In an industry centered on macabre subjects like death and dying, the one thing you don’t want flat-lining is your business.For haunters, the technicalities of business can be overwhelming. HAuNTcon has brought the brightest specialists in their respective fields of marketing, social media, business plans, getting started and more to share their knowledge and experience with you. These very important classes are chosen to help make running your haunt easier, more lucrative… and more fun! Times and topics are subject to change.
Note: Attendance to the HAuNTcon Tradeshow Floor is required to take these classes.
CLICK HERE to register.
Business 1 – Saturday 8:30 – 9:30 am
13 Haunted Attraction Advertising Mistakes and How To Avoid Them!
by Dick Terhune of Voices from Hell
There are 13 Things you should absolutely, positively, never EVER do when advertising your Haunted Attraction! (How many have you been guilty of doing over the years?) Dick Terhune, “The Voice From Hell,” is here to keep you from diluting your brand, mismanaging your marketing, and pouring your ad dollars down a deep, dark hole. With an ever-expanding client list of great Haunted Attractions the world over (Netherworld, The Darkness, Shocktoberfest and The 13th Floor to name a few), Dick Terhune is the Haunted Attraction Industry’s Master of the Dark Arts (of Advertising & Marketing). Are you willing to face the terrifying truth about your own haunt advertising? Dick Terhune’s clients do, and have increased attendance by as much as 300% in a single season. If you’ve hit the wall on ways to build bigger, better audiences, you cannot afford to miss this session. Check out their website at www.voicefromhell.com
Business 2 – Saturday 10:00 – 11:00 am
Screams In The Night: Opening Your First Outdoor Haunted Attraction
by Mark and Mellanie Goldsmith of Horror at Huntfield
Like any business, when it comes to opening your first Halloween event, funding is the biggest hurdle. One way to decrease the total budget needed for your startup, is utilizing Outdoor Attractions. While cheaper and less code restrictive than Indoor Attractions, Outdoor Attractions have their own set of challenges. In this lively seminar, Mark and Mellanie Goldsmith, owners of Horror at Huntfield, will delve in to the details and processes that will help you meet those challenges and get you solidly on the path to opening a successful Haunted Trail, Haunted Hayride, Survival-Type Maze, Cemetery or Midway-format haunt. Topics include the Pros and Cons of an Outdoor Event, finding a suitable location, parking, ticketing, concessions, trash, restrooms, advertising, Dealing With Weather, and the risks involved in scaring people in the woods. Check out their website at www.horrorathuntfield.com
Business 3 – Saturday 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Perfecting A Haunt Social Media Blueprint
by Brian Kalakay of Freekanomics
Okay, so your haunt has a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube page… now what? This session will cover 27 steps to crafting a complete social media strategy for your haunted attraction, geared for engagement, haunt awareness and customer loyalty. These powerful, yet simple marketing strategies, are responsible for increasing online ticket sales of a small haunted house in Michigan by 300% in only a few weeks. Plus, learn how to automate content generation for your Haunt’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Check out their website at www.freekanomics.com
Business 4 – Sunday 8:30 – 9:30 am
Guerilla Marketing 101
by D’Ann Dagen of La De Da Productions
Get $1000’s worth of FREE publicity for your event! Learn how to successfully market your attraction without spending a lot of dough. Dozens of practical and lucrative ideas will be shared. Then enjoy a lively Q & A as you pick the brain of this seasoned veteran. D’Ann Dagen has been in the haunt trenches for 39 years with consistent success in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
Business 5 – Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Show Me the Money: Making Online Ticketing Work for Your Haunt
by Michael Patrick of CrowdTorch
Is your event bringing in the dollars that it could be earning? Do you have data to show which advertising and marketing works, and which doesn’t? Are your ticket buyers getting friends to go to your haunt when they share on social media? The answer to all of these questions could be yes, if you follow some simple proven tips and tricks (and treats!) about online ticketing.
In this session, we’ll talk about best practices for using online advertising and ticketing to make it easy for customers to buy tickets whenever and wherever they are inspired. We’ll share the advantages of timed ticketing, including getting more money into the bank before the event even happens, controlling crowd flow and planning event staffing. We’ll show you how to use discount offers, merchandise bundles and demand pricing to increase your bottom line and how to build buzz and sales through social media, online advertising and mobile. And with digital track ability, we’ll remind you of the value of knowing who is buying your tickets, why, and where – so those precious marketing dollars are spent wisely. Sponsors or partners on your haunt? We’ve got ideas for that, too!
Topics covered in this session include: making purchasing tickets easy and convenient, leveraging timed ticketing for better planning and bigger advance sales, using pricing offers and deadlines to drive purchases, tapping into social media to grow word of mouth and sell tickets, building a database, using data to maximize marketing dollars, additional sponsorship and ad revenue. Check out their website at www.crowdtorch.com
Business 6 – Sunday 4:30 – 5:30 pm
The Rise of the Halloween Theme Park: Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt
by Ted Dougherty of Ultimate Haunt
This multi-media presentation conducted by historian and author, Ted Dougherty on how the Southern California tradition of Knott’s Berry Farm’s “Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt” has gone on to revolutionize the Halloween theme park industry. Ted will share never-before-seen photographs, stories and information to illustrate how, since its 1973 debut, Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt has grown into a juggernaut in the theme park industry. This presentation is a fun, insightful and educational demonstration for any haunter wanting to learn how one of the most famous and largest Halloween theme park events in the world began. Check out their website at www.ultimatehaunt.com
Business 7 – Monday 8:30 – 9:30 am
Actor Safety in the Haunted Attraction
by Dr. Brian D. Jackson of J & S Ventures, LLC., Derailed Haunted House
The core of any haunted attraction is it’s cast and crew. Long hours and harsh environments lend themselves to lower immune systems, and as the season grinds on, your staff can dwindle right then you need them. In this lively session, Dr. Brian Jackson will identify a variety of problem areas that need to be addressed when looking out for the health and safety of your cast members, crew, and even your customers. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has never been more true. Topics covered include safe environments for both indoor and outdoor events, as well as tips and tricks to keep your actors and staff healthy for the full month. Check out their website at www.derailedhauntedhouse.com
Business 8 – Monday 10:00 – 11:00 am
The Financials Of A Scream Park: Sales Strategies And Cost Structures To Make Profit!
