I was emailed by a gentleman from RedFlagDeals about whether or not I was paid to do any of the reviews. I am not! I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about my perspective on reviewing and the dynamic between escape rooms and their players in general.
Escape rooms and their players have opposing goals. This is more or less true between most businesses and consumers (economics 101!). A business wants to charge as much as the market can bare to maximize profits; Consumers want to pay as little as possible for the best experience/product possible. I am a consumer. I want the most value I can get. I do not leverage my reviews to get cheaper prices or free games (and I’ll certainly say in the review if a game I played was discounted/free), but I will certainly use whatever discounts a facility is offering to the general public. I want the most fun/dollar x the longest amount of time possible.
I started reviewing to be helpful to the general public. There were maybe.. 5 or 6 escape rooms in Ontario when I started keeping track of them in the original reddit thread. From my perspective, reviews serve no purpose other than to help the public find their best (escape room) option.
My blog is not ad space. I do not exist to help out businesses. A dishonest review making an escape room sound better than it is isn’t even really reviewing anymore.. It’s just promotion – And promotion and reviewing are directly opposing directives.
I try to give help to anyone who asks for it, but I have no vested interest in the success of any particular business. This also applies to businesses that I think overcharge or deliver a subpar experience. If those businesses are successful, then good for them – I wish them the best. A poor review from me only means that I think money could probably be better somewhere else – and if someone manages to have fun at some place I think isn’t very good, then that’s really all for the better!
As a further consequence of this attitude, I won’t recommend places I haven’t been to yet. It seems silly to me to hype up a room if you have no idea if it’s any good or not.
The objectives between businesses and consumers aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. After
all, businesses want players to have a good experience too (if for nothing else than to gain repeat customers). In general, I think the facilities that will be the most successful are always going to be aiming for a comfortable medium between their interests and that of the players’. A year in, I think results are already starting to show – Businesses that are trying to provide better value to the customers, know whats available on the market, and are reinvesting into their businesses are pulling away from the pack.