Are escape rooms already a mainstream?
The market was created only 11-12 years ago, and there is already an estimated 60,000 escape rooms around the world. This branch is one of the fastest growing entertainment industries. New escape rooms are constantly opening all over the world and even if this trend stabilizes in Europe and North America, we can expect very strong development in South America and Africa.Escape rooms are not only entertainment places, but also a business tool that is finding new applications. In November 2017, ING Bank Śląski received the main prize in the category "Innovation in recruitment - candidate interaction" in the Power of Attraction competition. The bank was recognized for using an innovative and non-standard recruitment tool - an escape room. Escape rooms around the world are used by businesses from various industries as a HR or marketing tool. Sony Pictures opened a room in Los Angeles that supported the premiere of "Jumanji: Adventure in the Jungle." HBO did the same, creating rooms for fans of "Game of Thrones" or "VEEP", through which swept over 1500 people during the famous conference and festival SXSW organized by the interactive, film and music industry. Also on Polish soil you can find examples of interest in escape rooms by the film industry. The main partner of the 3rd Polish Championships in escape rooms was the film "X-Men: Dark Phoenix".
What applications does the market find for escape rooms?
Escape rooms are used to promote regions or cities (which the City of Wrocław is actively doing), by the Adidas Originals or Microsoft, which opened the P@ssWord room in Warsaw, where the key to exit lies in the use of new technologies, such as various applications available as part of the Office. In turn, Wyjście Awaryjne, a well-known Polish escaperoom company, organized a large event for Samsung, which promoted its products in the rooms. Each of these products had a specific role in the plot and mechanics of the room - e.g. Bixby helped translate the text in Korean, and the Galaxy Watch located the object hidden in the recesses of the wall. Nearly 500 people played it. This is only an example of how escape rooms can be used by people responsible for marketing or promotion. There are many more possibilities.
Do escape rooms have any value for children and young people? Is this useful entertainment?
Escape rooms are a combination of learning with fun, engaging story and a series of logical tasks, puzzles and manual challenges that can be based on any school subject or scientific discipline. Escape rooms are becoming an increasingly popular form of education in the US and Scandinavian countries. This trend is also reaching Poland. On Facebook, there is a group for people related to education in Poland (educators, teachers, school heads) in which they exchange opinions and practices only on conducting classes in escape rooms, or even creating escape rooms for the needs of a given school. Over 8,000 people belong to it.
Examples? "December 1918, Greater Poland is in the heat of the uprising. Your goal is to support the local unit to obtain weapons before they can be removed from the city." - is an escape room scenario, which has a story-based story and is located in the Regional Museum in Kościan in Poland.
Is it safe?
Yes. Apart from the fact that it is a very professional industry, present globally, used in business, marketing, HR - from the very beginning, escape rooms have been created primarily by enthusiasts who visit each other's rooms, share good practices and develop standards incredibly quickly - good example is the code of rules for safe escape room, which was an internal initiative of the industry and is a step ahead of top requirements of e.g. fire protection. Constant monitoring, supervision of the so-called game masters, cyclical fire brigade inspections or emergency exits are essential. However, many companies have their own solutions that maximize security. These are e.g. sensors and the SAP system connected to the Fire Brigade unit, buttons or emergency keys that allow you to leave the game at any time and from everywhere. It should also be emphasized that closing players is arbitrary for the purposes of the game. As part of the industry, we exchange experiences and support in maintaining the highest standards for one simple reason: clients of escape rooms are our mutual clients.
At what technological level are modern escape rooms?
"You are entering a dark room. Barely flashing fluorescent lamps illuminate them enough that you can tell that suddenly, after crossing the door, you found yourself in an abandoned hospital. The scenografy design is 100% realistic. Soft music comes from the speakers, enhancing the aura of mystery. A characteristic, hospital odor floats in the air, the monitor displays images from cameras from the entire complex, on which you nervously look for someone's presence, while in the room behind a thin wall someone seems to walk" - this is how you can briefly describe the first experience with an thriller-based scenario of the 3rd generation escape room. These rooms have come a long way and are now using the latest technology and special effects known from movies to engage game participants on many levels and create immersion.
