas.

Jim Warfield
10-29-2008, 10:53 PM
If you want to cross promote and you are in charge of designing your haunt's poster, do not send everyone a 2 foot by 3 foot day glo green poster dripping with blatant B. S. like "We were voted number one every year for the last 100 years!"
Putting up a huge poster for the other guy at your own front door with his lower ticket price doesn't help you either.
The customers all keep trying to under pay then.

10-30-2008, 09:23 AM
We have no problem sending people to other Haunts in town that are good. We do have one Haunt however that continues to play dirty and flat out lie about us. Them we don't even mention to others and if we are asked about them we simply tell the people that we would reccomend others before them.

Next season we plan on approaching at least one other Haunt in the area to see if we can find a way to package our two places together.