Being locked in a room with a corpse may not sound like your idea of fun, but it’s great for team bonding. That’s what our Client of the Month, Daniela Streng of Escape Hunt London, discovered while on holiday in Bangkok, and now she’s using this idea to run a successful business in the heart of corporate London.
Escape Hunt is an interactive mystery game, in which participants are locked in a room with a murder victim, and given one hour to identify the culprit and escape. Hidden clues, logic puzzles, locks, codes, keys and all manner of red herrings baffle and delight as the clock counts down.
Identify your perfect customer
Daniela first experienced Escape Hunt in Thailand, and loved it so much she wanted to bring it home. At the time, there was very little competition in London, and none where she wanted to be. Escape Hunt is excellent fun for groups of friends, unusual dates, stag-do’s and hen parties, but Daniela knew the perfect fit was for firms looking for team-bonding activities, and she could see it flourishing in the city.
Don’t compromise on key factors
Location and capacity became Daniela’s main concerns, as she needed to be able to cater to large corporate groups. Finding the perfect place wasn’t easy, but Escape Hunt London opened in April 2014, in George Yard, just moments from Bank Station. With ten rooms decked out in flea-market chic furniture and staff in tartan deer hunters, the venue can entertain up to 50 people an hour at full capacity.
Research consumer behaviour
‘We do corporates in the week,’ said Daniela, ‘and then it’s booked out every weekend.’ Anyone who has experienced the deafening silence of the city at weekends will know how impressive this is. Again, Daniela’s entrepreneurial savvy meant she saw that while city workers couldn’t spare any time travelling, locals and London-weekenders looking for something a bit different would be happy to take the tube a few stops.
Examine overheads and cashflow
The incredible thing about this business is that with the infrastructure in place, all the company has to provide is a member of staff on the end of a phone to give hints when participants get stuck. The product is simply a well-designed game and the use of facilities. Rent is considerable but ensures easy accessibility to the core market, and aside from this overheads are very low; there’s nothing to produce, staff don’t need extensive training or experience, and kicking customers out when they’ve had their time is built into the attraction. Even better, the vast majority of customers pay in advance, so cash flow works like a dream.
Be good to your accountants
Last month, the Accounts and Legal team managed to get lost in Bank Station on their way to Escape Hunt London, and began to doubt their ability to face the challenge ahead. ‘Check everywhere. Pick things up; move things round,’ we were told. ‘Just please don’t undress the corpse.’ Eyebrows were raised at one particular accountant, who might be expected to do such a thing. We split into two teams and the mayhem began. One team didn’t realise there was a light switch, the other was optimistic in its interpretation of ‘cheating’, and both found coherent speech gave way to frantic babbling as the hour came to a close.