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March 21, 2022

The Haunted Attraction Association’s 2022 State of the Industry Presentation

The Haunted Attraction Association’s 2022 State of the Industry Presentation

This is the full Haunted Attraction Association’s 2022 State of the Industry Presentation recorded live on Saturday from Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show.


This is the full Haunted Attraction Association’s 2022 State of the Industry Presentation recorded live on Saturday from Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show. The presentation begins with board member introductions and then proceeds through the presentation agenda. View the presentation slides here. We will air the Q&A session on Wednesday, so stay tuned for that. 

Additional Resources

 

Transcript

Spencer Terry:

My name's Spencer Terry, I'm the general manager and equity owner for Fear Factory Haunted Houser in Salt Lake City, Utah, I'm also your President. So really quick, we're going to do introductions.

Allen Hopps:

I am Allen Hopps and I work at Dark Hour Haunted House in Plano, Texas. I guess my unique skill is I want to help you make stuff, like I do a lot of that. I make a lot of things, and I take a lot of consultatory stuff as far as I'm happy to field any question ever.

Terri Bernstein:

Thanks. I'm not as loud. I'm Terri Bernstein from the USS Nightmare in Newport, Kentucky, which is right across the river from Downtown Cincinnati. This will be our 30th season this year, and I think my unique quality is that I have sat on many boards in the past, and in the present, and I think this board is headed in the right direction of moving this Association in the right direction of where we need to go.

Eddie Mclaurin:

I'm Eddie Mclaurin, Woods of Terror, 31 years, and I bring a little bit of originality.

Michael Edwards:

Michael Edwards with Terror in the Corn in Erie, Colorado. We're celebrating our 21st, and unique skill, amazing skills of communication... which means I talk a lot, and talk about haunt stuff a lot, and I will talk to you about anything haunt, and I have a crazy imagination, and I'll help you with your imagination! And that's pretty much it. Thank you.

Todd Fedyshyn:

I am Todd Fedyshyn from Scranton Pennsylvania, Reaper's Revenge. The unique skill I bring to the board, this is my sixth year, and the reason I was brought on the board originally from John Eslich was I worked with accessibility for people with disabilities, and I created a haunt that was fully accessible. So that's what I did.

Ashley Long:

I'm Ashley Long from Fright Nights, West Virginia. I've been haunting for 13 years and I am the creative director at The Resort at Glade Springs and could be the first to bring haunted houses, escape rooms, and Christmas attractions, the way we do it, to the hospitality resort industry.

Billy Groeneveld:

I'm Billy from Enigma Haunt in Florida. My wife and I have been doing it for 10 years. I think when John, Todd and I came on at the same time, so this is my sixth year as well too, but I think what we are trying to do is branch out a little bit to more demographic. I'm in south Florida, which is a little bit different of an area to try and expand the Haunted Attraction Association across the United States. I don't know if that's special, I just live there.

Allen Hopps:

You do great.

Todd Fedyshyn:

I still think it's special.

Billy Groeneveld:

I can turn invisible though, too.

Todd Fedyshyn:

I would've led in with that. Yeah.

Brett Molitor:

Brett Molitor, Hysterium Haunted Asylum, and before that it was Haunted Hotel 13th Floor in Huntington, Indiana. Started as a JayCee haunted house, until two years ago it was the longest running haunted house in the world, until we got kicked out by the new building owner who stripped the building and put it up for sale. Gee, thanks buddy. So Hysterium is now running with some escape rooms. 1986 is when I started with the JayCees, and by 2004 the Haunted Hotel had become mine, because the JayCees folded. My unique ability is probably details and organization. I was the auction manager here this year ,and we had a record crowd. As well as I've been the CHAOS trainer for the last five years. How many CHAOS people are in here for this year? Raise your hands. Nice. Awesome. Right. Complete your certificate. I've ordered pins for everybody that completes this year, and then I asked the board for approval. So they gave it to me.

Alex Rodriguez:

Hello, I'm Alex. I operate Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds at West Palm Beach. I've been haunting for about, this is our actually 20th year.

Spencer Terry:

As a board, one of the things that's been happening is, how we've really been working to make everything better across the board. There's been a lot of ways that's happened, it's been really cool to see. And so as we pushed forward, some of the things to think about are where we were and where we're going. So, one of the things that we said when we rolled out our three year strategic plan last year was, we are holding ourselves accountable. That we want to be able to show the numbers, we wanna be able to say what we're doing and how we're doing it. You can see these are the numbers.

