That satisfying feeling of a lock clicking open in your hands. That’s what’s sold escape rooms to customers around the world, and that’s not going to change.
There’s always going to be something about walking into a physical space and opening all those doors, rifling through all those papers, and trying to figure out the combination for that stubborn briefcase lock. But that doesn’t mean that’s all an escape room business can offer.
What is an Escape Room?
You know this. It’s an enclosed space where people attempt to solve puzzles to achieve some goal. Traditionally, it’s a scenario where they need to literally escape a room. But business owners quickly realized that’s not the only scenario customers are interested in — and in fact, it gets boring if that’s all you’ve got. So what are some other goals?
- A detective scenario where you need to find incriminating evidence
- A horror scenario where you need to solve a creepy mystery
- A heist where you need to find some treasure before you’re caught
Customers respond just as well to these goals. Thinking about escape rooms in terms of what customer needs your business satisfies, we can break things down into these broad categories:
- Challenge. Customers want to prove they can accomplish a goal. There’s tension they naturally want to resolve positively: can they do it or not?
- Social. It’s a group activity. People are here to have fun with their friends.
- Escapism. People want the feeling of going somewhere special and experiencing things that they don’t otherwise get to do.
Above all, people love variety. If you have one room themed as escaping a medieval dungeon, they probably don’t want their second experience to just be opening a locked treasure chest in a medieval castle (plus, you’re missing out on all those people who just don’t like medieval themes anyhow). Escape room businesses therefore tend to make each room stand out from the others to maximize return business and customer choice in that first visit.
VR Escape Rooms Deliver on Escape Room Customer Needs
Physical escape rooms are here to stay because they powerfully deliver on customer needs. VR escape rooms are growing because they deliver on those same needs, while also providing an even starker variety factor.
A VR escape room is packed with puzzles and other tasks that satisfy that urge to beat the room. They’re also social experiences — which makes them stand apart from even most other VR applications. People are still all together and can see and hear each other.
And of course, they’re taking people to all-new places.
VR escape rooms don’t replace physical rooms. They allow escape room owners to offer more in terms of variety, and to continue to satisfy those needs.
Why Not Just Build Another Physical Escape Room?
Ultimately, yes, a VR escape room installation will require some dedicated space. So you might ask yourself, why not just build another physical room?
In many cases, a VR escape room will require less space than a typical physical escape room — especially if you’re using a multi-room format where players progress through several phases. With a VR escape room, each phase takes place in the same space. At most, a VR escape room would take the same space as an average single-room experience.
Still, you might want to prioritize as much space to your physical rooms as you can.
But think about the escapism need. Your customers want to feel like they’re somewhere else. Unfortunately, there is a limit to which physical escape rooms can do this when you’re looking at your available resources. You probably can’t fit a sweeping view of the Earth outside your window. And you probably can’t (and shouldn’t) allow your customers to shoot arrows in the room.
With VR, these things are possible. Any scenario is possible. And what’s more is you can host multiple rooms all in the same space. This increases your ability to attract repeat business, and lets you offer more distinct experiences than you can with just physical rooms.
It’s not about an either-or. It’s about more.
So What Do Customers Think of VR Escape Rooms?
Escape room owners around the world have found out that customers rate their VR escape room experiences just as highly as physical rooms. In fact, 93% of those who have done a traditional escape room reported enjoying a VR escape room as much, or more than, what they’ve done before.
VR hardware and software has also become affordable enough that escape room owners can offer these experiences at a similar price point as well, which gives customers the added value of being able to actually experience the most immersive VR on the market — something that’s not within the means of many people.
Adding a VR escape room to a traditional escape room experience, then? It’s undeniably the perfect complement.
Got more questions about VR escape rooms? Want to find out for yourself how to offer them? Find out more about becoming a VR escape room partner right here.