Choosing the right booking system for your escape room business
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Choosing the right booking system for your escape room business

Choosing the right booking system for your escape room business

Andy Bauch - 2022-09-01

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Whether you are thinking about opening your first escape room business, or are a gritty industry veteran, partnering with the right booking platform is almost certainly on your mind. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right one for your business.

It’s an important decision because switching down the road can be time consuming and difficult. Each platform requires set up time and employee training, which can be cumbersome. So choosing the platform, ideally from the start, is key to finding bliss as an owner.

Booking platforms vary widely, with different features, pricing options, customer experiences, and even applicability to other activities — for industrious entrepreneurs out there with other ticketed business ventures.

This breakdown should help make the decision a bit easier. We’ll start with Resova and Bookeo — the two most widely used options in the industry.

Resova is an industry-leading booking platform that was designed specifically with escape room businesses in mind. In just 7 years since its launch (originally with the name Bookify), Resova has quickly amassed about 1,000 escape room locations, including many of the industry’s top chains. With multiple pricing tiers available, Resova has a service option that fits all types of escape room businesses.

Pros

  • Designed specifically for escape room businesses by a team who understands the challenges
  • Great value for the price ($60/month for the Pro tier)
  • Good for owners in multiple ticketed business verticals
  • Attractive, smooth UI for both customers and employees
  • Ability to display room availabilities in Morty
  • Tools to capture data and market to all participating guests from a group
  • Inexpensive processing and integrated POS solutions with ResovaPay

Cons

  • More customization options with the Booking UI would be nice

In our estimation Resova should be the default pick for most new escape room businesses.

Bookeo is another industry-leading option that boasts wide integration options, but is not designed with escape room businesses primarily in mind. This generalist platform not only offers appointment booking, but also support for classes and music tours. For owners with entertainment businesses beyond escape rooms, Bookeo can be a good choice for coverage across many ticketed activities.

Pros

  • Good generalist booking platform
  • Good value for the price ($40/month for the Standard tier)
  • Nice for owners invested in multiple ticketed business verticals
  • Broad integration options, including Stripe, Shopify, and Groupon
  • Ability to display room availabilities in Morty

Cons

Aside from Resova and Bookeo, which dominate the escape room landscape, we see a few other options used from time to time.

Xola is another option catering to a wider array of ticketed activities beyond escape rooms. While it lacks some amenities that can be specifically helpful to escape room businesses, like the ability to make alterations or corrections to individual sales, the platform does offer a nice suite of capabilities. Overall, the company’s relatively large size allows it to provide some great services, but it does come at an elevated cost.

Pros

  • Good generalist booking platform
  • Offers booking package, allowing for multi-room bookings
  • Some integration capabilities, including Zapier and Facebook panel
  • Payment processing is inexpensive (1.9% + $0.30) via Stripe

Cons

FareHarbor takes a slightly different approach from most of its competitors in that it seeks to be more than just a booking platform, and instead act as a sort of “business in a box” for its clients. The platform offers a robust suite of services that go beyond booking software and couples it with highly dedicated customer service. While such a holistic partner can certainly be helpful, the company does charge a premium price for its offering.

Pros

Cons

  • Expensive - charges a ~6% fee on bookings to the purchasing customer, which owners often choose to absorb, diminishing margins
  • Not designed with the needs of ER owns specifically in mind
  • Some customers report that the software can be difficult to use
  • Only appropriate for owners looking to outsource core business activities to a partner

Peek operates in a similar arena as FareHarbor, positioning itself as a more full service partner to its clientele. Along with providing an easy-to-use, albeit slightly simplistic, booking experience the company also provides some nice features like review promotion and marketing amplification. For owners looking to outsource some of the more time consuming aspects of running their business, Peek can be a solid choice, though these services do not come cheap.

Pros

  • Pretty good generalist booking platform
  • Customer waiver options, eliminating need for additional vendor expense (or Google Form)
  • Product bundling support for multi-room bookings
  • Inexpensive payment processing (1.9% + $0.30) via Stripe

Cons

Checkfront is another option sometimes utilized by escape room businesses, though at a lower frequency than the aforementioned solutions. The company is primarily focused on bookings, but also offers a templated website builder for businesses in need of a digital makeover. With multiple tiers available, Checkfront has a plan available for all types of escape room businesses, though none possess the robust array of features of its prime competitors.

Pros

  • The escape room industry is a core concern to the company
  • Broad integrations with a small number of service platforms
  • Several service tier options for better partner fit
  • Setup and configuration consultation available to ease onboarding the system, but at a cost ($100 per hour, or $1,500+ for a custom configuration)

Cons

  • Expensive — even moderately busy businesses will need the highest tier for $170/month, or a more expensive enterprise-level option
  • Customer waiver options only in the highest tier plan
  • Developer API access limited to enterprise-level plans, limiting customization options
  • Most of the premium features are not applicable to ER businesses
  • Not designed with the needs of ER owns specifically in mind

If you are looking for more than just a booking platform, especially if you’re just getting started, then Wix, Squarespace, or another no-code commerce platform might be better suited to your needs. But for owners with existing businesses, these platforms offer booking support only as an add-on, rather than a core value proposition.

Chances are you’ve heard of Wix and Squarespace, or seen one of their ever-present ads touting their ability to transform all of us into instantly successful entrepreneurs (spoiler alert, it’s not that simple). These companies are leaders in the no-code website builder category, and really excel at helping people quickly and easily launch websites, blogs, and other internet ventures. Both offer their own booking software tools as part of their suite of features, but this is a small aspect of their respective businesses, and the attention paid to their booking products is scaled appropriately. If you’re seeking an all-in-one solution, Wix or Squarespace are an option, but due to the limited nature of their booking services we would only recommend using them as a website builder, and suggest embedding one of the options above.

Pros

Cons

  • Booking is a minor area of focus for both companies
  • Lack of personal attention and support, forces users to solve issues themselves or pay a professional for assistance
  • Most of the premium features are not applicable to ER businesses
  • Not designed with the needs of ER owns specifically in mind

Final Thoughts

We hope this breakdown is helpful as you choose the right platform for you and your business.

The good news is that Morty is able to work with escape rooms using any booking platform, even those not listed above. And, we specifically support the ability to display room availability in the Morty app for locations using Resova or Bookeo.

If you are interested in displaying your location’s availability in Morty, you can get started here, or contact our team via email at hi@mortyapp.com.