Spencer Terry:

This was the industrywide survey that we pulled last year from members, non-members, industry folks, vendors, all of them. The blue numbers was from 2021. The question was, "overall, how did you rate HAA on how we're supporting the industry right now?" The numbers were not so great. They were good, but they could have been better. We agreed as an HAA board, and that's where we really decided to step up and figure out new ways to do that. We just finished the same question probably about a month ago. Obviously, the numbers look much better. This is what we were hoping for. Hopefully you all are feeling the same way. That's how membership should work, and we're going to continue on that trajectory, because this is the goal, to keep making this higher.

Spencer Terry:

Same thing, the other measurable goal that we talked about was, "overall how pleased are regarding what you get as an HAA member?" One of the things that we consistently heard was that you get resources, you get some things, but you want more. And so that's where vice president Cody Bailey stepped in to be able to build this massive resource guidance, literally thousands of pages now, about things that you can do, you can get in there, you can search it, you can do anything from ADA to Homeland Security Guidance, you name it , there's literally so many documents there. So, we've really tried to do some other things. And we'll talk about other ways that membership is increasing as well. So again, same thing, 2021 numbers compared to 2022, we're looking good. We're on the right track. We're really proud. We're glad that you're happy, and this is helping us really drive some initiatives as we look at the future as well.

Spencer Terry:

We do have three folks that are rotating off of our board, their terms are up. Just so y'all know terms for the bylaws is that you can stay on for up to six years, and then you do have to rotate off of the board for a year, and then you can be reelected as part of the election process again should the membership choose. But we do have five new folks that are coming on the board, as we've been working with them and helping kind of connect all those dots, onboarding them, and making sure that they are ready to go full speed ahead. So, really quick, I know some of them aren't in the room, but raise your hands really quick if you're a new board member, I know Ashley's up here right now, raise your hands. So, we've got a few in the back as well. So, as we get ready, those new folks are coming onboard. And again, one of the things that we do for our industry is we have a skill assessment so each of our members know what their specialty is like. I think Terry, you're the only one that's runs a boat, like a vessel. That's something we have, some haunted houses run on a boat. Most of us are like, "I don't even..." And we don't know anything. So we try and have those skill sets there, so we really are trying to diversify all of that.

Spencer Terry:

We also did a really big rollout, hence why thanks again, Brett and Krista for co-chairing the auction, for those of you that were in the auction last night, thank you. That big fundraiser helps to raise a lot of money for everything that we're doing. Not only for the national PR campaign, we do a lot of local media connections. Now, all of our Top Haunts Programs not only get national media connections, but we also message and work directly with their local media as well and we run stories to be able to help them continue that. We're also looking at how we're diversifying all of our awards so that it's small, medium and large attractions, and vendors, that are going to start getting those. We're really excited to get to roll that out.

Spencer Terry:

So this is one of the things that we did last year, you may recognize it. This is part of the reason why we're able to get so many more vendors to donate to the auction this year and pass that savings onto our members, while all so fundraising for all the programs that we do, is because we really rolled out how we better take care of our vendors. The same reason that we're taking better care of our members, we want to do that for the vendors as well.

Spencer Terry:

So, let's talk really quick about who we are and what we're doing. So these are the part of our mission statement, three items, Promote, Protect, Educate. We covered this last year, there was a lot of content that we covered. We are not going to cover all of that tonight. This will be published, the entire PowerPoint will be published, so you're more than welcome to look through it, read through it; check my math please. But, it's kind of hard to see, these were the same slides that we put up last year. The colors are a little bit tricky, but you've got year number one, year number two was in blue, and year number three was in purple. This was part of our strategic plan and how we rolled out the next three years. We had a lot of things that we had to do in year one. We knew that was a lot to be able to move that boat in a new direction, we pushed through all of it. This is part of our report card, we're really happy to announce that, of all the things we said we were going to do, we not only accomplished every one of them, but we're also already ahead of what we had planned out for 2022. We have a couple of our blue items that are already done.

