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Haunted Attractions Pricing: How much should I charge for tickets?

Haunted Attraction pricing is tricky. We see price points all over the board, from under $10 per ticket up to $50, $60, or even $100. How much should you charge for your haunt?

There’s a sweet spot that makes ticket prices attractive to guests and also allows you to earn a profit on your haunted attraction. Whether you’re planning a brand new haunt or reevaluating your existing haunt’s pricing strategy, this article will help answer the questions:

  • How much should I charge for tickets?
  • What are the different pricing models and which one is right for my haunt?
  • When should I offer a discount? Who gets one?
  • What upgrades can I offer to increase revenue?
  • When should I increase prices?

Finding the right price starts with identifying a pricing model. That is, the type of admission you’ll offer and what that includes. Some haunts choose to charge one price for an all-you-can-enjoy model. Others let guests pick and choose which experiences they want to pay for. Neither one is right or wrong, it’s about finding the model that fits best for your haunt.

Start by calculating your costs

Many haunt owners determine their ticket price using a Cost-Plus model. Take a look at your total budget, and be sure to consider variable costs like staffing, utilities, and marketing & advertising costs into the equation in addition to hard costs like the venue lease. Then, consider how many guests you expect will attend; take the capacity of your venue into account. 

This is an overly simplified example, but let’s say your haunt will cost $10,000 to produce and you expect 1,000 guests to attend. If you charged $10 per ticket you would just break even enough to cover your costs. Of course, that doesn’t take into account revenue you might earn from VIP tickets, or upgrades and add-ons, but we’ll get into those later. 

Compare ticket prices of similar attractions

This is called competitor-based pricing. Find haunted attractions in your area with a similar format to yours and see what they’re charging. Your ticket price might be a little higher or a little lower, but if it’s within 5% of your competitor’s haunt you’re probably good. 

Ultimately, to determine the right price for your haunt you need to ask: What are guests willing to pay?

What we’re really asking is what is my haunt worth? Guests need to see the value in your ticket price when they choose to spend money on your haunt instead of another experience or just staying home. 

Using the right pricing model can help improve the perceived value of your haunted attraction. For example, a large, expansive haunt might be able to charge a higher ticket price but guests will also have greater expectations because they’re spending more on one attraction. 

Some haunts try to under-price their attractions: who wouldn’t see the value in that? But it can backfire if guests think the haunt isn’t worth their time. There are pros and cons to each strategy. 

Read on as we break down four common pricing models and which types of haunted attractions they work best for.

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1. Pay per Attraction/Experience

Charging admission to your haunt doesn’t have to mean a one-price-fits-all model. You can still offer guests some flexibility by charging separately for each attraction within your haunt. For example, 

Some haunts handle this with credit card swipers at each attraction, while others have a central “ticket” booth or two, where guests purchase paper tickets which can then be redeemed for entry into the different attractions. Which option you choose depends on your haunt’s situation. 

Pay-per-Attraction might be right for you if:

  • Your haunt offers multiple attractions or experiences. 
  • You can easily control the flow of traffic in and out of each attraction.
  • Your venue has a midway with games or other diversions.

Bundles can be a great way to earn more revenue and make things simple for guests who want to experience everything your haunt has to offer. Schedule a demo to see how bundled tickets work with HauntPay. 

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2. All-Inclusive 

All-inclusive packages are appealing because of the convenience factor. As a guest, you know exactly what you’re paying up front. You don’t feel nickel and dimed over every experience.

For haunt owners, all-inclusive has its benefits, too. Calculating and managing your haunt’s budget is much simpler with this model. If most of your tickets are sold in advance, you’ll be able to see how much revenue you have coming in and plan how to cover your expenses.

An all-inclusive pricing model doesn’t have to mean you only offer guests one ticket option. You can still give them an opportunity to upgrade to a VIP or skip-the-line pass, offer a bundled ticket package that includes some concessions or midway games, or other perks. 

