View Full Version : Customer Surveys

01-18-2007, 11:52 AM
Does anyone know if a "national" survery was ever conducted from haunted house guests asking what they look for in a haunted house, and what scares them? If so where could I find it.



Jim Warfield
01-18-2007, 01:47 PM
I think about the only way a "National Survey" would help anyone's individual business is if it was done by age and you had a majority of customers within that same age group.
I really believe that a 14 year old is looking for a much different experience than a 20 year old is seeking.
By 35 control is a major issue in their life and enjoying a haunted house is in large being out of control and trusting someone else.
Reginal differences and expectations may also play a part in any survey.
Can we really trust something like a survey ?
I don't know.

01-18-2007, 02:12 PM
You got a point Jim. What I was basicly looking for was in our socity what are common phobias which could be incorporated into a haunt such as Spiders, clowns, darkness ect... I figured if one phobia is more common then another one could focus more on that in their haunt.

Ken Spriggs
01-18-2007, 02:38 PM
I can tell you what they want.......

The spinning thing with the lights

That is it

We have polled people for 4 years straight
That is what they want

Darker...longer.....spinning things

I could do a whole haunt with black walls...votex tunnels...and fog
I would be a millionaire, people would come from miles away

Or the 13 story deal...that is the other one that everyone wants

Duke of Darkness
01-18-2007, 03:07 PM
Interesting Ken, because I have been involved with two haunts that were similar to what you are describing. Mostly darkness, fog, etc., and they got a lot of complaints about being just "people jumping out in the dark."

I have always that that the judicious use of dark was effective, but that overusing it was boring.

Just me.


01-18-2007, 03:08 PM
lol 13 story haunt. Last season my gang and I visited a haunt in GreenBay, Shawano Manor. As we are waiting for a few of our group to finish using the potty, a girl and I struck up a converstaion. She asked where we were all from and I tell her froma haunted house in Oshkosh so she asks if we are the 13 story one there. I decide to mess with her and say yes we are. She says she loved our place and it was so cool!! She says she almost made it all the way and I start asking her crazy questions like did you like the huge swamp scene and the Creature from The Black Lagoon, I ask her if she liked the midget with the chain saw, if she liked the Vampire with the 3 breasts, crazy stuff like that and she answers yes to all of em!! meanwhile my cast is just dying behind me. So I invite her to come back out to the same location the next weekend because we are gonna have free Jello Shots if she can make it all the way through!! Sometimes its fun to mess with people, ya know??????

Ken Spriggs
01-18-2007, 06:46 PM
A Dave?
I was joking kind of.

Our haunt is anything but black walls fog and a black hole

BUT for the 4-5 years we have done exit polls....these are the things customers remember.......

01-18-2007, 06:56 PM
You left out two things Ken...

..That guy that jumped out..


..The Chainsaw!

So after listening very carefully we spend months of our time and untold $$$ working on minute details most of them never care about.

It is a form of insanity I think.


Jim Warfield
01-18-2007, 09:02 PM
They don't notice the detail?
Did you remember to turn up the lights?
Walk them s l o w e r through?
Then they return a week later and tell me all about the "new" stuff (that they didn't notice the last time!!
Then they say this about something here that has been hanging on the wall or standing in the corner for 10 years!!?

Haunted Illinois
01-18-2007, 10:21 PM
C'mon, Jim. Owners move patrons through "slowly"? People are way too concerned about throughput to do something like that! :roll:

Jim Warfield
01-18-2007, 10:35 PM
But, the customers are concerned about getting something for the time and money spent! If their concerns are totally ignored..they might not return.

Haunted Illinois
01-18-2007, 10:59 PM
Good point, Jim. Kinda makes you wonder why so many people on here are so focused on throughput. LOL. From a customer's perspective I would much rather come back to an event that entertained me, as opposed to one that just rushed me through!

Jim Warfield
01-18-2007, 11:04 PM
I have some customers who come here every year, some only come once every couple of years,most of them have to drive a few hours to arrive here . I could still use a few more customers every year, I'm not busy every night, all night long....so maybe I put more personal effort into each tour experience.