Spencer Terry:

So we're really excited to see how that's happening. So, everything from the marketing connections, we saved members a lot of money, part of the Treasurer's Report. I just realized we skipped over the Treasurer's Report, I'll come back to it. The part of the Treasurer's Report that we're going to cover, we saved a lot of money. We've had a PR campaign, a national PR campaign that historically has worked really well, cost a lot of money, 20 grand. When we it back to them and said, "show us the numbers. We want to see how good this is working for us." They couldn't give us the numbers. So we told them to take a hike. So, we now have a new group that's doing it at a much cheaper rate. We're still able to get the same bandwidth, we're able to get the same outreach. We're really happy with what they did last year, and they're able to do it for about 40% less. So, now we're able to take that, use that for capital, grow the industry, do more memberships, push more media, connect a whole bunch of things. So, we're excited to see how we can make some of those changes that, if it worked, then does it work now? And if it doesn't, how do we fix it and make something new happen?

Spencer Terry:

So, under the Promote, all that green is everything that we were able to take care of. Same thing for Protect, this is everything from our CHAOS classes, to make sure that we not only have them available here, we had, Brett, do you remember? We had a record breaking numbers, almost a hundred people in CHAOS?

Brett Molitor:

96.

Spencer Terry:

96 people. So again, the idea is that we need to be able to show the industry that safety is important because as we all know, what's going to happen to one of us, it's going to affect all of us. We know that's the math, it's going to happen. So, however we can best train people and get them to understand safety is a proactive measure, that benefits all of us, whether you're a member or not. So under Protect, we have all of those. We have all of our membership resource libraries to make sure that people have resources, that they're able to reduce liability and risk, make sure that they're doing what they can with the protection space.

Spencer Terry:

Strength in numbers. Obviously we want to be able to bring in more members. Board diversification, we talked a of that. We did add two advisory committees, we had a few members last year that did have a couple of issues that they reached out to the legal advisory committee--that is a free, probably about a $500 value, but it's a free 15 minute consult every year, we've got five lawyers on the team. They range everything from family law to corporate law to, it's the whole gamut. So, we try and make sure that we, again, have diversification in our law team so that they can answer the question and/or they can get you the answer that you need. Same thing on the advisory committee for marketing, we have that.

Spencer Terry:

Then we are working on a home haunt advisory board. A lot of times people say, "well, the HAA is just made up of a bunch of big dogs." Not out the case, it's shifting very quickly. We're also really looking at how do we bring in home haunters? Because the better we can bring in home haunters that move from home to pro that's going to increase the ocean waters as boats continue to rise, and we want to make sure that we're helping them and doing it the right way so that they're profitable, and there's an industry standard about what that will look like. So, we will be asking afterwards, at the end, if any of you are interested in joining those advisory committees, there will be a QR code that you can scan and give us your information. We'll follow up with you.

Spencer Terry:

Last but not least, Educate, same thing. So how do we better educate people? Through trainings, through seminars, through this, a few ways that we can do that. A few of our board members that are here hosted online, we did two online mixers and then we did six online trainings, total that was 12 different ways of how we reached out to members, either mixers, networking, actual education, ways that we're bettering our industry in general. So, those are the three ways of how we're being able to do what we said we were going to do for at least 2021.

Spencer Terry:

As we looked at 2022 and 2023, there's a couple of things that are coming up. These are going to be hard to read. Hopefully you can read them, but number one, we're obviously increase member ROI. The more we can do things for you, the more happy you're going to be, the stronger we are as an industry. We're going to maintain all of our updates. We'll make sure that we're constantly giving out data as we are right now. More resources, more networking, you're going to see a slide in just a second about how we've been partnering with vendors and businesses to be able to get better opportunity. We're also working with some insurance agencies to make sure that we have a collective bargaining and buying process to where we can reduce our rates because we're doing it together--at the end of the day, we're all stronger together if we can do this together. So, we've got our home haunt advisory board that's coming, and then we are working on a vendor advisory board.

Spencer Terry:

The members only event. So, we'll be doing some online mixers as well as we did last year. We hosted a small informal one as well here, a couple of those, and we'll try doing more of them. We'll be evaluating the HAA Event. So one of the things that we've been talking with Jen and Rich at Transworld is bringing back this big event that used to be an HAA event, members got in for free, pretty big party. If you've been around for more than 7, 8, 9, 10 years, you'll remember there was a lot of fun things and how members were able to get in for free, and so we're trying to bring some of those back. That'll be really fun. We've already got three sponsors on board, ready to rock and roll, and I think that'll be a really fun opportunity. For those of you that are going to be at Oscares in just a second, that party has already elevated as well. There's a lot of fun that's going to happen for that, and next year the goal is to just really blow that completely out of the water.

