Journal article Open Access

Escape rooms as tourist attractions: Enhancing visitors' experience through new technologies

Pakhalov, Alexander; Rozhkova, Natalia

Purpose: This paper aims to assess the impact of new technologies on escape room visitors’ experience based on the analysis of online reviews. Over the last five years, real-life escape rooms have become popular tourist attractions in many European cities. Growing competition stimulates the escape room providers to search for new experience design strategies. One of the new strategies assumes the active use of new technologies, including special effects and virtual reality technologies opting.

Methods: The present study is based on the evidence from Claustrophobia, one of the leading European technologically advanced escape room providers. The empirical part of the study includes a semi-structured interview with the company’s co-founder and an analysis of 746 visitors’ reviews posted on TripAdvisor.

Results: The results show that technologically sophisticated escape rooms create a more authentic tourist experience with a deeper immersion in the escape room theme. At the same time, technical failures and bugs can reduce visitors’ satisfaction.

Implications: These results suggest that high-tech escape rooms could become more attractive tourist attractions only if their owners can invest substantial funds in maintaining the technical level and staff training. High-tech escape room providers need to maintain high expenditures for technical support and staff training in order to build a sustainable positive visitors’ experience.

SUBMITTED: AUG. 2019, REVISION SUBMITTED: NOV. 2019, ACCEPTED: JAN. 2020, REFEREED ANONYMOUSLY, PUBLISHED ONLINE: 30 MAY 2020
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