The concept of escape rooms has existed for quite a while now. Escape rooms first made their appearance in 2007 as the Real Escape Game developed by the Japanese company SCRAP. The market followed a relatively slow growth, with just over 60 games in 2015. Eventually, many people became interested in this form of entertainment. People started searching for the “best escape rooms near me,” and soon, the market began exploding. This is evident from the fact that in 2014 there were just 22 escape rooms in the US, but within just four years span, there were 2300 escape room locations. Currently, there are about 14,000 escape room locations worldwide. Although the industry is relatively young, we can see that the growth trends are similar to those of any significant industry.
In the early stages, the growth is slow, with few investors and less competition. This applies to areas where there are few escape rooms. The chief costs could be payrolls, rents, and the one-time expense of building the rooms for early owners. Investments as low as $7000 could yield several hundreds of thousands of dollars. This rapid growth in revenue invites more people to build escape rooms, and soon the competition begins.
With the increasing competition, businesses borrow ideas from each other that spur rapid innovation. Companies strive to offer better designs and experience than their competitors. Business owners also look to expand the number of rooms to meet the customers’ demands. Since a single escape room offers only one game, customers will want to get a new experience every time. To retain their clients, owners will have to change the escape rooms’ design and story constantly.
The escape room industry’s competition has pushed brands to seek cutting-edge technologies that will provide more immersive experiences for their customers. Early games often consisted of puzzles that were solved with paper and pencil. Later, this evolved to include physical locks, automation technology, immersive technologies, and more intricate storylines. The latest developments in the immersive escape room experience now have virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.
The use of technology by escape room brands is not only focused on improving the player experience. Importance is equally placed on social media and marketing the brand. A large online presence for any brand will result in them getting more customers. Brand owners should seek to make their brand known on popular social media sites by actively engaging with the users. Some escape room brands have also opted for interactive blog posts that describe their gaming experience. In this case, utilizing appropriate keywords like escape rooms, escape rooms near me, best escape room near me, and so forth has proved to be quite beneficial! Escape rooms can also be based on popular movies and games to attract more people.
Another key factor in the escape room market’s growth is its dependence on the real estate industry. Large cities offer the advantage of being populated – implying more customers. However, real estate costs are significantly high in these places. This makes it challenging to open new escape rooms or expand existing rooms in an urban setting. Business owners may have to charge higher to cover the costs associated with running the facility.
Escape room owners out of the cities have the advantage of lower housing costs, but a smaller population means fewer customers. Facilities can be easily expanded, and modifications made at lower costs. These brands can charge less for their games and still expect profit. In doing this, owners can focus on different ways of retaining or obtaining clients. If the escape room offers good services, it can attract customers from far away, bringing in more profit.
Most escape rooms are run by small businesses. There is still much room for growth owing to being a young industry. Individuals are not the only ones who seek the services of these businesses. The fact that escape games serve as an exciting team-building exercise means that even corporations turn to these services. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and several others have been known to have organized team-building activities for their staff at escape rooms. This gives hope to the owners that they can become the destination for such companies, pushing them to offer the best services.
With the current pandemic, most of these small businesses were gravely affected and had to shut down. Those who were able to adopt online solutions were able to survive this crash. It is interesting to know how the industry will evolve at the end of the pandemic.