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Case Study: Time Travel Escapes



Jupiter, Florida

Visit: Time Travel Escapes

One of the things we really like is the fact that it’s an escape room,” Brian Dawson, co-owner of Time Travel Escapes in Jupiter, FL says. “All the VR we see, the shoot ‘em ups, the different types of games, the zombies — we’re an escape room company. We have escape rooms, and vrCAVE fits right in along with our escape rooms.”

JoAnn and Brian launched their escape room business in 2016. Since then, they’ve operated a total of 21 physical escape rooms within their rotation of 5 rooms at a time. JoAnn comes up with the theme, and Brian builds it out. They put a ton of care and dedication into each one to keep people coming back. This even includes a seasonal room that changes several times a year.

But as all escape room owners know, these builds don’t come cheap.

“Escape the Ice Planet took us 4 months to build out, put in a new floor, put panels up around the walls, put ten thousand feet of wire to make all the puzzles work from the control area.”

In this room, players are trapped on an ice planet and need to find an alien ship to make it back home. It features a 90 second simulated spaceship ride at the end, with video and physical motion.

“It’s a great room, we love it, the floor’s incredible because it makes the ship take off. It’s fun, but boy I’ll tell you it’s a cost, it’s a lot of time involved.”


Discovering what vrCAVE does differently

In 2018, the owners attended the Transworld show, looking for VR to augment their business. It was here that they found vrCAVE.

“We actually went to Transworld specifically looking to take on virtual reality escape room games,” JoAnn says. “There are a lot of virtual reality shoot ‘em up games and we don’t want that here, we don’t want it to be an arcade, we want it to be part of our escape rooms.”

“There were four vendors there offering different products. A lot of the games they had you had to be partitioned off from people and we wanted it to be an interactive team building game.”

There are many ways that virtual reality can be incorporated into a business. But Time Travel Escapes focuses on providing high quality escape room experiences. Groups of people come in to challenge a room with each other. They’re expecting to work together to beat the room, interacting with each other and the room, examining the props, engaging with novel mechanisms, and enjoying the theme as an in-depth, extended single experience.

A VR shooter game is suited to short bursts of excitement, perhaps repeated or enjoyed as part of a wider, casual drop-in offering. A VR escape room? That captures the feeling Time Travel was looking for. It was obvious.

“As soon as we saw the product at vrCAVE we were hooked. We knew we wanted to partner with them.”

"They want to feel each other in the same room. And that’s the most important thing."


The VR Escape Room Experience

The guests at Time Travel Escapes get so immersed they forget where they are!

“They can’t believe how realistic it is. A lot of people catch themselves trying to lean on the tables — and they laugh at the beginning when you explain not to do that!”

“They laugh because once they get in the game it’s a totally different experience, it’s real.”

And when it comes to fitting in alongside the physical escape rooms, Time Travel Escapes found it was just the match they were looking for. It lets them double down on offering the escape room experience using just a small 20’ x 20’ footprint. They still build out new physical rooms, but by keeping just that small space aside, they’re always able to offer the full set of vrCAVE games.

As they’ve been running the games since 2018 when vrCAVE had just the first couple of VR escape rooms released, they’ve had a lot of time to observe how groups react to the games, and really absorb what draws people in and what they get out of it.

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Get The True Cooperative Escape Room Feeling

“People like being able to work in the same space as everyone, handing things to each other, feeling the presence of the player next to them rather than across town.”

 “One of the most important things that we find that they like the most is the cooperation, working together,” Brian adds. “They want to feel each other in the same room. And that’s the most important thing. It’s not doing the game, it’s working together to do the game. That’s what they like the most, that’s the fun part.”

VR might look to some like an activity that young people are more interested in. But the truth is, it’s about the activity itself. When you offer something collaborative, something that includes everyone in the group, it becomes something that almost anyone can play! Whether that’s a teenager or a grandparent.

“We have people playing from ages 7 to around 85 and I’m finding more and more people in their 60s and 70 want to try it out which is phenomenal.”

Repeat business is an important point for escape room owners. A guest will typically only want to do an escape room once (though they have noticed a number of people who don’t beat a vrCAVE room will insist on coming back to try again!). When you switch out a physical escape room, that area will be closed for a while, limiting your options as the new room gets built. But with VR, the new game just gets added to your list each year. It’s ready immediately after release.

So, while Time Travel Escapes can only run 5 physical rooms at any one time (and sometimes fewer), they’ve always got the full set of vrCAVE games ready to go. And they find that their guests are so impressed with their first experience, it’s often not their last!

“95% of them come back and play a second and a third and a fourth game once we get people hooked on them.”

Tips For Escape Room Business Owners

Thinking about adding VR to your own escape room business? JoAnn’s got a few words to share on that!

“I’ve actually referred vrCAVE to quite a few people. Anyone I see on social media in the groups I’m in saying, ‘Oh I’ve heard some bad things…’ I say, “That’s because you’re not looking at the right company.’”

“Contact vrCAVE, their support is amazing, their sales staff is amazing, they’re so caring, everyone gets back to you right away. We’re so happy with their products.”

At vrCAVE, we treat you like a partner. We’re invested in your success, and will share technical support, marketing support, and welcome you into a community of 200+ locations. You get access to eight premium VR escape experiences, with a variety of themes from a pirate curse adventure, to powering up a broken space station, to stopping a hijacked train in a steampunk Old West.

“It’s worth it, it’s worth every penny to put into your business and it takes up a very small footprint. And it’s endless, every year they’re coming up with a new theme. So it’s just incredible.”

vrCAVE’s VR escape rooms fit into any 20’ x 20’ space, making it easy to run for any escape room business looking to expand their offering without needing to dedicate too much valuable space. They’re built to be intuitive yet challenging. You don’t need to be a gamer to pick it up and play, but it’s going to appeal to people whether it’s the first escape room experience ever — while offering something incredible and new to the seasoned escape room enthusiast.

“When I have people calling me, I always just say, ‘You don’t even have to look anywhere else. We’ve already done all the running around for you, you can just call them.’”