All-Inclusive might be right for you if:

  • You can easily control the flow of traffic in and out of your venue. 
  • Your haunt has one attraction, or multiple attractions which can be bundled together.
  • Your audience can see the value in a higher ticket price with all experiences included. 
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3. Pay-What-You-Can

Letting guests decide what your haunted attraction is worth is tricky. What if they think your haunt is worth less than what you think? Will you still be able to cover your costs?

Pay-what-you-can pricing is becoming more popular these days. It can give you incredible insight into how your audience perceives your haunt and its value. This can be useful for future pricing. 

Pay-what-you-can pricing has other benefits, too. It can be a good way to get customers in your venue on slow nights, which gives you the opportunity to introduce your haunt to guests who may not otherwise have attended in the past. If they enjoy themselves, they may come back on a night with higher ticket prices. 

For nonprofit haunts, pay-what-you-can encourages donors to give a little extra if the proceeds are benefiting a charity they support. You might set a minimum price, but it’s completely up to the guest’s discretion what they pay above that. 

Pay-What-You-Can might be right for you if:

  • You want to be inclusive and let everyone attend regardless of their economic situation. 
  • You’re offering it as a one-night special on a designated date (ideally one that you wouldn’t normally sell out, like a weekday).
  • You’re hosting a nonprofit haunt that your guests have a strong desire to support. 
  • Guests have a strong desire to support the beneficiary organization (the one your proceeds will go to) and are likely to be generous with their donations. 

4. Free

You might be wondering why on earth you’d host a free haunt. How will you make money if guests aren’t paying admission?

Free admission can be very appealing if your haunt offers a lot of paid extras within the experience. For example, you’re hosting a fall festival or family-friendly fair that includes a pumpkin patch, hayrides, cider and donuts, along with other paid extras. Getting guests through the door for free might be worth it if most of your revenue comes from in-event purchases. 

This option can also work nicely when you want to allow guests to come and go as they please throughout the day and night. However, you’ll need to consider your overhead before offering free admission. Will you be able to cover your costs through profits from your on-site sales alone?

Free Admission might be right for you if:

  • Your up-front costs are relatively low and you’re comfortable generating all of your revenue the day of the event. 
  • Your haunt allows for re-entry throughout the day/weekend/week.
  • You have diverse vendors (think: a mix of food, drinks, and merch) who want to set their own pricing, and you’re earning a portion of each sale.

You can still capture guest registrations with free entry! This will help you remarket to them so you can invite them back next year, or sell them tickets to your next paid experience. Schedule a demo to see how HauntPay can help you do that. 

How do I know if I’m charging the right price?

Consistent crowds throughout the Haunt Season are a good sign that your customers see the value in the cost of admission for your attractions. 

If you’re selling out every. single. night., that’s a signal that demand is higher than supply. It might be time to consider a price increase. Alternatively, if you don’t want to raise ticket prices, you could keep your general admission price the same and increase the cost of add-ons and upgrades like a skip-the-line pass. 

What about discounts?

Discounts can be a great way to introduce new fans to your haunted attraction or to fill your venue on slower nights. 

There are many different types of discounts your haunt can offer, such as:

  • Group discounts. If someone is bringing a large group of people to your haunt, it may be worth offering them tickets at a lower price. With HauntPay you can do this by sending someone a link to a private event, where only they can access special pricing, or by allowing anyone who purchases a minimum number of tickets to enjoy the discount. 
  • Promo Code Discounts. These are great for tracking the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising promotions. If a guest uses a promo code from a specific campaign, you know where that traffic came from. Learn more about promo codes here
  • Social Media Discounts. If your fans like your haunt, maybe their friends will, too! HauntPay uses social media discounts in a unique way which offers ticket buyers an immediate discount on their purchase when they share your haunt on Facebook or Twitter. Learn more about social media discounts here

Need help figuring out how much to charge for tickets to your haunted attraction? Unsure which pricing model will work best for you? Schedule a demo with a haunt expert who will help you figure it all out. We’ll even set up all your ticketing for you!