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Increase Revenue with a RIP Quick Death Pass
By Patrick Konopelski


So you would like to increase your income without doing anything extra. Well, have I got a deal for you. Welcome to the world of VIP services, the business of giving special treatment to people who are willing to spend a little extra money. More specifically, allowing people to go to the head of the line into your attraction, simply by paying extra. Sounds unfair you say? Well as my father used to say, "you get what you pay for!" Remember, people vary in how they value time vs. money. Your attraction inevitably attracts people from all walks of life. Some of these people are used to staying in the nicest hotels, driving the most expensive cars, flying in first class and eating at the finest restaurants. In all of these situations they are being treated special because they made a decision to pay more. Want to know a little secret? They love being treated special.

So, how can you make these people feel special when they come to your Haunted Attraction? As most of you know, the wait in lines at Halloween events can be from an hour to four hours long. Last year at Shocktoberfest, we allowed people to upgrade their ticket to the RIP Quick Death Pass. This is our version of a VIP line. Shocktoberfest features The Toxic Asylum Haunted Hospital and The Biohazard Haunted Hayride. The price of a combo pass is $18.00, but for an additional $10.00 or a total of $28.00, patrons can experience both attractions without waiting in either of the two lines. We even promoted this option in our advertising campaign: "No more waiting in long lines!"

Here's how it works. We installed two lines at each attraction: the regular line and a VIP, or in our case, an RIP line. The lines are next to each other, and they are marked appropriately. When patrons purchase tickets they decide to either buy a regular ticket or an RIP ticket. The RIP ticket has a large "RIP" stamped across the front. The customers simply enter the RIP line, which will take them right to the entrance of the attraction. It is important to instruct your ticket takers to gradually filter the RIP guests into the attraction from the RIP line, so as to not upset the patrons in the regular line; but the whole idea is that these people get preferential treatment. For this reason, some amusement parks provide a separate non-visible entrance for their VIP ticket holders.

The added benefits to this program were unsuspected. Everyone at the event had the opportunity to purchase this upgraded option, and each had to make a conscious decision whether to wait in line or not. This does wonders for the mental state of your guests that choose to wait in line. The fact that they are waiting in line is no longer your fault. It was their decision to be there! Customers that may have had a bad experience at your attraction or a similar one as a result of having to wait in a long line may be hesitant to return. This option will ease their fear and entice them back.

Another benefit is the ability to give something away that has a high-perceived value, but no additional cost to you. For example, did you ever notice how many "friends" you have during the Halloween season? Rather than giving them free passes, you can give them a coupon for a free RIP Upgrade when they buy a regular ticket. Also, on those occasions when you see an acquaintance at your event after they have already bought a ticket you can invite them to enter the RIP line for no additional charge. Trust me, people will appreciate your generosity, and you did not have to give away the house. This Free RIP Upgrade Coupon is also an excellent marketing tool. Rather than "dollar off coupons," worth one or two dollars off, send area schools and companies a coupon worth $10. This provides the same amount of exposure and awareness as giving free tickets, without the loss of income.

So just how much additional money can you expect to make with this program? This will depend greatly on the size of your attraction, the length of your lines, and the price of your RIP tickets. But don't be surprised if you make an additional $5000 to $10,000 for doing nothing.

Patrick Konopelski is owner of Shocktoberfest, located in Reading, PA, and is a speaker at the Halloween seminar at this year's National Halloween, Costume and Party Show in Chicago. He can be reached via email at shocker@shocktoberfest.com or check out the web site at www.shocktoberfest.com

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