Why are escape rooms so expensive?

Some people consider escape rooms to be expensive. Here we look at a few things that might not appear obvious at the first inspection but are very much factors we have discovered since starting our Exeter escape room.

It’s only an hour

Most escape rooms will promote themselves as an hour-long experience. What we have actually found is that for that hour-long slot to take place a few things need to happen. Firstly there needs to be time to meet and greet a group and make sure everyone is ready to embark on their adventure. The time spent getting everyone ready, taking time for the toilets, putting things in the lockers, and safety brief typically takes around 15 minutes before the 60-minute experience starts.

After the experience, we find it’s great to take time to talk with groups, elaborate on any puzzles, reveal any hidden secrets, and take feedback on what made sense in the room and what didn’t. This helps us to keep making improvements to the room. We then present the completion cards and team photos and make sure everyone has their belongings before setting off. This can take 15-30 minutes depending on the group.

Correctly resetting a room

Next comes the boring bit, the room reset. The room reset can be quite involved. Every lock needs to be checked and locked. Every battery-powered item needs to be checked and batteries replaced if required. Everything needs to be put back exactly as needed to ensure that every group gets the best experience. We also have specific disinfectant sprays used for each room to make sure everything is clean for each group. This can take 10-20 minutes per group.

What we ultimately find is now that 1-hour booking has now become nearly 2 hours of time spent in time making sure the room is ready and making sure you have the best experience possible. This can also be impacted if a group arrives early or late. This is why some escape rooms may reduce the amount of time you are able to spend in a room. Fortunately, we have been able to operate without reducing any group times since we opened.

Room Reset

Most escape rooms may have a staff member overseeing multiple games at the same time. In a business sense, this is a better way to be profitable but at Prodigy we do not believe that this is the best approach. You only get one chance to experience an escape room so we have to be diligent on making sure every experience runs as smoothly as possible. We’ve played rooms before where there are delays on hints or even incorrect hints are given for puzzles that have already been completed. We take the time to listen to the things you’re trying and will try and ask questions that will enable you to arrive at the answers by yourselves. It also enables us to read the tone of the game. Some groups may leave it far too late to ask for a hint which can cause the group to fall behind. Sometimes groups can become agitated when spending too long on a puzzle without discovering the correct method. By focusing on only one group we can make sure that you have the best experience possible by offering support before agitation or tedium sets in.

Exclusive use of the room

For many escape rooms approaching as a duo may mean that spare places in your group may be made available to strangers. We firmly believe that every escape room should be an experience shared only with those you choose and so provide exclusive use to your group. As a duo, this can mean a higher per-person price to gain access to the room. Keen to not prevent duos from being able to visit we do offer the option at a slightly higher price. Our aim is that overall taking larger bookings elsewhere can offset the lower footfall groups. We even go to extra lengths so as not to reduce your experience with your room. We have found that The Lost Temple and Mount Clifton Manor experienced too much noise bleeding between them. Due to this we block out the other room when that room gets a booking to protect your experience.

Costs + Wear & Tear

Everyone has been impacted by the cost of living crisis including escape room owners as utilities bills climb higher and higher. But there are additional costs that need to be factored in beyond the day-to-day running of the business. From a marketing point of view, our Google ads cost us on average around £15-£20 per completed transaction which considering we will only get groups to visit a room on a single occasion can be quite a cost to consider. This is why you can help an escape room by sharing a review after your experience.

In Summary

There are many things that we could choose to compromise on. We believe that the following factors are not things that we think should compromise your experience:

  • Sharing a games host across multiple rooms won’t allow the host to be focused on your experience
  • Sharing your experience with strangers means you don’t have a personalised experience
  • Hearing interactions from another experience will ruin immersion
  • Favouring cheap or non themed elements for their durability will reduce the experience
  • Limited reset times between groups that could result in incomplete resets can tarnish your encounter
  • Reduction of game times if running late could mean you don’t fully achieve your experience
Escape Rooms Expensive
Costs can very much affect your experience! We focus on the best experience possible