Is America ready for a centralized database of Escape Rooms? A new App says “Yes!”
A new App launched this week that hopes to make finding escape rooms easier. Escape Route offers a handful of useful features that should make keeping up with our favorite hobby a little easier, but we were a little skeptical; doing as much traveling as they do, the boys here at Partly Wicked have had to resort to just about every research method known to man to find new rooms to take on yet still felt like they missed something. So, when they heard about Escape Route they did the only logical thing they could think of: stalk the development team, trap them in a corner, and beat them into submission using various torture methods prohibited by the Geneva Convention until they screamed “I’ll talk! I’ll talk!! Dear God, just make it STOP!!” When he finally pulled himself together, Adam Johnson, one of the Co-owners of Escape Route, Inc., was more than willing to answer Paul’s questions.
Paul: “When did you guys get the idea for Escape Route?”
Adam: “We got the idea a few months ago, noticing that people in the community seemed to be tracking their own information across various spreadsheets & documents, and using all kinds of platforms and search engines to find new rooms. We just imagined there had to be a better way.”
P: “Guilty as charged; Excell, Waze, Trip Advisor, Yelp… it’s a lot to juggle. How big is your team and how long did it take to get Escape Route ready for launch?”
A: “It’s just Brandon [the other Co-owner] and I doing everything. It took us about 2 months to get everything ready to go. We wanted to include a lot more than we did at launch but also felt what we had was enough to satisfy a need and so we went out with it.”
P: “Really? Only 2 months? With all the information in your app about different venues, I thought it would have taken longer to gather all that research. Did you have to do all the researching yourselves or was there some kind of database you were able to tap into?”
A: “We had to collect all of the information ourselves. A lot of effort went into getting the data, and it’s still not perfect. There are inaccuracies and missing information. But hopefully we can get it cleaned up as time goes on, and we get more help from escape room owners themselves wanting to be included.”
P: “You’ve decided to make Escape Route available for free, but I noticed that there aren’t any in-app purchases either. How do you plan on making any money from this project? Will you be looking for ad revenue from venues or were you thinking of switching to a paid model like a subscription service or a premium edition, the way other apps have?”
A: “As of right now, [making money] isn’t a focus of ours. We plan to always keep the app free, and we’re focused on making it a valuable tool in the community.”
P: “That’s fantastic! I’m sure a lot of users are happy to hear that. How has the reception been thus far? I mean it’s only been a day, but things seem to be catching on really fast.”
A: “Yeah it’s been pretty overwhelming. We have been getting tons of feedback emails, Facebook requests, room/location add/update requests. So, as far as a day 1 release is concerned I couldn’t be happier with how quickly things have progressed!”
P: “Well, congratulations! Can you give us any idea of what other features you have in mind for the future?”
A: “We really want to empower [venue] owners to manage their own data. Judging by the responses we’ve gotten so far, it’s a high priority to give them some type of management portal so they can change things and keep things up to date at their discretion. As far as user-facing features, we’ve talked about public ratings & reviews, adding additional information collection on an escape room visit, (i.e. how many players were in your group, did you escape or not, how much time was left if you did, etc.), and, working with escape room owners to offer promotions or deals within the app.”
So far, all is going well for Escape Route. We’ll let you all know how it holds up for us the next time the boys travel.