Why Is Transworld Haunt Show Charging $50?

Posted 20 Nov 2011 in HAUNT NEWS

“For those of you who do not know me, my name is Jen Braverman. I work 365 days a year on this show. I eat, drink and breathe haunt. I would never want to do anything to hurt this show.”

Have you ever been to the TransWorld Halloween and Attractions Show? If you are a haunter, this is one show you must not miss! The energy that you feel when you walk through the showroom floor doors is kinda like that feeling you get right before you get on a roller coaster. Or like that shot of adrenaline you experience as you creep closer to the entrance of your favorite Haunted Attraction and you know you’re going to get the crap scared out of you.

I attended my first TransWorld 3 years ago and automatically became a fan! Being a scare actor, owner, and home haunter; I didn’t really know what I was in for. 15 foot monsters from the Scare Factory. Innovations from Pale Night Productions. Silicone masks from CFX. Lots of monsters and other haunters sharing stories and scaring each other. I felt like I was home!

Admission has always been free and all you need is an invitation or belong to a haunt business of some type. A buyer, an owner, an actor, etc. If you know someone in the industry you can get in. This year the show will be the same show except for one small detail. There is an admission charge of $50 ($60 at the door).

Jennifer Braverman, the mastermind behind the TransWorld Halloween & Haunt Show, was nice enough to call me on the phone and we discussed the reasoning for the shift in price. She was very nice and considerate as I addressed my concerns. She understands that the change for a $50 price is quite unexpected and she assured me that the only way to keep the event alive was to begin charging an admission fee.

 “This was a very hard decision for TransWorld to make. I spoke to numerous vendors and buyers about this topic. Here is the reality…. Our expenses in St. Louis have gone up. Unions continue to raise their prices. This is an issue across the country, even in these economic times. TransWorld did not want to cut back on the quality of show we produce. We feel we owe it to our buyers and exhibitors to produce the best show we can and give the best show experience!!! We take our jobs very seriously.”

I also discovered that Jennifer’s grandfather started TransWorld Exhibits in the 1950’s and it has been a family venture ever since. Over 50 years now! She is currently the President of TransWorld Exhibits and her father is the CEO. She has been running the Haunt Show for four years now. I get a sense of pride and passion from Jennifer and sincerely believe she has really thought about this decision. I’ve never managed a business like Transworld so how would I know? Except for that ‘gut’ feeling.

“I tried to add additional value by making the opening night party bigger and better. We also added 2 free seminars – one Saturday morning that is an early bird class and one industry expert panel discussion, moderated by Ben Armstrong, which will take place after the show hours on Saturday. I hope everyone appreciates our position. We look forward to seeing you in St. Louis.”

My opinion – I know change sucks and we never want to pay for things, especially when we have gotten them for free for so long. I have been to TransWorld three times. For FREE. TransWorld has been around much longer than that. The trade show floor provides value for vendors, buyers, retailers, and haunters. The classes are educational because the speakers are experienced with many years in their specialties. The experience around and outside of TransWorld provides opportunities for meeting new friends, socializing with your contacts, and discovering new ideas.

I know there are other great shows around the country. Some smaller, some with a whole different atmosphere, and each with its unique art of value. TransWorld seems to be focused around pro-haunters, retailers, and buying large quantities of items. You can buy a few select items but not like other conventions. TransWorld is a trade show not a convention.

Business decisions suck! What should Jennifer do? Raise the prices even more for vendors and advertisers so the show will suffer in quality? Charge everyone $25 and hope she can pay her staff and bills after it all? Make the show smaller so the cost of production would be less?

What Would You Do?

Share your ideas in the comments below or on my facebook fan page here.

 

 

Posted by Brian Foreman

43 Comments

  1. 29 September 14, 7:39pm

    […] Interview With Jen Braverman: Why is Transworld Charging $50? […]

  2. Allan
    06 January 14, 7:43pm

    Are people really complaining at a measly $50??

    • 14 January 14, 10:13am

      Change is always tough. I would pay more. 🙂

  3. 01 October 12, 9:06pm

    if its a massive convention id pay 50.00 for the first time experience then go from there,maybe charge the 50 dollar fee then cut the fee to 35.00 if they spend 100.00 bucks or more,this will allow people to to get the stuff they want and youll get the money back maybe make a little profit everybody wins at the end,try it for one year see if it works.thanks

  4. Ric
    08 July 12, 6:53pm

    Okay, seriously? I guess I don’t understand how this place made money in the first place, unless they had SOOOOO MANY VENDORS or vendors that bought enough space to cover costs. $50 is a lot, but I’m thinking the attendance went down already that’s why the price went from free to 50. Most conventions charge a fee, even if it’s $5. I wish I’d gone for free.

