4 Major Takeaways From the Room Escape Conference and Tour 2018

Checkfront is back from Music City, and we’re raving about the fantastic time we had at TransWorld’s Room Escape Conference and Tour. It’s been a few weeks since the event, and we’re still blown away by the passion, talent, and innovation in this new industry.

With educational seminars, networking events and on-site demonstrations, the conference attracted both escape room owners and enthusiasts. It was a weekend full of learning, inspiring conversations and of course, eager attempts at escaping the featured rooms. And Nashville was a perfect host city because it mirrored the liveliness and positive energy of the event.

We were thrilled to connect with everyone and learn more about this booming industry and why escape rooms are an excellent business to start. So here are 4 major takeaways we gathered from the Room Escape Conference and Tour 2018:

1. Escape room virtual reality is on the rise

There’s an exciting revolution in the escape room industry — virtual reality (VR) is the new craze! As technology advances, escape room owners are embracing VR and creating a fully immersive experience with lifelike visuals and interactions.

In the virtual worlds, players still solve puzzles to escape, but now they do it while jumping, running, swimming and even flying. And with all the different themes available, players plunge into the storyline and experience the scene as if they are physically there.  

Checkfront team standing at booth at escape room conference.

Virtual reality is game-changing — not only for players but also for owners. There’s a massive opportunity with this technology because of it’s low overhead and growing consumer demand. So escape room owners — whether new or established — are starting to take advantage.

2. Escape rooms are on the go

Food trucks aren’t the only thing to watch out for on lunch break! Mobile escape rooms are here — meaning players can enjoy the challenge whenever and wherever.

There’s an opportunity for businesses to expand their customer base because a mobile escape room isn’t limited to one address. Location independence allows escape rooms to park at different spots — on the street, at farmers markets, outside of concerts — which increases visibility for curious passersby who might not have known about their business otherwise.

Mobile escape room at conference

Players also don’t have to travel far — they can get an escape room to come to them. Whether it’s for a birthday party, family reunion or corporate event, players can book the truck for the time and place they want. And this helps businesses promote their escape room to a wider audience. 

3. Low barrier of entry for escape rooms

Many people are starting an escape room business today. We were happy to talk with them and find out where they’re at in their journey. Some are finding a location, some are looking for funding, and others are learning about ways to get an edge — like integrating technology.

While most are growing, it was interesting to learn why they decided to get into the escape room industry. A common reason — along with the chance to be creative and independent — was the low barrier of entry.

Seminar at escape room conference

It may seem like escape rooms have a high startup cost with the decorations, props, and puzzles, but there’s a rental alternative for owners to outfit their rooms. An option to licence everything an escape room needs helps owners set up at a low cost and cover other business expenses — like staff wages, marketing, and software.

4. Escape rooms are all about the experience

We were surprised at how significant the experience is to players. The rooms are designed to be challenging, and also to drive emotion — which is why there was a fair amount of content focused on psychology at the conference.

No matter if the room theme is spooky, whimsical or gruesome, there are ways to enhance the experience based on what is known about human nature. Everything from lighting to the placement of the puzzles can be designed to create a testing environment. With all the factors at play — like the time countdown, the pressure to succeed and group personality differences — players can learn a lot about themselves and their teammates.

Escape room booths at 2018 conference

For escape room owners, this means that the more thought they put into the design of the rooms, the better the experience their players will have. And providing an incredible experience is the best way to ensure customers leave positive reviews and come back again.

Final thoughts

The Room Escape Conference and Tour gave us incredible insight into escape rooms. More than anything, we enjoyed meeting the passionate individuals who are invested in the success of the industry.

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