At some point it became an industry convention to take a picture of groups after they were done playing. What’s the point? and who’s it for?
It’s an industry standard now; Most places do it. You finish your game and your team takes a picture. You’re holding signs saying stuff like “<— Genius” or maybe “So close!!”.
Players get a neat memento to remember their experience by. I would say this is the only plus for the customers.
From the business’ point of view, it’s good marketing. By volume, the majority of players must have played somewhere from 0-2 rooms (no stats to back that up, I like to make wild conjecture). If you get family and friends asking players what that photo is, thats organic marketing. That sure as hell beats buying 5000 fake twitter followers.
That’s the surface dynamic of the post-game photos. I feel that this level of consideration is generally what most facilities have delved into, but there’s more to it. Maybe at least 3 things, in fact!
The first thing no one talks about is the anti-synergy this tactic has with social media discounts. It’s fairly common to see the ‘Like and check-infor a X% discount!”. People take advantage of those discounts (again, wild unsubstantiated conjecture). The anti-synergy comes when you make post pictures of players every week. Everyone wants to see their own picture, but they certainly don’t care to see scores of random people holding up signs. At this point, they either unlike your facebook page, or just turn off notifications. In either case, they have cut off contact in the eventuality that you want to let them know you have a new room/promotion/whatever going on.
A second consideration with the post-game photo is what I like to call ‘Empty-Restaurant Syndrome’. If I had a business background, I could probably tell you what the actual terminology was, but I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. If you see an empty restaurant, you are less likely dine there. You assume that other (more informed) people know something you don’t about this restaurant, and decided against it. At the very least, if you’re walking into a busy restaurant, the food is fresh (maybe the analogy here is that the game is somewhat tested, or maybe I’m just stretching at this point!). So the same thing applies to escape rooms, in my opinion. Would-be players look at your near-empty page and ponder – If this place WAS any good, wouldn’t it be busier? And yes, I believe there is some truth to that – which isn’t to say that there aren’t good places that should be getting more business.
So my point is that showing that you have business is conducive to getting more business.
There are exceptions, of course. Escape Games doesn’t take pictures of groups unless they make it to the high score, but I’d argue that they’re somewhat of an outlier case due to how busy they are in general.
A very important consideration that I think is often neglected altogether is that escape facilities don’t make these pictures attractive. In some ways, this is certainly understandable; Many rooms shouldn’t be shown to the public because it would ruin a certain element of discovery of the game, although that’s not always the case. My point is very simple though. A picture of people i know holding up signs is very boring. In no way does it entice me to play your game. In fact, there’s often nothing to differentiate one place’s signs from another’s. Let’s examine a picture from a haunted house in Niagara Falls.
I censored out the faces because I’m not a lawyer and have no idea whether I should be showing random faces on my blog or not. If you could see these faces, you would see two scared males (maybe father and son). My mind immediately goes to ‘I wonder what they’re seeing’. This is compelling. This is interesting. Of course not every escape room is horror-based, but my point is that taking a picture of someone actually enjoying your game is probably much more effective than a group holding up signs.
PS. If I were to have make an escape room (of the horror variety), I would have a jump scare that was synchronized with a camera flash to catch moments like this. I would also use these pictures of players that lost as being evidence/serial killer mementos of past ‘victims’.