Jen and I are not only owners, we are also customers. We love playing escape rooms and though we don't have the time to do as many as we would like, when we do go, it's usually just three or four in our group. With a smaller group we don't fill up the room. Since we don't, we are completely aware that we may end up playing with strangers. It's common practice in the U.S. escape room industry and it happens frequently, but why?
As we see it, there are only two possible answers to this question.
One is money. (Spoiler alert, this is the real reason)
The other, One puzzle in the room requires X number of people to solve. The puzzle is usually physical in nature and just isn't possible to do without a certain number of players. You don't come across this very often though and we only know of one escape room near Largo where this is the case.
So we're back to chasing the almighty dollar again. We get it, we're business owners. No matter how much we love escape rooms, love doesn't pay the bills. But, trying to suck every dollar out of every minute of every day, that, well.....sucks.
As players we've been paired up with strangers before and as owners we've paired groups up. Fortunately, we never had a bad experience in either scenario however we also know it didn't allow for the best possible experience.
Something happens when you get stuck playing with even the nicest group of people you don't know. Everyone becomes at least a little reserved, they don't act how they normally would, one group dominates most the room. One part of a mixed group has a lot more fun than the other. This means that the other part didn't have very much fun.
For us, escape rooms are always about having fun. We know they aren't exactly cheap but when you play a good one with people you enjoy being around it is totally worth it.
We listen to our customers here at Escape FLA. Not only do we listen to them, we have become pretty good at hearing what they aren't saying. We also try and listen to ourselves from time to time!
So after watching this play out in our escape room here in Largo and after really listening to ourselves and what we wanted from a customer perspective, we came to a determination.
All our rooms are now private.
It just makes sense for us because we want all our guests to have the best time possible. Are we going to loose money? Maybe. Will we have a group who didn't have a great time because the "others" were controlling, dominating, rude, etc? Nope.
Can you get a private game at other escape rooms in the Tampa Bay area? Sure you can, just buy all the tickets. If your group happens to be the same size as the room maximum then that's great. If it's not, then you've just spent more money than you needed to. Our prices did not change when we decided to go private, we just tweaked the experience to help ensure you have the best possible time.
Hope to see you sometime,
Ryan and Jen