What better way to learn about a co-worker or friend than work together on puzzles for an alien invasion themed escape room? Lauren McSorley thought so too when she launched her business Escape Room Races. After spending ten years in the corporate event industry, creating events that engage employees and bring about a sense of community in the workplace, she saw a niche that had yet been tapped. The idea of taking the escape room trend out of the confines of a room with a larger group in mind.
What is Escape Room Races?
Lauren: We have been in business since January 2017 and have had tons of positive feedback on our concept. We have now hosted multiple events including corporate team building and client entertainment and have events booked all throughout the upcoming Summer months here in Chicago!
Our goal at Escape Room Races is simple: give larger groups the chance to experience an escape room together and to bring in the new element of competing in teams against one another instead of a clock. We combine the themes and puzzles of an escape room with the adrenaline fueled competition through our seriously cool Escape Room Races boxes.
Currently our race theme is “Alien Invasion” and we have an outdoor and portable indoor version of this available. The outdoor version takes place in Grant Park and uses some of the awesome sites Chicago has to offer. We can host groups of 5 – 150 for this 1.5 – 2 hour event (depending on your skills) and customers can book directly through our website here: www.escaperoomraces.com/booknow.
Our portable indoor version has been very popular for conferences, trainings and other large events that take place in hotel ballrooms etc. Its an unexpected and creative way to get attendees excited and break up a day of speaker sessions! Customers interested in this experience can request a proposal here. For this event we can host 15 – 1200 people! We pride ourselves in responding quickly since we know the events industry moves fast!
How did you come up with the idea?
Lauren: After years in the corporate event industry, I’ve seen some pretty lame team building events and demand for something more creative and fun. My husband I love anything competitive and creative. After creating a few amazing races for our friends and turning our own basement into an escape room for a dinner party, I thought, this is something I can sell to clients it just needs to be tailored to the corporate environment.
What make Escape Room Races unique compared to other Escape Room concepts?
Lauren: While escape rooms only allow up to 2-12 people. At Escape Room Races we can host up to 1200. We’re taking people out of the confines of the room, putting them into teams of 3-5 and creating a competitive version of the escape room concept. Whether its our outdoor or portable indoor version, we have much more flexibility than you typical escape room.
How much does it cost?
Lauren: For out outdoor experience the cost is $45 per person. Our portable indoor experience starts at $45 a person.
Would you ever look to expand into other cities?
Lauren: We’ve thrown around the idea of taking the company to New York. I spent quite a bit of time there and built a great contact base that could really get the idea off the ground, plus NYC is a heavy corporate event market that has options for our outdoor and portable indoor experience.
What has been the most challenging aspect of launching ERR?
Lauren: The most challenging thing has been trying to first explain to people what an escape room is and how Escape Room Races differs, especially for those who have never done an escape room.
What has been the most rewarding?
Lauren: The most rewarding part is hearing the positive responses from people who participate in our events. You know people are having a good time when they’re sweaty, laughing and high-fiving one another. It always reminds me I’m in the right spot and doing something I’m passionate about!
How have you spread the word about the company?
Lauren: Honestly, the best way is through word of mouth. When people tell me they were referred by someone who has done the race before and how much they enjoyed their time, it’s the best feeling.
Best advice to give those want to start a business?
Lauren: Believe in yourself and actually take the jump in. Things will not be perfect right away, but if you work hard and smart they will get there.