Gareth Beeson devised the challenging escape room experience alongside partner Nicole, and today he’s featuring in our ‘Spotlight’ series to tell us all about it…
1: Now you’re in the ‘Spotlight’, can you give us a short description of your business?
Other World Escapes is an immersive and story-driven live escape room experience ideal for families, friends and workplace team-building. Each of our rooms piques the senses through using aromas, visuals, audio, kinaesthetic and humidity in the environment. This makes you feel as though you are playing a character in the story.
2: What inspired you to start your business?
I have been an avid fan of escape rooms for two years now and have travelled the world to play them. Following this enthusiasm, I decided to partner with a few friends to develop a website known as www.escapegamehub.com – the UK’s largest and most comprehensive escape room directory. At the time of planning, escape rooms were not open in Southampton and, from my experience, immersion and sensory experiences were not leveraged well enough in the industry. From these gaps I decided to set up my own escape room with my fiancé, Nicole Thompson-Vassel.
3: What challenges have you faced since starting/running your business?
In terms of starting an escape room there have been a whole wealth of challenges. Firstly, coming from a digital marketing background, I had no experience or knowledge of planning and performing construction. As such, I was required to teach myself how to build many bespoke items out of wood, metal and other materials which we ordered. This placed me very much out of my comfort zone. Furthermore, in the escape room industry, players cannot play an escape room twice. This is because those who have completed the room know the solutions to all of the puzzles. Therefore, this meant marketing has to be conducted in a way that generates revenue from only new customers – a task notoriously hard to do. Nevertheless, once our second and third rooms are open, we will be able to invite previous players to come and play the new rooms.
4: How do you market your business? Are you online?
We market our business in lots of different ways. Social media, in particular Facebook, tends to be the most effective form of advertising which we use having generated at least a third of all our bookings so far. We also use Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SEO, PPC, and email marketing through Mailchimp. Attending many business networking events to raise awareness and encourage bookings from the corporate side of our target audience is also something we do. We also will have a stand at Solent University Freshers Fayre. Running free tours of our venue and supplying nearby businesses with flyers is something we also do. Furthermore, we are partnered with a number of local companies such as Nousha Lounge, See Southampton, and Stellamar.
5: What are your plans for the future?
In the very near future we intend to open our second room – Vermilion, a 1930’s cigar lounge. This room will be able to accommodate up to 12 players and will be in a very different style to our first room – Mayan. We also intend to open our third room – Abyss around December, where we will be leveraging virtual reality to produce a one-of-a-kind digital hybrid escape room experience. We have plans to open up a second venue in Barbados next year and have some plans to open another on the Isle of Wight, but this to be confirmed.
Promo Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXWtQfdxKks
Mayan Teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAJuiynbOZA