Bloody ghost like figure reaching out from outside a window

9 Things Haunt Owners Do That Ruin the Guest Experience

You spend months creating the perfect haunted attractions. You’ve covered every detail, down to the blood splatter on the walls. But did you know that haunt owners are inadvertently spoiling their guests’ experience with 9 common mistakes? 

Don’t let all that hard work go to waste. Fix these 9 blunders before you let the zombies loose, and your guests will be terrified – not turned off. 

1. Unmaintained, Gross Bathrooms

Let’s be honest, your goal is to scare your guests so badly they wet their pants, in which case they’ll definitely need a bathroom. And the truth is, not much can ruin a guest’s experience faster than a dirty bathroom. Keep it clean and your guests will thank you. If your haunt utilizes port-a-johns instead of traditional bathrooms, the same rules apply (and cleanliness is often an even bigger deal). Routine maintenance and cleaning can do wonders, not to mention setting up sanitizing stations or pedal-powered sinks.

field full of skeletal zombies wandering in the early morning light

2. Long Lines

The scariest thing at your haunt shouldn’t be how long the lines are. Long lines at every part of your haunt is more likely to ellicit screams of frustration rather than screams of terror. If your guests spend most of their evening waiting in line, chances are they won’t be enjoying themselves too much. Virtual queues, timed ticketing, and enough bathroom facilities to accommodate your guests are all a great place to start.

Choosing the right ticketing platform that offers virtual queues (like HauntPay) could help to reduce some of the entry lines and avoid bottlenecks at your haunted attraction.

3. Bad First Impressions

First impressions last well beyond the moment. When your guests walk up the entrance of your haunt, whether they realize it or not, they are silently judging the quality of your attractions. If they’re greeted with burnt-out lights on your sign, warped sounds blasting from your speakers, or a busted door, they’re going to expect the rest of your haunt to be sub-par, too. Even if everything inside your haunt is spectacular, it will be tainted by that sour first impression. Good lighting, the right music, and a well-maintained entrance will go a long way to creating a positive experience. 

4. Poor Parking Options

Creating a good guest experience starts with parking (well, really it starts with ticketing and marketing first, but we’re skipping ahead a little bit). You don’t want your guests to be winded or frustrated as soon as they walk through the entrance. Sometimes there isn’t much you can do about changing the parking options at your haunt, but you can at least make sure that your parking lot has proper signage or a team member to direct traffic, and includes enough lighting so that guests can see where they’re going.

scary vampiric woman biting a bloodied arm

5. Terrible Food or Concessions

Nothing ruins your night more than paying good money for terrible food. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but if your haunt does offer concessions, please let it be good food. When your guests are throwing up the nachos and chili cheese dog they bought from your concession stand after being scared by your best scare actor, they’ll be glad you served them quality food. At the end of the day, if your guests are paying for food at your event, don’t ruin their guest experience – make it worth the money.

6. Lack of Weather Preparation

Chances are high that some part of your haunt is outdoors – most likely the entrance area if nothing else. Given this fact, weather is often a haunt owner’s biggest fear (and your guest’s too). Don’t spoil the spooky fun with inadequate weather protection. It’s as simple as having tents on hand if it rains or covering over high traffic areas that will keep your guests out of the elements. Also, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan to make up for unpredictable weather. 

7. Not Paying Attention to Detail

The devil really is in the details. Your guests will have a much better experience if you’ve taken the time to ensure all the details are taken care of. That means double checking everything and creating a list as you do to make sure you get it all. If you notice it, chances are your guests will too.

field of dirt with hands reaching out towards the camera and a long zombie stands in the middle

8. Unfriendly Technology

If your event mobile app, registration form, website, or ticketing platform is hard to navigate or difficult to use, your guests’ experience may be ruined before they even arrive. It’s incredibly frustrating for your guests if they can’t figure out how to use your systems and may even turn them away from your haunt – something we know you don’t want to do. Keep that in mind when selecting what software to use. 

This is especially important to keep in mind when selecting a ticketing provider. Your guests will thank you if your system is user-friendly and scary simple to use. We recently wrote a blog post detailing 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Ticketing Platform for your Haunted Attraction if you’re looking for a little guidance.

9. Confusing Navigation

If your haunt has multiple attractions, it’s important for your guests to know where to go. Your guests shouldn’t be scared when trying to find the right attraction, leave the really scary things for inside the haunt itself. Post signs with arrows and clear wording so they know where the entrances and exits are. 

Final Thoughts

The keys to avoiding these common mistakes that ruin the guest experience are attention to detail and keeping your guests in mind. Brainstorm some ideas of things that have ruined your experience at a haunted attraction and make sure to avoid those mistakes (and others) at your own. 

You know what really ruins the guest experience? Confusing and complicated ticketing. Learn more about HauntPay’s scary simple and easy-to-use ticketing platform.