You might think that raising your admission price is the only way to increase revenue at your haunted attraction. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: you can make more money this year without increasing your ticket price or venue capacity.
Everyone wants to make more money, but revenue is especially critical in the haunted attractions industry: the season is so short that it limits the revenue opportunities. Haunt owners must get creative to bring in enough revenue to not only cover expenses but also to maintain your facility in the off-season and to fund the next year’s preparations.
Follow these 8 tips to increase revenue at your haunt this year.
1. Offer skip-the-line passes
Guests will pay a premium to avoid waiting in a long line to enter your haunt. Especially if you have a reputation for one of those two-hour waits on a Saturday night. No one likes standing outside in the cold, or worse in the rain, when they could be spending more time visiting attractions.
Create a VIP pass that allows guests to avoid the general admission queue and go right to the front of the line or through an expedited entry process. Be sure to clearly describe the benefits of your VIP pass on your ticketing page so guests understand the line-skipping perks they’ll be getting by paying a bit extra. You may also want to limit the total number of VIP passes that can be sold each night, to avoid having a VIP line that’s actually longer than the GA queue.
Pro tip: Sell VIP upgrades in line! Even if you don’t sell a ton of VIP passes in advance, you can create an upgrade ticket: guests pay the difference between their general admission ticket and a VIP pass, then go right to the front of the line.
Guests might not think they need VIP passes, but when they arrive and see a long wait, they may change their minds. Make it simple for them to upgrade so you can benefit from that extra revenue. We’ve even seen some haunts send a staff member up and down the GA line with a mobile device and card reader to pull guests out of line and upgrade them on the spot!
2. Sell upgrades and add-ons online
Online is really the key here. The difference between selling something online and in person is about 80%. That’s right. Guests, on average, spend 80% MORE when purchasing online vs. at the door (average in-person transaction $42.31 vs. average online transaction $76.26 on HauntPay).
Guests spend money more easily online because in many cases they don’t even have to pull out their credit card (if it’s already saved digitally). It feels like you’re not even spending real money so it’s easy to tack on a few extra bucks above what you might have planned to spend.
There’s also a convenience factor in pre-purchasing things like a concessions package or merchandise. They won’t have to pull out their wallet on site, just pick up their items. Make sure that pickup process is seamless: create a separate queue for guests who are picking up items (it can be staffed by the same folks who are managing other purchases, just create a separate line for pickup guests and draw from that line first, like the loyalty club line at a hotel or airline check-in).
Pro tip: HauntPay makes it simple to include add-ons and upgrades right in the checkout process. Schedule a demo to see how it works!
3. Sell virtual access
With any in-person event, your total potential revenue is limited based on the maximum capacity of your venue. But with virtual access, there is essentially no ceiling. You can admit as many virtual guests to your haunt as you want! At the same time, the cost of admitting each additional guest is much, much lower than the cost of hosting guests in person. You might charge a lower ticket price for virtual access but your per-ticket profit will be higher. Plus, it gives guests who couldn’t get tickets to your haunt a chance to attend.
Guests from anywhere in the world can tune in to see the virtual content you create, such as:
- Behind the scenes or lights-on tour of the haunt
- Q&A sessions with your scareactors, prop builders, artists, or other experts
- Live video feed or “scare cam” to see real guest reactions
- Or just about anything else you can think of!
4. Vary ticket prices by date
If you’re like most haunted attractions, you probably have a long line on Friday and Saturday nights, and a shorter line on weeknights and Sundays. Use the principles of supply and demand to help bring in more revenue on popular nights by charging one price for admission on weekends and another for weekdays (or whatever nights are your most & least preferred).
Guests who really want to attend Friday or Saturday will be willing to pay a premium for those nights. It doesn’t have to be a huge price increase: charging $20 for weekday admission and $25 for Friday/Saturday won’t break the bank for each individual guest, but the extra $5 will really help boost your revenue: selling just 100 busy-night tickets means $500 in extra revenue.
On the flip side, you may convince some guests to attend on a Thursday instead of Friday, which helps to spread out the crowds and avoid “dead” nights. If you’re concerned about the optics of a Friday/Saturday night price hike, display the weekday prices as discounted rather than the Friday/Saturday price as an increase.
5. Offer bundled tickets
If you’re using HauntPay, bundles can include any combination of tickets, products, or both. You can even create Customer Choice bundles that allow guests to create their own bundle from a predetermined selection of tickets and products.
If you bundle things like merchandise or concessions in with admission, guests may spend more than they otherwise planned to. The same goes for bundling multiple attractions within your haunt for an all-access pass.
6. Sell season passes
Sports teams know this tactic well, but most haunted attractions haven’t yet discovered the benefits of the season pass.
A pass that gives your most loyal fans the flexibility to visit as many times as they like throughout the season is great both for the guest and for the business. For starters, you get all the money up front, rather than waiting for it to trickle in during each visit. Guests feel like they’re getting a deal because they can visit as many times as they want, although most season passholders won’t visit more than two or three times during the season.
Season passholders may spend more when they visit, too. Guests with these passes are more likely to purchase t-shirts or other products that identify them as a superfan. You could even bundle season passes with a shirt or other merch, or allow passholders to enter through the VIP line.
7. Bring in sponsors
Sponsorships are the secret money makers. Businesses of all sizes, from local mom-and-pop shops to national corporations, sponsor events as a way to build positive brand recognition in the community. Basically, a business gives you money and you in return provide them with exposure to potential customers.
Haunted attractions are a huge industry, and you offer the advantage of a captive audience, particularly if you are the type of haunt that garners a two-hour line on Saturday night. You can both entertain and market to them simultaneously.
For popular, well-established haunts, sponsorships can be a lucrative business because you offer sponsors increased exposure. For new haunts that are just starting up, this can be a good way to cover some of the initial costs of opening your haunt for the season while helping other businesses get in front of new potential customers.
Check out our guide below to help find sponsors for your haunted attraction.
8. Use HauntPay
Haunt owners see a 14.8% increase in ticket sales when they switch to HauntPay. That’s because we’ve not only built the #1 ticketing & payments platform for haunted attractions, but we also spend tens of thousands of dollars every year driving traffic to our site. That means we see more than 5 million visitors looking for haunted attractions on HauntPay. When they’re looking for haunts in your area, we send them your way. Whether your haunt is large or small, you can benefit from that additional traffic.
Schedule a demo today to see how HauntPay can help your haunted attraction reach more fans and sell more tickets.
For haunt owners, the fear of not generating enough revenue can be scarier than a creepy clown chasing you with a chainsaw. But it doesn’t have to be. By implementing a few creative strategies to generate additional revenue online and onsite at your haunt, you can have your biggest season ever.