    • 09 July 12, 6:28am

      I thought attendance would have been down in 2012 but it seemed even more packed. Not sure of the numbers but it is still a good place to go for new products. If you want a well-rounded event you might try some of the other ones. I’ll probably still go to TransWorld next year. 🙂

  5. Kevin Irvin
    06 June 12, 7:38pm

    I paid the 50.00 for 8 of my haunters I under stand cost putting on show goes up every year I think transwourld shoud shop for bids in other cities tell stlouis you are leaving if they do not lower cost I think the city will play hope so I am bringing 16 actors from my show 2013 offer group rate may be

  6. 25 January 12, 5:32pm

    Thanks for the input Kris.I have the same problem my wife likes to go also!!I may be sitting this one out too!!$25.00 wouldn’t of been bad but $50.00 is outrages!!!

  7. Kris
    24 January 12, 1:27pm

    I have been attending the Haunt Show for years, and always spend a ton. The problem here is that it isn’t just 50.00, but it’s 50.00 per person in your group. My wife usually tags along for the fun of the trip, and doesn’t attend any meetings or trainings, but this year it would cost me another 50 just to have her walk on the floor one day. I hate to say it, but I will also be sitting out this year, just for the principle of it, and contacting vendors directly to order.

  8. Spookyone
    17 January 12, 3:36pm

    This is a slippery slope, soon we will be charged to enter Wal-mart.

  9. andrew
    05 January 12, 9:43pm

    Having to pay always hurts, but we do receive a dinner on opening night. thats always nice. I hope this does not hurt this show. We own a commercial haunt and consider transworld abusiness vacation,we stay for all 4 days , just like we do at IAAPA witch I highly reccomend.

    • 06 January 12, 11:20pm

      Booking my hotel this weekend. What hotel do you stay at? I’ve stayed at the Hilton and Holiday Inn Express…

  10. Capone
    03 January 12, 9:11pm

    I have attended the show every year since 2000. I like the show when it was at the stepenson convention center. It was a dumb mistake to send it to Vegas but I followed it. It was a moronic move to split the shows, then to move both shows to St. Louis. Now just go ahead and start pulling the dirt on top of you by charging $50.00 a person! I own a small internet business, I go there to buy things to sell. I am also a home haunter. I have been known to drop $1000-$3000 dollars per show I have went to. I paid a fortune for food and soda. Well, I will not be going this year. I am NOT paying $50.00 to come to a show to buy stuff. I will contact the vendors who I deal with directly and get the show specials. Whomever has been in charge of the changes the last several years is an IDIOT. You need to get back to the basics. Put the show back in Chicago where it belongs. Bring back some of the old vendors like Paper Magic and real so forth. Lately there have been ‘WHOLESALERS’ there. That is not the kind of vendors I am going to pay $50 dollars to go see. You have nearly DESTROYED the whole purpose of the show. Until you get your act together, I have a feeling you will be losing a lot of small business and haunters. Enjoy the empty aisles and no sales. In the immortal words of Walter, ‘Way to go Dumb a**’.

    • 03 January 12, 10:03pm

      Great insights and I am liking the feedback you guys are bringing!! How about we start our own tradeshow? Bring in the vendors we want to see, the speakers we appoint to listen to, and we all get free samples of Monster Guts and Scare Factory props!! 🙂

  11. casketvamp
    03 January 12, 1:27pm

    Im not taking anyones side but if its an event you really want to attend you can surely save up the money to get there! Have an extra 20.00 a week taken out for fed taxes at your day job. Thatd give you some extra money to attend the show and buy some more props with:) Trust me, I have a very reg job and this has allowed me to have a budget for my Halloween display for the last 21 years.

  12. casketvamp
    03 January 12, 1:25pm

    Im not taking anyones side but if its an event you really want to attend you can surely save up the money to get there! Have an extra 20.00 a week taken out for fed taxes at your day job. Thatd give you some extra money to attend the show and buy some more props with:) Trust me, I have a very reg job and this was way way to allow me to have a budget for my Halloween display for the last 21 years.

  13. 02 January 12, 12:18pm

    Sounds like your separating the big haunters from the small haunters casketvamp.Rich against the poor!! I hope you go bust!!

  14. casketvamp
    01 January 12, 12:41pm

    Ive attended this show since 1995. I am a home Hanuter and have no problem with $50 fee for the show. If you cant afford $50.00 then you have no business being at this show. This fee will certainly keep the “Lookie LooS” away and allow vendors more time with customers who wil buy their product.

