None of us could have predicted the turn of events in 2020 that would see many of our escape room businesses shut due to COVID-19. Undoubtedly, these are tough times for many, but as lockdown orders begin to be lifted across the globe, there are signs that we are moving towards the next phase of businesses reopening and the return of customers. As these are nervous times, we would like to offer some advice on how to manage this transition and keep your escape room business running post lockdown.
1. New SOP to Improve Customer Confidence
At this time, the reality is that customer confidence is probably at a low. It is thus crucial to establish new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with the aim of improving customer confidence. All businesses should already be taking the steps to ensure their premises are safe, with regular cleaning, disinfecting, prepare sanitizer for players and proper social distancing adhered to. However, it is also important to let your customer base know the steps you are taking for their peace of mind.
2. Up Your Social Media Game & Engage with Your Followers
You will want to use social media to inform your customers that your premises are safe to visit. Giving specifics will help. If you clean on the hour or before and after each session, let it be known. Use social media to inform your customers that facemasks are a requirement and that hand sanitiser will have to be used before and after leaving the premises. Be proactive with your messaging and put it out there.
Right now is the time to focus on social media messaging. Rebuild momentum and interest. Up your social media game by creating engaging content. Send out periodic updates and reminders not just about your SOP but opening dates and times and other promotional material on Facebook, Instagram and Email. As much as possible, make yourself visible and utilise live features to get real-time feedback from your customers to gauge their interests and concerns. As well, inject a bit of fun into your messaging by creating one-off puzzles to bolster your brand presence on these platforms and to encourage post sharing on social media.
3. Sell Your Tickets Online
A lack of customers does not mean that you have to put up with no income. Right now is a great time to sell gift cards online. Write to your loyal customers directly and offer them value for money gift cards. This way, you can continue to have some income while waiting for the business to pick up.
4. Maintain, Improve and Upgrade
Lastly, if your budget and time allow for it, now is the time to spruce up your existing rooms or even create new rooms for your returning customers. Modify existing puzzles, at a minimum cost of course. Use this transition period to bring in in fresh energy into your rooms if things have remained stagnant for a while. Small modifications do not have to be expensive and there is value for money escape props available out there that don't break the bank.
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