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Is a long wait line good for word of mouth?

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  • Is a long wait line good for word of mouth?

    I was pondering this question, I am starting a new haunted attraction and I was thinking about other places that I have herd of having 2-4 hour waits to get in. Now this, to me sounded like ,well it must be good if people are willing to wait that long. The place we are opening ,in my calculations has the ability to run 30 people thru every 3 mins, so thats 20 groups an hour or 600 people. or should I reduce the number going thru till i have a wait line of 45mins to an hour? I dont think I want people to say they walked right in, they may think that the attraction its not that good. what do u guys think?
    Doug Crawford owner
    Rockville Fear Factory Llc
    Vernon Ct, 06084

  • #2
    I don't think a long wait is necessarily a problem as long as your Queue is being entertained somehow. Video screens, music, plants in your line, sliders, Big Monsters roaming pulling the plants out of line, etc... It is always about the entertainment no matter where they are at.

    I think the most important part though is proper spacing of your customers to get a show of their own. Some attraction do a kongaline technique when it gets too busy but that just seems like no fun to me. Then it is more like a museum.
    Kevin R. Alvey
    info at



    • #3
      A longer wait is good if You are trying to sell them something , like food, nick-nacks, life insurance....
      Younger customers might enjoy being in line because they see it as an opportunity to meet new friends and pick a pocket or two.
      Older drunks get to slobber on strangers and be totally obnoxious to the same strangers and usually get away with it.
      Then there is the thrill of a possible drive by shooting, of course your haunt will seem pretty tame compared to that and might suffer in the comparison critiques.
      We had a drive by here once. We all got sprayed by some kind of a fire extinguisher or something? It was not pleasant. It didn't put out my "Fire".
      Most people born in our country do not like standing in lines for anything , because I think the pay off at the end of those other lines is usually not something good, like a needle getting stuck in your arm of the last dregs of picked over , cold food at a banquet.
      Too many people have to watch a clock and are subconsciously trained to always be doing this.
      Of course the ultimate ego-satisfaction is controlling others and reaping the rewards for doing it right.
      I used to have long lines before we inspired advance reservations . I would see and hear those waiting asking those exiting,"Well, is it worth it? Is it worth the wait?" Worth the drive?"(They had already been waiting for 3 hours and driven maybe another 3 hours to get here)
      Then those exiting just a few feet away (being puked out on the parking lot via the huge steel skull) would say, "YES!" and those asking would grimace and then resign themselves to waiting a little longer for the privilege of seeing the inside of the house.....yes, this great for the Ego.
      Of course as we all age, standing no longer remains one of our favorite things to do, physically speaking.
      A wheelchair parking zone might be the answer?


      • #4
        A long and maybe stupid response....

        This issue was a serious sticking point with me at my last job. There were two camps, one that wanted less than a 30 minute line with thousands of guests a night with NO concern for what it did to the show and one that said make the show great and let the guests wait.

        I have always been more in the second group.... same as Kevin, I can not stand the konga line attractions. I have been going to haunts since I was a kid I have raised a family of haunters and theater actors. Not a one of us is going to enjoy a fast "something said arrghhh" type show. With the varied and high quality of entertainment today a haunted house needs to be something unique that is an experience people remember. You need to have good line entertainment, the key actors, the pure showmanship that makes people feel immersed in your show. That is, if you want to stand out and be something more or new. This is what makes people come back again and again... hell, I have been hitting Jim's place off and on for just about 20 years. Why, the show is one of the best there is....

        How into this philosophy am I? Here is an email I sent an event owner last year when I finally got the chance to hit his show. My wife and kids wore "apparel" from two of the events we had worked with and the owner knew I had emailed him to say I was coming sometime end of the month. But they were so busy I didn't bother him, but stood in line with the crowd. SO... here is the email I sent him when I got home that night...

        ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
        With taking the year off from xxxxxx I was finally able to hit your haunted house last night, 10/21. Your show is AWESOME!!! You guys have by far the most fun haunt I have been to in at least 10 years. Congrats on one bad ass show... the guides were great, the actors spot on, and the show quality. The only downer is the line, but with the show you guys have it is SO VERY worth the wait. I have have always said no one leaves a show with it sucked but the line was short, but people will yell that was worth every minute of the wait. I think your show was worth every minute of that wait. Thanks for it....
        ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

        Granted, the best bet is as short of a line as you can get without compromising your show quality. No one wants to wait for a bad show. But no one ever leaves a show of any kind saying... "The show sucked, but at least the line was short" .... but how many times at a great show, or ride, or whatever, do you hear screams of... "It was SO worth the wait!!!" ..... who's guests would you rather have?

        Of course this is just me.... maybe other people love short lines and average shows... or long lines and bad shows... I am just speaking for me....
        Last edited by dr0zombie; 04-13-2008, 12:11 PM.


        • #5
          The most important thing

          is to break the people up into small groups and give your scares time to reset between groups.

          When you post a question, you really should only post it in only one category. Everyone will still see it, and it keeps everyone on track and not so confused.


          • #6
            I thought I did ,then notice a spelling error in the title. sorry bout that.
            Doug Crawford owner
            Rockville Fear Factory Llc
            Vernon Ct, 06084


            • #7
              as someone who's job it is to entertain the lines my idea is to seperate the line into two groups-the families with children who want to get their monies worth and in the other line you put the drunks and obnoxious teenagers who are only there to prove how tough they are. that line should be someone near a guy with a chainsaw preferably


              • #8
                Ask yourself this: if you found a great diner, and people started to form lines because the food was so good, would you prefer they made the food faster with less taste so more people could go through faster? That would defeat the whole purpose. I think most people would not want you to compromise the show so they have less a wait. Heck, they've waited all year, they can wait a little longer!

                That being said, we do our best to entertain the line and to speed things up like clock work. I tell the actors not to linger, but keep it moving fast and not let people bottle neck. It's always a problem on Halloween, but we got it down to a one hour wait max.

                The most important thing is that if they wait, they feel that they got their money's worth. Otherwise, all the word of mouth you get will be negative. But if the show is good, they will actually BRAG, "Man, we waited over an hour in line but it was really worth it, they did such and such...."


                • #9
                  I have had some drive 3 hrs from Chicago, wait in line for 3 hours, go home, come back the next night, stand in line again for an hour or two, finally get in, then when they were exiting were being asked by those waiting "Well, is it worth it? worth the money? Worth the time?"
                  They would all be smiling and nodding "Yes!" then walking over to talk to these total strangers to sing the praises of my house!
                  If someone is going to invest that much time and money to come here and see what I am offering, it had better be worth it.
                  Leonard once told me long ago that the poor haunts have the exit away from the waiting customers so as not to allow communication of negativity that could lose business.
                  For several years now my exit is as far away from my entrance as I can make it, adding to the mystery as nobody ever is seen exiting, they just keep going in???
                  I like it, that added mystery thing.
                  Another thing to stick in their mind, possibly impressing them, becoming a good memory, free advertising for the next 15 or 20 years.
                  That is how it works for me.