In depth look at the questionnaire results

Today, we stopped accepting responses to our short, 5 minute questionnaire for escape room owners, trying to get a peak at what they think about importance of different criteria for a great escape room experience, their way of doing thing and their room masters.

We received a bit over a hundred responses all together, but we filtered a few of them out (for being either incomplete, or not acceptable – let’s say if they answered to every question with “5”). We ended up with nicely rounded 100 accepted answers to work with.

Overall, we are quite satisfied with the results, and would like to really, really thank everyone who took part in our questionnaire. You guys are all awesome! We were all hoping for some interesting results, so here’s what we got.

Basic information

In the first part of the questionnaire, we focused on the basic information about escape room owners – to see where they operate, how many escape rooms they own, and how would they rate their business.

Escape room companies location

We asked escape room companies about the location of their escape rooms. Most of the escape rooms owners, that took part in our questionnaire, have escape rooms located in a big city that is not a capital (42) or the capital (35). We also had some responses from small cities (18), 2 responses from a not densely populated area, 1 from a small capital city, 1 from tourist resort and 1 escape room owner, that have one room in a capital and one in a smaller city.

Number of escape rooms

Next, we checked how many escape rooms each company owns. Surprisingly, more than half of the room owners own 1 or 2 escape rooms (63 together). Quite a few companies own either 3 or 4 escape rooms (14 and 13 rooms), and 10 companies own 5 or more rooms.

How is the business going

We also had a peak at the touchy subject of how business is going. We left it at 5 descriptional answers, and got the following results. 26 of the companies rated their business as perfect. Most of the companies rated their business as very good (40). Another 27 companies answered with good, and only 7 companies said their business could be going better. Not a single company chose the worst option of business going bad.

How long are the rooms open?

We had quite a balanced set of experienced escape rooms companies, and the newbies on the field of escape rooms taking part in our questionnaire. 25 of them only opened recently and were opened for less than 6 month, 22 between half a year and a year, 31 between 1 and 2 years, and 21 more than 2 years.

How escape room owners do it!

The second section of the questionnaire, we had a look at how escape room owners do it – how do they plan and create their rooms, and how often do they modify them.

How do you design your escape rooms?

We first wanted to know how escape room owners design their rooms. A large majority of companies said, that they design their own rooms (59), or design at least a part of it on their own, and outsource some parts of it (30). 6 of them are a part of a franchise, 4 of them bought designs for their rooms, and 1 company franchised one and created one on their own.

How often do you make changes to your rooms?

We also asked escape room owners how often they make changes to their rooms. The results show that for most companies, their escape rooms are quite frequently changing and evolving. You can expect that you’d find something different at least every three months in 32 of escape room companies, and in 40 at least every 6 month. 21 escape room companies never change their rooms, 2 of them change it every year and in one of them they change only props and items, but not the puzzles themselves.

The surprising part was that 2 companies totally overhaul their rooms – from thematic, story, to puzzles – one every 6 month, and the other every year. It’s a great solution for companies with limited space and a lot of ideas – it definitely helps inviting returning customers to their rooms.

About room masters

We wanted to know who escape room companies choose to lead you through the rooms – and what are the qualities they value the highest in them.

Who are the room masters?

In 43 cases, the room masters are the escape room owners themselves. The other 2 popular options, both with 24 companies using them, is to hire well prepared people, while some want them to be escape room enthusiasts, and some don’t have that extra requirement. 1 company said that they don’t have any extra requirements for their room masters.

The perfect room master!

We wanted to take a glimpse at what a perfect room master would look like in the eyes of an escape room owners. We asked the room owners to grade the following criteria from 1 to 5, 5 being very important and 1 being not important.

  • Communicative
  • Fluent in English
  • People skills
  • Energetic and enthusiastic
  • Escape room enthusiast
  • Quick at preparing the room

Escape room enthusiast

A big surprise for us – being an escape room enthusiast took the last place among the qualities escape room owners look for in a room master, with only 3,33 average. From our experience, an escape room enthusiast room master can make a great difference in the debriefing part of the escape room experience. Chatting a bit about visited escape rooms at the end of an escape room is one of the frequent topic, and being an escape room enthusiast can help a whole bunch with that.


Quick at preparing the room

Quick at preparing the room, with 3,79 average, is apparently not high on the list for escape room owners – which shows that indeed, most of them, value the customer experience higher than getting as many groups as possible through their rooms in the lowest possible time.


Fluent in english

Trailing behind and barely missing the top three with 4,15 average, there is the fluent English. And my, oh, my, is it important. We’d maybe put it even a place or two higher – we’ve experienced it quite a few times that broken English is followed by uncertainty, low energy and bad communications, introductions and debriefing. English, of course, isn’t as important if you’re mainly targeting local market – but a big part of visitors are usually also tourists – and when it comes to them, fluent English is a great foundation for good communication.


Energetic and enthusiastic

With communication and people skills taken care of, escape room owners value good energy and enthusiasm that room masters can bring. In an unsure group, maybe first-timers, as well as in escape room masters, an energetic room master is very important. Maybe an unconvinced group needs a bit of convincing and a little push in the beginning, and how to do it better than with lots of energy and enthusiasm that the room master can bring.


People skills

In close second with 4.43 average score, the people skills are highly valued for room masters. Once again, not really surprising, as people skills and being communicative often walk with hand in hand. It’s really important that a room master can quickly recognize the kind of people he is working with and react appropriately to that. Interaction between room master and players is of great importance, and people skills take the deserved second place.