Elements of the "open world" known from modern video games, simple robots that must be controlled to perform a task, elevators transporting participants from one room to another or 100% electronic puzzles, 3d printing - these are just examples of solutions used in the most advanced rooms.
Are escape rooms a good business idea? What does it look like up close?
Most companies are individual points run by enthusiasts. Nevertheless, the market has already developed to such an extent that there are many companies that have several or even more than ten rooms in their city. There are also franchise networks that provide the licensee with the entire scenarios and know-how. The industry has even developed a market for additional services, i.e. script writers, producers of stage design elements, special effects or systems responsible for ensuring safety and, more importantly, the well-being of players during the game.
Building a room a few years ago cost about 2-6 thousand Euros (excluding the cost of premises and work). Investments in such budgets are still rising, however, to go with the times, we have to take into account the expenditure of 15-25 thousand. euro. However, we already have technologically advanced rooms on the market, the construction cost of which is 60-80 thousand euro.
What does the market look like in individual countries?
The global market is consistently growing. The upward trend continues. While some markets have stagnated or even fallen, the vast majority have grown. An increase in the number of escape rooms by up to 20% is no longer surprising - even in the most dense markets, e.g. in the Netherlands.
Number of puzzle rooms in the world? It can be estimated that there are about 60,000 It's hard to be sure - including because the numbers from the US and China are approximate. New escape rooms are constantly opening all over the world and even if this trend stabilizes in Europe and North America, one can expect very strong development in South America and Africa.
It is worth noting that the Netherlands has taken the leading position in the number of escape rooms per capita and are quickly approaching the level of one game per 20 thousand. people. There are many factors that influence the success of the Netherlands. It is a wealthy country with a balance between work and private life. It is also a small country with a relatively high population density, so each escape room has a larger range and access to a large number of customers at the start.
Are escape rooms a sports discipline?
They can be. Escape rooms are primarily entertainment, fun for people of all ages. A multitude of scenarios, room categories (crime, adventure, thriller, or film-based films) allow everyone to find something for themselves. However, thanks to the fact that each such game involves the need to fit in a certain time, and many rooms maintain their own table of records - the most passionate enthusiasts began to compete with each other and share their time results, e.g. on internet forums. Red Bull was the first to reach these people by starting to organize the "Red Bull Mind Gamers” event in 2017 in Hungary. This event attracts teams from all around the world - this year, in their next edition, in the finals in London, the best 23 teams were competing. In turn, Poland has been organizing the national Poland Escape championship since 2017. More than 1,700 participants applied to the first edition, 2,750 to the second, and in 2019’s third edition about 3,000 enthusiasts of escape rooms (within 2-4 personal teams) joined the first stage. In 2020, the competition changed its name to ER_Champ and will have a fully international formula. More at: https://erchamp.com/en/
What is Lockme?
Innovative business ventures are emerging on the global boom related to escape rooms. One of them is the Lockme website - a marketplace for booking escape rooms. In Poland, it has over 95% market coverage and is expanding into Western markets, including in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or the USA. It is a place to search according to various criteria, browse, book and then evaluate escape rooms. Thanks to this, we created a community-building mechanism and exchange of experiences between enthusiasts around the ranking of the best rooms. On the other hand, escape room companies offer both paid and free forms of presence on the platform, thanks to which it attracts the vast majority of the market. This wide reach allows the website to achieve its main goal - showing users good escape rooms to visit. To achieve this goal, a special algorithm was created to position rooms in the ranking. It is mainly based on user reviews, but it is not a simple conversion of average ratings. The whole is more complicated, has a strong mathematical foundation, and the way it works is obviously our secret.