Behind The Mask is my corner for expressing my thoughts and opinions as they relate to the haunt industry. These thoughts are mine independently, and may not necessarily reflect those of the other writers in this "web-publication".
"The Price Is.....Wrong?"
Are too many haunts today overcharging their guests?

Admission. It is probably one of the most important factors of a haunt. Just a few dollars can make or break a reputation in this industry. It is important that you really consider what you will be charging your guests, before just placing a price tag on your product. Rasing or, in some cases, lowering your ticket prices can be the difference between repeat business or disgruntled guests. But all too often haunters forget to take this into regard and in turn, base their price on what neighboring haunts are charging. This article will be discussing the "do's" and "dont's" when it comes to pricing your attraction.

This is a problem, that unfortunately, too many haunts find themselves in. They put together a sub-par show, and in order to try and compete with neighboring haunts, they, in turn, raise their price for tickets. This is probably one of the worst mistakes any haunt can make, as it relates directly to their customers. Most people don't even consider that the reason some of the other haunts in the area have higher admission prices is because they have a budget and professional designers and actors. These type of haunts have the money to put on a top notch production, and thus, can charge higher prices because of the type of show they are running. I've seen, all too many times, that a "Jaycee", or a "lower scale" haunt will raise their price just to try to compete with the "big boys". This is not the way to go about pricing your haunt. When you place a high price tag on your product and produce a show that is only standard, you are leaving your customers feeling ripped off. These are the same customers that you rely on for repeat business and to spread the word about your attraction. Nobody is going to want to spend $10 to go to your standard show, when they could pay $12 to go to the haunt a few miles down the road which produces a superior show.

The way you should look at things when deciding on a price to charge your patrons is, "what am I giving my customers for their money? Am I giving them their money's worth? Would I pay this price to enter my attraction?" If you run these questions in your mind, you will find that it can help a lot.Put yourself in the customer's position. If you feel like you are only giving them a $6 show, then you should only be charging $6, not raising your prices just to compete with neighboring sttractions. I have seen this all too often. People spend anywhere from $10 - $15 to go to a haunted house, and they leave feeling like they wasted their hard earned money. Let's face it, the price to get in these shows has jumped dramatically over the years. In just the last ten years, the prices have gone from averaging around $5 per show to $10. You can hardly get into any haunts today without paying a high price. It has become so expensive to get into haunts that now, instead of being able to go to five, six, maybe even seven haunts to only being able to go to about three or so a year. I noticed one haunt which boosted their price up this past year by 50%. They jumped from $8 to $12. I think this is ridiculous, especially because I had heard it was no better than last year, and last year I was not impressed with their show. I certainly am not about to spend $12 on the same thing as last year.

Do not base your prices on what other places are charging, base it on what you actually feel your haunt is worth. If you are truly in it for the love of the season, then this should not be a problem for you. However, if you are only in this business for a quick buck, you should probably get out, because, in the long run, if your heart is not in your haunt, you will lose out eventually. The advertising and media hype can only go so far before people start to talk about your haunt. If the word of mouth is negative, then in turn, it will ultimately harm your reputation. Those who are in it just for the money end up doing more bad than good for the industry and for the paying customers who love haunts so much. This overcharging of product in an attempt to just make money is probably one of the biggest mistakes that haunts today are overlooking. Not every haunt is guilty of this, but alot of them are.

In closing, think about what your ticket prices before you just throw one out there. Ask yourself if you would pay the price you are asking if you were a customer. If not, then I'd say it's time to re-evaluate your circumstances. After all, repeat business and good word of mouth is what you are looking for. The advertising and media "hype" can only take you so far. If you charge too much, and your guests are left unsatisfied, then I will say it again, you will only lose out in the big picture. Do yourself and your customers a favor, charge according to what you are offering people for their money.

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