With 4.46 average score, the communicative room masters seem to be in high demand, and highest esteem with escape room owners. Not a big surprise there – chatty room master that has a good feeling to how to communicate with players can be the difference between a good and great escape room experience. It also bring a great deal to the introduction of the room and the debriefing after the room.

Our thoughts on the perfect room master

We somewhat agree with the ranking, but would still put it a bit differently. Here’s our choice:

  1. Communicative
  2. Fluent in English
  3. People skills
  4. Energetic and enthusiastic
  5. Escape room enthusiast
  6. Quick at preparing the room

We just can’t agree with being escape room enthusiast taking the last place – it can bring a whole bunch to the conversation quality and topics in the debriefing. Also, fluent English, in our opinion, ranks higher – talking from experience and visiting escape rooms in quite a few European countries, it can really make or break the experience.

We think that the story, visual design and sound and lightening effects can walk really well hand in hand, to form a great immersive experience. Step by step solutions would probably rank higher when dealing with inexperienced groups, and technologically advanced puzzles, as great of an impression as they can make, are not a real necessity – but can still increase the “ohhhh” factor to the stars and above :).

About escape rooms

One last section of our questionnaire had to do with the bread and butter – escape room themselves. We asked escape room owners to rate 7 escape room factors by importance, with 5 being very important and 1 being not important.

  • Story of the room
  • Puzzles
  • Step by step solutions
  • Technologically advanced puzzles
  • Visual design
  • Lightening and sound
  • Introduction and debriefing

Here is how escape room owners would rate these factors:


Technologically advanced puzzles

Last place, according to escape room owners, goes to technologically advanced puzzles. In our experience, they can be a really double edged sword. When done and used properly, it can bring the most amazing jaw dropping puzzles or effects.  However, there are other ways to create awesome puzzles. We’ve seen some amazing wood work or just plain out logic puzzles with the same effect. The more technology used, the higher chance of malfunctioning – and that can be the really annoying thing.


Lightning and sound

Lightning and sound take 6th place with an average rating of 3,61. The proper lightning and sound can still set up a great atmosphere and really help with the immersion and story telling. Great sound effects at the right time can be used as feedback – and so do changes in lightening, and both together can help set up a great escape room.


Step by step solutions

Not far ahead from the lightening and sound, step by step solutions take the fifth place with an average of 3,68. Step by step, well connected solutions can really help the less experienced players to beat the room – and let’s face it, there’s a lot of not-so-much experienced players in an average escape room. However, non-linear progression (if done properly) can not only add more challenge to the room, but can also offer different ways of progressing and not getting stuck on that one nasty little puzzle.


Story of the room

A bit surprisingly, story of the room misses the top 3 places and takes the 4th place with a nice average of 4,0.  Story and the thematic of the room is surely an important factor when choosing which escape rooms to visit – but it seems it’s not one of the top 3 factors that make the escape room experience awesome. We’ve visited quite a couple of really awesome, story driven rooms and it was a really immersive experience.


Introduction and debriefing

On place number 3, we have the introduction and debriefing. It plays a huge role for an escape room experience in our opinion – we wrote about it a while back in our post about top 5 things that make escape room experience awesome – we even put it on the first place. We are glad that the escape room owners also recognize the importance of a well prepared intro, that eases you into the room and the story behind it, as well as a great debriefing to leave an even better impression, and just making your visitors want more.


Visual design

Trailing on second place, and not far in front of the introduction and debriefing with an average of 4,16 we have visual design of the room. Visual design can not only help a whole bunch with the immersion and make people feel like they’re actually in the story/time/place you want them to experience – it can also serve as a method to deliver, hide and connect the puzzles of the room.



With a really, really convincing victory, with an average of 4,59 the first place goes to the king of a good escape room – puzzles. The difference between technologically advanced puzzles firmly on the last place and puzzles themselves with a convincing victory, the results show that escape room owners recognize the other factors and possibilities to make awesome puzzles, outside of the technology.

Our thoughts about escape room factors

We are quite happy with the results we got. We would, however still rank them just a little bit differently. Here’s our choice:

  1. Introduction and debriefing
  2. Puzzles
  3. Story of the room
  4. Visual design
  5. Lightening and sound
  6. Step by step solutions
  7. Technologically advanced puzzles

We think that the story, visual design and sound and lightening effects can walk really well hand in hand, to form a great immersive experience. Step by step solutions would probably rank higher when dealing with inexperienced groups, and technologically advanced puzzles, as great of an impression as they can make, are not a real necessity – but can still increase the “ohhhh” factor to the stars and above :).

Final thoughts

Overall, we are quite satisfied with the results of the questionnaire. I think that we got some interesting results and a glimpse into how escape room companies do their things, what they think about, and how they choose room masters and how they rank escape room factors. Looking back, what we’d do differently, we’d probably change the question type a bit and force the users to actually rank the factors from 1-6 for room masters or 1-7 for escape room factors – it’d probably give us even better data to work with. Even so, the differences that showed are big enough that we could draw some conclusions. Thanks again for everyone that took their time and took part in the questionnaire!

  1. Reply Diana 28th February 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I don’t recall how I addressed the issue of English, but probably ranked it last…because for us here in the US, it’s a given.

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