2014 Haunted Year in Review

Tue, December 30, 2014

Another year has come and gone and as we look forward to 2015 we take a quick look back at the year of 2014.  As we look back on 2014 the things that jump out are how much marketing has changed for the haunt industry.  Just a few years ago now seems like decades ago that is how fast things are changing.  Its become so complicated to market your attraction now because of the multiple options available.  Radio has clearly lost steam to digital music, television just has too many options and TIVO is the arch enemy of advertisers, and the list goes on.  The haunted house industry will need to take advantage of discussion to figure out the best marketing solutions going forward.  In 2014 many haunters found themselves scratching their heads trying to figure out the new maze of marketing.

2014 also saw the increase of negative publicity type of attractions such as extreme, to even torture attractions.  The positive PR we've enjoyed as an industry went south in a hurry in 2014 thanks to those who choose to feature real life serial killers as icons for their haunt.  All of these torture attractions in our opinion are NOT haunted houses and should STOP calling themselves haunted houses.   Lastly ANY haunt owner who even thinks about opening such an attraction should second guess themselves.  Haunted Houses have finally become one of the most accepted and respected forms of entertainment and now is not the time to ruin the party.

2014 also presented us the biggest Haunted House and Halloween Tradeshow in our history!  Nearly 10,000 from every major country across the World attend the show in 2014.  When I personally went to IAAPA this year everyone was talking about coming to St Louis in 2015 for the Haunt Show.  We have something to be proud of at this point because its the haunt industry the little small business owners who built this industry that is growing by the day.  The Haunt Show is now one of the biggest most well attended amusement shows of any type in the entire WORLD!

In 2014 Hauntworld experienced over 10 million visitors wanting to find attractions, or learn more about our industry.  Hauntworld had its best year ever and most importantly our site never crashed!  We put in a lot of hard work in 2014 and it appears this little site keeps growing!  Also in 2014 several haunters and suppliers announced possible reality shows ... just as the first 'Making Monsters' fizzled out several others are springing up.  Can our industry really hold the interest of reality shows when the mass majority of our business circles around one type of theme and one time of year?  We'll find out as 2015 should present several reality projects.

Lastly 2014 as a business year was more or less flat for haunted house owners and operators while suppliers had records years.  Why?  Simply actually thanks to the World Wide interest in Halloween the buyer base for suppliers has doubled if not tripled while selling tickets to haunted houses is still a local industry.  Furthermore haunted houses have created a huge market for fall events, which have expanded the types of attractions offered.  In other words competition for the Halloween dollar has become really tough... extreme attractions, escape attractions, paintball hayrides, Halloween Parties, to zombie runs, horror movies, to basically every amusement facility trying to open a haunted attraction.  I believe this is why you see some haunters resorting to silly tactics of extreme attractions ... they are looking for PR negative or positive. 

The bottom line is haunters raised prices to levels which are killing the industry because most consumers are no longer visiting 2 or 3 attractions because of the costs.  Some haunts only a few thousand square feet charging as much as one Screampark spanning thousands upon thousands of square feet.  A new price for haunted houses has been established and we might be pricing ourselves out of the market and opening the door for other options.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Haunt Show in 2015 to discuss these very issues. As we move forward to 2015 Hauntworld.com plans more magazines, more information, and will continue to provide the best marketing for the haunted house industry.

Happy New Year!

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