Getting Lost in the Moment

By Thomas Dunagan

If I had to describe what it is like to start your own business I can sum it up by simply stating it is an absolute whirlwind of emotions. Never feeling like I would reach the starting line of pressing the “open” button was a constant struggle. Now that it has finally begun it has presented a new level of challenges to ponder, work around, and plan. Now I do want to talk about the vision of where I see The Lost Room is headed in the future, but I’m going to save that for my next blog. Here in this one I want to discuss what my first full week of being open was truly like.

On Thursday June the 13th I was approved for occupancy with my business and made the announcement that evening that we would be open Saturday and Sunday, the 15th and 16th respectively. Now on such short notice my expectations on receiving any business at all was low. Essentially it was slow. So coming off the second week of business things changed quite dramatically. Having customers on all four days we were open was a good sign. An even better result was we surpassed the minimum number of guests I need to host in a week to cover operational costs. All of this has come without the help of being on Google Maps, Yelp, and Trip Adviser. Now we are currently in the process of getting on those sites but I was floored to see we reached a minimum goal set without the help of those marketing tools in place.

Now how do you respond to a customer who walks into your establishment and asks about what you’re selling. Now the escape room industry is a unique one in itself. It’s not like they can really touch and feel and see the product in advance exactly. Now with the Master Key, room I do allow guests to see the room if they would like as on the surface it really doesn’t give anything away. But beyond that what comes next? Over 90% of the population has never experienced an escape room. Most are worried it will be scary, or claustrophobic, or even simply lame.

I don’t consider myself a salesman. I don’t even consider myself the most eloquent of talkers either. However, I can talk passionately about my experiences as an escape game player and how my designs derive from those passions and inspirations. Now does that make anyone a believer in my product exactly? I have no idea. I can tell you that if they weren’t a believer before they played the experience, they are definitely one after it.

Some people are so excited about attempting an escape room and what can also be so amusing is to see other people in that group look absolutely abhorrent at the idea of what they’re about to be forced to go through with their overenthusiastic party members. In the back of my mind when I go over directions to the room, constantly seeing the faces of those people who look like they’re determined to have zero fun, I can’t help but think they are going to ruin this experience for the rest of the group. Yet every person that has come out of their experience have such and indescribable joyous look in their face and in their emotions. I wish I could capture a before and after of these people’s faces and demeanor.

The moment the group has finished their experience and I engage with them and get to discuss with them what they just did together is the most captivating reminder of why I started this business in the first place. To create that mind-blowing level of indescribable excitement in just a brief 60 minutes of time.

Now when a group finishes their experience I take a group photo and they receive it to their e-mail and/or phone along with a link to review us if they feel compelled to. While not many reviews have come in yet all have been very positive thus far. As much as I would like to create a bunch of fabricated reviews and make our company look good, I don’t want to lose that line of integrity in an industry that is so heavily geared towards a customers experience.

So with that said, these are some snippets of the reviews we received from our first few groups they posted on Facebook:

“I really enjoyed this escape room! A lot of thought and passion went into making this room as great as it is.”

“This is the best escape room I’ve done so far! The gentleman who created this room clearly put so much innovation and thought into the puzzles which made it so much fun for our group! There are some amazing details to this escape they thought of that are just brilliant and make for a truly immersive experience. I cannot WAIT until the next room is built! We will be back!!!!!”

“It was my first time ever doing an escape room and it was probably the best time I had the whole trip I would definitely recommend checking this place!”

If you haven’t made plans already, then please do and come get lost with us!

This week we start building our next room…