Spencer Terry:

Informal personal greetings, obviously the goal is to network. One of the strongest things for members is they say their network is why they're a member to be able to connect to people, that's why we have a Facebook group now. That Facebook group allows people to connect, reach out to the board. I mean, there's a number of times where someone will post a question and one of us as board members, if we know that answer, or we know the person who knows that answer, we'll chime in and get them that information. That's part of what this was about, is how do we quickly get information to people?

Spencer Terry:

We mentioned earlier that we're looking at a feasibility study for our Top Haunts Program. So right now the Top Haunts Program, Top Haunts of the Association, it's a national publication that goes out USA Today, picks up on it, lot of national media, but we also recognize that the industry is not just made up of these big conglomerate haunted houses, but that there's some really great small and big ones as well. So, we're pushing a feasibility study to look at how can we best evaluate what those metrics are going to be, because there's certain metrics for the bigger attractions; CHAOS certification, they gotta have 10,000 or more attendees, there's about seven or eight qualifications to it. But we're looking at how we can do that for small middle and large attractions as well so that we essentially will have a tiered, um, top ponds program. That'll be nationally rolled out.

Spencer Terry:

Obviously, as we talked about Oscares is going to be tiered as well. So, right now, we have awards specifically for vendors, our board of directors, president's award, lifetime achievement award. But we really wanted to broaden that and make a small, medium and large attraction award and a small, medium and large vendor award as well. Do you guys see how many new vendors there are that's here? It's incredible. So the industry is growing at a rapid, rapid rate. How many of you, by raise of hands, had more than a 20% increase in sales last year? Quite a bit. How many of you had more than 10% increase? In the other room that I asked that question, it was about 90% of the room, and the room was just full. So, we're seeing this increase that's happening at really, really big rates. Part of it is because of where we are as an economy, part of it is because people have been out and they want to go do something fun, and they know that they're going to come to an attraction.

Spencer Terry:

Plans for 2022 for CHAOS, we are going to add one more CHAOS certification for those of you that'll be at Midwest Haunters Convention. So there will be another opportunity for you to get a CHAOS credit there. We have been working on a four hour recertification program, similar to national publications and certification programs throughout the nation. You have to do a continuing education credit in order for it to be active, the same thing is going to happen to us for CHAOS. So we'll be offering a four hour recertification process. So, for those that have their certification expiring after three years, we'll publish when that's going to be, it'll be online. So you'll be able to take that credit class, get your renewal.

Spencer Terry:

The evaluate, the accountability measures of how we can really just uphold the standards. So, the idea is that we're going to be working with a few different components of the industry to look at how we can have general operating guidance. That's going to be on safety, it'll be on operations, but it's ways that we can really raise the ocean level, and raise all of our boats, so that we're all kind of operating at least on some consistency. The idea behind that is, obviously, the better that all of our shows are, the more money we're going to make, because people are coming back. So we're trying to offer some guidance there. That was one of the biggest requests in our membership survey from last year.

Spencer Terry:

Then as we get ready for 2023, we're going to be rolling out some training classes on safety. This is going to be something that you'll be able to use in your attraction specifically. It'll either be online, we may actually figure out how to do this road trip style so that we can do a regionally. You can send your staff, we're going to have a bunch of different volunteers that are going to be training. Obviously Allen Hall doesn't even know about this, but he'll be on that road trip. Thank you, sir. Because we want to be able to share the knowledge that we have as trainers and the best in the industry, and we recognize that that's not always us on the board. There's other people in the industry that are doing a really great job. So we're going to be reaching out to folks that are already teaching in the industry and figuring out how we can work together to build a really cool curricula. So, it's going to include safety classes, weapons use classes, emergencies, health and hygiene, there's a sexual harassment class. For those of you that haven't heard, we already rolled out the online sexual harassment training industry wide for free, it's an hour and a half video, you can use that as you need to. He's a lawyer, he's a police officer, he's a sexual harassment trainer, and he did that for free for us as we make sure that we can do that for the industry.

Spencer Terry:

So, there's a lot of things that we're trying to offer just to make sure that we're able to do things more consistently. There will be a feasibility study for the certified vendor program as well. This is something that members have asked for because a lot of people show up Transworld and they don't know who the vendors are. They don't know who's going to fulfill an order, who's going to produce and actually ship that order on time, and so one of the things that we're trying to figure out is how do we work with our vendors to be able to have some kind of a tiered system, branded badge system. We don't know what that's going to look like, but that's what that feasibility study is for is to figure out how we can better give information to everyone to make better decisions.