Ken Spriggs
01-19-2007, 07:53 AM

Sure we screwed ourselves on that 3 years ago when we rebuilt Dream Reapers. We can't go faster....It is amazing how long people wait to get in though.

DAMN ELEVATOR they are great things but placement placement placement.

Jim Warfield
01-19-2007, 08:25 AM
How far do most haunt patrons drive to experience the show we put on?
How many of them would limit their driving distance in direct proportion to the entertainment that was waiting for them at the end of their drive?
I sure could be wrong, but I don't think that I would have much business here at all if this tour was a 10 or 15 minute event.
In season I work very hard to only give a 10 to a 15 minute front room routine, it is hard for me to do because it does take time and pauses between words and sentences to communicate with human, listening ears.
On the other side of this I have also been known to finally say (when people don't seem carable of listening to anything I am saying)"The following portion of the tour will now be conducted in a language known only to me!"
"Dooby wha wha mumbly kasa dee do , ipsnay crinklefert bunky combunker! La la wee snicker hunklewise funkblunkker import ta."
"Would you mind repeating that?"

01-19-2007, 09:06 AM
This is a real problem! If you run a good show in a well populated area eventually you will be buried in people on certain nights. You have just a few choices:

1) Sell out the show (Bad choice, people travel a long way and get very mad if they cannot get in. Plus they would still have to wait, some of them all night until their turn)

2) Long Lines (You had better be using a golden chainsaw if you make them wait 3 hours. Sometimes you have huge lines even IF you move the show fast. The only difference is in a 3 hour wait hundreds or thousands left disappointed because they couldn't get in)

3) Move the show faster ( It not always fun to be packed in with everyone in the world, but look at the options)

No real good answers. The only thing to do really is be open MORE days, that way the people who want the place to themselves can come on a Tuesday. And on those mega-busy nights try to get them through as best you can. People who drive in rush hour traffic or shop the day before Christmas are in for a similar situation at a popular Haunt the weekend before Halloween.

Its not greedy owners trying to screw guests out of a good experience - It is the fate of all good Haunts in good locations. Eventually too many people will come.

As far as making money goes - It costs a lot more money to entertain a lot of people, bigger sets = more rent, more actors = more payroll, more effects = more cost.

And a big haunt needs those crowds to survive. Kens show has huge rent - Dreamreapers needs major crowds now to pay the bills. If they slow the amount of people going through their show because a few people on message boards complained that there were too many people in the Haunt, it might just take away the profit that will let them continue to operate.

And lets not forget that Haunt owners put their lives and other jobs on hold to create these events. They need to make some money at the end of the day, especially those who quit jobs and go full time to bring you these shows.

What I am saying is this - Good Haunts WANT to do the best show that they can, and will deal with big crowds as BEST they can.

Its not greed but just reality that creates a crowded haunted house.



Ben Armstrong

Jim Warfield
01-19-2007, 11:08 AM
I like to indulge myself in the thinking that everyone is doing the best that they can with what they have to work with, time, money, talents, ambition.
This is why I really do feel bad when my customers complain about crappy times that they have had in other haunted attractions, but then most people have never had first-hand involvement in trying to even do such a thing?
Then there's the "kid" who has never had to yet figure out many things in his life and make them come to pass and thinks all haunts should all be million dollar horror movie sets.
There is hope, though, someday most of these "kids" will discover the reality in life of work and struggle in their endeavors.

01-19-2007, 11:25 AM
As always Ben, what you say should be gospel! We would love to let our customers take as long as they want in the haunt, BUT, everyone else in line wouldn't. We already have 2-3 hour waits the last weekend or two, and that's with 6 diffrent lines. I couldn't imagine how long it would be if we had one line for all our customers.

Jim Warfield
01-19-2007, 09:09 PM
I stand up on the soapbox and tell the people waiting in line (and getting antsie) that entertainment takes time and instead of being rushed through when it's their turn, they will be in the house making others wait like they are, or something like that?
They all seemed to be listening (since I don't stand up publically and do this very often) they would knod, tip their heads sideways and get a resolved look on their face and accept the wait, fate? (because it seems like it might be worth waiting for!!)
Communicating can do wonders sometimes.