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Thread: Dealing with competition, dirty tricks

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  1. Default Dealing with competition, dirty tricks 
    #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Hollidaysburg, PA
    Posts
    4
    We are a small haunt in our second year. It's pretty much a friends and family operation. Our goal is to be as scary as possible without needing a waiver. Our main competition locally is another haunt which relies more on props and funhouse gags...We rely heavily on actors and our creative settings and rooms.

    After last year the other haunt contacted us wanting to "partner up". You see, our main business the rest of the year is paintball. We do the haunt in our indoor paintball arena building. The other haunt wanted us to bring our actors, props, and equipment and add a zombie paintball shoot to their haunt. When they explained it would be a 60/40 split of just the zombie shoot profits of course we declined. Why give them 60% just for providing a venue when we already had the venue. So we added a live zombie shoot to our own haunt.

    Since then we have caught them trying to get 'spies' into our haunt with video recording devices. We have had our yard signs disappear and in their place is a sign from the other haunt. And yesterday we had an inspector show up saying they got a call about an illegal haunt. We are a paintball business zoned commercial, licensed for entertainment, and fully inspected with 7 million dollars of liability insurance. Inspector concluded nothing illegal going on here.

    Is this type of behavior normal? I mean really? If a small haunt on a shoestring budget is that threatening to your haunt which has been established for over 20 years...well maybe you need to change something. Or realize we are going after a different demographic. Most kids don't make it through our haunt. I've seen (and made a few) grown adults cry. We're scary, it's what we do. You, well you advertise to families and kids. Big difference.
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    173
    Sounds crappy and a major downer to go through. I can tell you that sometimes immature people do immature things without the owners approval. I occasional hear wind that one of our actors is bickering or trying to belittle another haunt. I squash it immediately! There is absolutely no way the scare business is a zero-sum game... meaning that a customer can spend their money at two different haunts. The better you both do, the better you raise the awareness in the community and increase potential customers visiting both.

    You say the other haunt called you last year? Why not call the owner back and mention some concerns you have? You could start by saying "I know you have nothing to do with the shenanigans but with your sign showing up at our place it's obvious someone immature is trying to make you look bad. I've told my actors not to retaliate. I just know that if the situation was reverse I'd like to know it was happening. Thanks for listening and hope you're having a great season!"

    I know it would suck having to go out of your way to be the "bigger man" but business is business. Anger doesn't lead to prosperity unless you're in the MMA or boxing business.

    I've heard rumors that immature actors from other haunts can sometimes do this. Luckily I haven't had to deal with anything this bad. Good luck.

    Also, I'd put the "spying" idea out of your mind. What's the most anyone could really get out of that? I visit other haunts and don't need a camera when I can just use my memory.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Hollidaysburg, PA
    Posts
    4
    lol, the spying thing was the most ridiculous...It was one of the people that manages the other haunt. He was in the meeting about the zombie shoot partnership. And he came in carrying an actual video camera and asked to go through and record it despite the big sign on the door stating no video or audio recording devices and no cell phones allowed.

    In any case we are just letting our haunt speak for itself. Feedback has been excellent from customers. And we are so young, we have so much room for improvement. It's really encouraging and kind of flattering that our rinky dink operation can bother someone so much.
     

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