Spencer Terry:

Of course, power in numbers. This is where we're going to really leverage our buying power. So we already have really great opportunity. For those of you that haven't met Granite Insurance yet, rarely will you hear me plug a vendor, unless it's important. But, in this case, we'll see if it does it again. The M one chip splits these. So we'll see if it comes back. Maybe not. So, Granite Insurance has worked with very high risk locations throughout the world, and one of the things that they're trying to do is build an industry standard insurance, kind of like a way that you can reduce your bid, reduce your risk, based off of that bid. So, it'll be really cool. I'm excited about it, because I think it's going to not only give an opportunity for as operators to be able to read really lower our insurance costs, but collectively it'll also increase our safety standards at the same time. So we'll see.

Spencer Terry:

One of the things that I think will be important to bring up will be benefits as well. So, typically our benefits have been about anywhere between $4,000 to $6,000 in cost and that's gone up or down, and so this year we've really worked on how we can make that better. So, we're right now anywhere between $6,000 to really $9,000, depending on how much you are using all of the benefits from the HAA. One of the things, from member benefit, is how we've just been able to increase your ROI. So, you'll have more resources from a lot of different areas. Obviously we have our resource guide and how that's handled online, but then there will also be things like, how you can do discounts more, either with vendors specifically. We'll have the Haunted Attraction Network that's going to be doing a lot of vendor coverage, as well as member coverage and different attractions. There'll be a lot of ways of how we're continuing to do not just resources, but also the networking and connecting all of those dots. All of this combined, the idea is essentially, how do we do better things for our membership? And that of course is going to be better for the industry. That's the bottom line of this.

Spencer Terry:

So, as we do that, there's going to be a couple of steps that's coming as we get ready for the year. Number one is going to be for those members that are interested in joining any kind of an advisory committee. That's obviously volunteer, we're all volunteers. This is what we do. We do this because we love the industry. We care about it. At some point in time, somebody helped us along the way and we're trying to pay that back. That was the bottom line when we actually did our own individual board member survey as well, and it's all about how do we give back? So we're continuing to do that. So, there will be an opportunity. You'll have this scan that, we'll put it on social media, and they'll be sent out in our Scream-zine as well, to be able to volunteer for any of those advisory committees that are coming up, as well as if you're interested in becoming a board member, there's an application process for that. There's a pretty big vetting process as well, there's a certain percentage that we get from our member votes and from board member votes, but we're always looking for how we can diversify the skillset as well.

Spencer Terry:

So, that said, let's pause for a second. I'm going to go back to the Treasurer's Reports since this is our annual meeting. So, Madam Treasurer, since I skipped that earlier, do you mind doing the quick Treasurer's Report?

Terri Bernstein:

All right, real quick. We made about $29,000 in the auction last night, which was awesome. We had about $30,000 in our bank count. We have all the expenses for Transworld coming in Were in a very healthy position. So that's it short and sweet.

Spencer Terry:

Pretty easy.

 

That was the end of the State Of The Industry presentation portion. We will air the Q&A session on Wednesday. So stay tuned for that. I wanted to break these two up to keep the episodes more manageable for you.

Spencer Terry Profile Photo

Spencer Terry

General Manager

Spencer Terry is the General Manager of Fear Factory Haunted House in Salt Lake City, Utah and serves as a Haunted Attraction Association board member. He has been a consultant in the retail, human resources, business, hospitality and non-profit fields for over a decade. With several rides, 6 buildings of terror, over 65,000 attendees annually, and a combined cast/staff of nearly 250, he’s proud to call Fear Factory home. Prior to his role there, he spent nearly 20 years in the hospitality, non-profit, residential management, retail and corporate HR worlds, ranging from C-Suite, EVP of Retail Operations, Executive Director positions and more. Spencer founded Gateway of Chaos haunted attraction-a 100% non-profit haunt with 50 volunteers, and has been an avid haunter, and home haunter, since he was seven years old. As a private consultant and keynote speaker (see spencerterry.com) for several of the field’s he has worked in, a former city councilman, volunteer firefighter, and an educator/presenter at over 10 universities and 15 school districts, plus his education in business and human resources, he combines his experience and knowledge in a passionate way that has helped maximize the goals of Fear Factory Haunted House to continue to be a heavily awarded attraction, and one of the best attractions in their industry (recently awarded the Legendary Haunt Tour Award in 2018). Spencer is dedicated to making the haunt industry stronger and more collaborative. When he has time to breathe, he's an avid Utah mountains lover, gardener, family man, life coach, and volunteer.