Those of you familiar with the industry may have noticed that escape games have entered something of an initial consolidation phase following the recent, and exceedingly fast, rise in the number of operators in the market. What at first were largely experimental activity offerings are now becoming highly professional, well-organized experiences — and this has opened the door for operators to generate more online bookings and automate their administrative tasks.
And with this in mind, bookingkit has developed a new booking feature in collaboration with escape game operators in Europe to make the booking process much, much easier for customers. But before we get into the details, let’s cover a few ground rules for getting the most out of this new trend:
„Digitalize whatever you can“
When we say “professional experience offerings”, what we mean are digital tour and activity listings. Digitalization is the only way to improve the quality of your products and services without drowning in added costs. In order to digitally optimize your business, you need to look at each and every step of what you do and ask yourself what could be performed digitally. Classic examples of this are tasks related to your calendar and scheduling as well as tasks related to incoming requests and bookings. Once you’ve digitalized a certain aspect of your business, it then becomes much easier to automate it using digital administrative and booking solutions like bookingkit, which help you optimize your business and sell more activities.
„More regular customers and time for what matters most“
Digitalizing and automating your business frees up time and energy for other things. What you choose to do with it is entirely up to you. You could focus on reducing costs or boosting revenue on your tours and activities. Or you could invest in new equipment and spaces or fine-tune your escape game experiences and optimize your resources.
Our personal recommendation would be to focus on tours and activities for companies and business customers, since these are amazingly easy to plan, involve entire groups of people and come with a very high “replay value”. The only difficulty with company groups is the increase in the amount of work and time needed to oversee them. But in our experience it’s completely worth the extra effort — you just need to make sure you aren’t bogged down with other tasks so that you have the necessary time available!
„Go where your customers go“
Today, seeking out information about tours and leisure activities isn’t some sort of calculated effort or project. Customers simply use their mobile devices to search for the information they want, when they want it — no matter where they are. And this is increasingly the case with bookings and purchases, too. Tour and activity providers simply cannot afford to not have their listings available and optimized for browsing and booking on mobile devices. And first thing, at that! Naturally, your payment options also need to be set up for mobile use so that customers can pay directly from their smartphone or tablet.
Another important aspect of digitalizing your business is making sure customers come back for more. This is done by providing a high level of service and information before and after the event or activity. Some examples of this include using a coupon and gift certificate system, getting customers to visit your website or motivating customers to recommend your products and services to their friends, family and coworkers – all of which can be easily automated.
„Boost exposure through partners“
In addition to your own sales channels — your website and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts — we recommend working with as many sales partners as possible to expand your reach. Until now, the problem with trying to scale an approach like this was the sheer amount of time and effort required to manage each channel. Before, you would have to manually create and manage listings for your escape games on each and every partner portal you used. If you needed to make any last-minute changes to your listings, well, you can imagine the fun. But thanks to the advent of digital listings and interfaces, today you can keep your tours and activities up to date across all channels with the click of a mouse. And, for the most part, you can do this completely automatically, too. bookingkit’s neutral and centralized booking solution, as well as the multitude of integrated sales partners, let you sit back and relax while the heavy lifting is done for you. Instant exposure, the easy way.
„It’s never too early to start advertising“
In our experience, lots of operators make the mistake of waiting too long to start properly marketing their activities. This goes for escape game operators, too. Most wait until all their games and activities are finished and ready to go before they think about getting customers in the door. And this isn’t a problem if there’s significant demand from day one. But in most cases, demand needs to be generated over time and in advance of the premier of new events and activities. From a technical point of view, this means that operators need to have the ability to create reservations and place bookings for activities taking place in the future. The sooner you have software that can keep track of your future events and help you handle advanced booking and reservations, the sooner you can start getting the word out about them.
Ideally, you want the payment options offered on your website to give you instant revenue payouts. But unfortunately it doesn’t always work like this. The best thing to do, then, is to start early with your marketing activities and to try to generate significant advanced bookings for your activities before their start dates. And, in the mean time, you want to have cash in hand earned on those advanced bookings so that you can reinvest in your business and keep innovating.
„Set yourself apart“
Finally, we want to say a couple words about the importance of standing out from the crowd. When it comes to escape games, success doesn’t depend solely on how professional your operation is. When the market is full of professional products and services, it’s also the things that set you apart that matter. This applies first and foremost to your activities, but the actually practice of communicating your uniqueness begins with branding. The booking tools and software you use should be customizable and made to fit your image. Be sure to check out the many customization options available in bookingkit to set yourself apart and generate more online bookings!
„Get your hands on the brand new 2018 Escape Game Widget“
You spoke, we listened: presenting the brand new booking widget for escape game operators! With bookingkit, your customers now get an optimized overview of your games and rooms.
And the best part is, they can even see which times are still available and for how many people. No need to open individual rooms and times to see if spaces are still available.
PLUS: the remaining spots countdown helps create a sense of urgency so that customers book more quickly.
We’ve also improved the sale of coupons and gift certificates. Now customers can select the coupon they want right from the rooms overview.