A year ago I had never heard of an Escape Room. Then one evening my daughter Nicole and her husband Eric told me about their latest experience at a new escape room in Los Angeles. Nicole, who handles our marketing and social media, made the suggestion we add an escape room to the resort to add unique entertainment for our guests.
That’s how it started. Now we are now closing in on the opening date and I would like to share the experience of creating this new business with you.
When I first heard about the escape room concept I questioned the sanity of paying someone to lock you in a room until you could figure out the puzzles and clues, find the key to unlock a door, and make your escape. Really, people find this entertaining? Then we had a team outing to an escape room and I understood. My apologies for doubting.
As a business owner there are so many questions which must be considered before starting a new venture; is there a market, what is the saturation of the market, is there room for market growth, what is the investment, what is the return, who is our competition, and the list goes on. In addition to all of the usual questions the overriding concern was “is this right for The Silver Spur Resort”?
Yes, the concept fit into our plan for the Resort and broadened the experience for guests and the synergy between concepts at the Resort would be enhanced. Dinner at the Resort just turned into dinner and a show, bachelorette parties before a wedding in the Barn just took on a new twist, corporate training events gained a great team building experience, and campers at our KOA campground will have another option for evening activities. Maybe the best reason is our plan was good for the Canton community and surrounding areas.
As with all trends, markets can change rapidly. People who got into the business early could survive on simple rooms loaded with abundant puzzles to keep a guest occupied, if not always challenged. We were to open our Escape Room as the market was evolving into a more interactive entertainment experience knowing there would come a time when simple was not enough for demanding consumers.
The Resort had the room to add another building, parking on 35 acres is a simple problem to solve, we had synergy with other concepts on the property, our location to draw from surrounding areas could not be better, our investors said go, and the decision to move forward was made.
Everything described above was easy. The next obstacle would be the make or break for this venture. What exactly would take place behind the locked door? If you have looked into a business like this you probably found you can pay for readymade storylines from companies who will also sell the props, software, puzzles, and even the setup of your space; not a bad option. You will also find that doing it right comes at a substantial cost, a very substantial cost. Or, you can do it cheaply and add yourself to the list of businesses who will struggle to maintain market share as the industry matures.
The decision was made to take a fresh approach by developing our own creative team, creating our own concepts and props, and above all, matching room themes to the puzzles to be solved. Given the opportunity the Resort offered, the experience offered behind closed doors had to be top tiered.
As our building transitions from construction to theming, the excitement within our team is off the charts! Of course, I am not going to give away anything here; Nicole will begin to tease the experience soon on social media platforms so you can get a peek then.
Here is what I can share…. WOW! Better than I ever dreamed!
Prepare to be challenged, prepare for a full immersion of your senses, and most importantly, prepare for an evening of fun.
See you late August.