by Stuart Beare of Tulleys Scream Park
Tulleys Farm’s annual Halloween event is the market leader in the UK’s rapidly developing Haunted / Scare Attraction Industry. Property owner Stuart Beare will share how the financials work, what drives growth, the importance of the new era in marketing and how this has helped create the event’s current business strategy. The farm attracted over 60,000 visitors in October 2014, in a market that is only just starting to embrace Halloween. Stuart will share the teams mistakes and successes as the product and the financial model has been fine tuned. Check out their website at www.halloweenattractions.co.uk
Business 9 – Monday 11:30- 12:30
Actor Management: Happy Actors, Happy Bottom Line
by Dana Martin of Talladega Frights Haunted Attraction
Do your actors grow stale and repetitive as the month wears on? Do you lose actors mid-season? Is scheduling your actors a problem? Are your costumes, makeup, masks unorganized? It might be your management. Unmanaged monsters are like circus animals without the ringmaster. No direction. No focus. No common goal.
In this informative session, Dana Martin will show attendees a better way to manage your monsters efficiently, allowing owners and other crew to focus on their jobs. Baptized by fire, Martin operated two haunted attractions 90 minutes apart and out of necessity, developed these techniques to cultivate a positive acting environment and satisfy crew expectations.
Haunted Attractions, large and small, can benefit from cast and crew that returns year after year. Rather than training a rookie cast every year, returning actors can improve their skills. Dedicated actors will be there when you need them and help mentor new actors. Your bottom line benefits if your actors are happy and return each season.
Besides management tips and tricks, Dana will share the most efficient methods to reward and retain actors on a yearly basis, including techniques and classes used to “give back” to volunteer actors to equip them with job skills and career training for lifetime enrichment.
Enjoying a 75% return rate on actors each season at both of her attractions, Martin will show you how dedicating one well trained person to actor management will drastically improve your show (and save your sanity). Check out their website at www.talladegafrights.com
Business 10 – Monday 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Using Groupon As Advertising To Drive Attendance To Your Haunt
by Ashley Davis of Entertainment Effects
Join haunters from across the country who are using Groupon to drive attendance to their event. In this straight talk session, Ashley Davis will share his experience using Groupon and show attendees how Groupon can be used to target specific demographics and attract new customers. Using success stories, Ashley will share how to properly use Groupon to your advantage, how Groupon and other social media works and how attendees can use Groupon to their advantage. Sharing his years of experience with attendees, Ashley will show attendees the tools he they will need to successfully grow their event. Check out their website at www.nightmareon1960.com
Business 11 – Monday 3:00 – 4:00 pm
How NOT to open a Haunted House Business
by Corissa Gaulin of Supernatural Haunted House
Sometimes knowing what not to do when you start your first haunted event is as important as knowing what to do. In this hour long crash course, Corissa Gaulin will share her ten plus years experience in the professional Haunted Attraction industry on the Do’s and Don’ts of opening a first time haunted event. Corissa will explain the successes and failures of both her event and those she has observed over the last decade of haunting. This seminar alone will save you far more than the price of the whole conference. The information provided will save thousands of dollars, countless hours and nerve racking decisions. This class will show attendees how to make their dream of haunting a reality and avoid common pitfalls. You do not have to be wealthy to own a haunt of your own. You can make your dream a reality. Check out their website at www.superhaunt.com
Business 12 – Monday 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Raising the Bar: Mobile and Ticketing Audience Engagement
by Michael Patrick of CrowdTorch
Did you know that 91% of people keep their smartphone within three feet at all times? Or that 85% of time spent on mobile phones is spent using apps, while the other 15% is spent on the mobile web? Mobile apps have become increasingly popular at live events. They allow attendees to easily access event information and share updates with their social networks, and help organizers build a shared community where they can capture excitement and create conversation around each event.
Event organizers use mobile apps to build excitement for their ticket holders leading up to, during and even after their events. Tying social media together with a mobile app increases audience engagement, which ultimately leads to more ticket sales. And mobile apps are incredibly convenient, allowing attendees and their friends to purchase tickets whenever and wherever they want.
This interactive session will explore how mobile and ticketing trends are creating new marketing channels, levels of social media sharing and new opportunities for attendees to engage. Topics covered in the session include: Creating an interactive guide with maps, schedules, bios, and more, using mobile apps to generate more buzz before, during and after people attend your event, building social media platforms into the app so attendees can share their experiences, connecting a ticketing platform to an existing website, increasing brand and identity by using online ticketing, leveraging social media platforms and communities to engage with customers, creating intriguing content, giveaways and contests to increase sales. Check out their website at www.crowdtorch.com