  15. Mark
    21 December 11, 1:40pm

    Thank you Brian for your post and your recent question regarding fixing the problem. It is nice for someone, such as yourself to step up and ask the haunt community for their opinion instead of giving it to us. I am one of many members of the Chicago Haunt Builders who are generally concerned about the price hike. Some members spend lots of money coming to Trannsworld and buying goods from companies like Scare Factory, Bloody Marry, or EFX-tek. We have hearse clubs who drive their convoys straight to St. Louis, MO just to buy from Transworld. Not to mention myself who is just your simple home haunter who takes the train from Chicago to St. Louis, just to get a good deal. (I just got my tickets the other day) And that’s what we are, simple folks just trying to advance our business thru Transworld Hauntshow or adding animation to our haunt, cheap and safely. Some of us are just skating by especially with the economy the way it has been. Many of the members have told me that they are not going with the price hike this year. With the hearse club I mentioned, if they were bringing all their members to check out all the goods from Transworld, they would be going from paying zero to 800-900 dollars just to walk into the door. They have had to request some to stay home just to save on initial fee. Myself, if I count on paying hotel, train, and then paying to get in, I could have just bought a nice prop from Scare Factory without having to goto Transworld. So, hopefully you can see the impact the fee has caused, and that is only within our haunt club. But I have tried to support Transworld by buying passes to the 2012 haunt show. But I am not sure about next year. The 50 dollar fee has really put a knot in my budget. Others have thought the price hike was because of the popularity of the new hit show Monster Makers. I would have thought otherwise, but you never know.

    To answer your question Brain, it is really hard to suggest something to fix the issue. Something like this has and always been a numbers game, so it hard to comment on something without seeing the books first. People have to be paid for their services, along with everything else. But I think if someone takes the time to find corners to cut, I bet there is a way not to pass that along to the customer. Which I certainly agree would be beneficial to everyone, including Transworld. You know Brain I have heard that Transworld decided to move from Chicago to Vegas and then St. Louis to save money so they wouldn’t have to charge the customers because these places were charging too much. Now they are in St. Louis and they are forced to start charging customers when all this other time have not. It would be reasonable to say that maybe it should have dawned on someone that it was yet again time to check out another location. I can only assume that maybe they gave up and decide just to pass those fees to customers. You know Brain, if Transworld moved their location to Waverly Hills Sanitarium to save money, I know I would be there with bells and whistle to support them. I think it would take a little effort to find a place or some cost cutting scheme to promote Transworld so as not to pass the buck to customers. There just has to be a little more digging on ways to cut cost and I think everyone would be happy.

    • 01 January 12, 11:11pm

      Just want to say thanks for your detailed comment and great insight you shared!

  16. 15 December 11, 4:26pm

    As Halloween Costume vendor, I started with TW the year it moved to Vegas. Saw some good numbers, so re-upped for the 2nd year in Vegas. Big mistake! When the Houston show broke off, this killed TW attendance. No one came. the isles were deserted. I skipped the following year (back to chicago) but didnt hear good things about that one. I decided to give TW once more chance, and I exhibited at last years show (2011) in St. Louis. Needless to say, I wont be back. This show is good for haunters, not good for Halloween costumers. The “costume” side of the show was mostly empty, and the Haunt side packed…so we can see who is coming to this show. This show is bad, bad, bad for Halloween Costume/Novelty folks, and my company lost thousands participating last year. I spoke with others at the show, and we all agreed we wouldnt exhibit again. I even asked for my money back…of course TW didnt comply. They’ll never see another dime from me. This leads me to believe this is why there is NOW an admission charge. No exhibitors, means lots of empty space, which means attendees now need to pay the cost of renting the convention center and cover TW’s costs. Where as before vendors/exhibitors covered…so many have bailed…someone has to eat the cost. I dont know this 100%, but ‘d be willing to bet. Plus… (no offense to locals) but St. Louis sucks…talk about a depressed city. Unless you’re a haunter, and a big one…I’d say skip this show…its a shell of what it used to be.

    • 15 December 11, 6:00pm

      It is nice to hear stories from the vendor side of Transworld. I have heard many mixed messages so far about attendance and prices. How do you think this model can be fixed and what can we do to have a better show for ALL Halloween and Haunt fans?

  17. 30 November 11, 7:08am

    Not sure what the attendance was last year but here is the facebook page for the show. This will be a question we can ask Jennifer. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Halloween-Attractions-Show-featuring-The-Haunt-Show/167128213255

  18. chris
    29 November 11, 10:31pm

    Seek an alternative venue…..

  19. Egor
    28 November 11, 2:09pm

    Does anyone know what the actual attendance was for the 2011 show? I remember last year TransWorld having “Connect with over 7,000 potential buyers” (correct me if I’m wrong please), which I thought was really high. I was just reading through their 2012 sales brochure where it states that “attendance was up 66% for the 2011 show”. Is that true? Cause it felt more like around 3,000 maybe? What’s the truth?

    http://www.haashow.com/images/stories/Yiannas_PDFs/HAA_Sell_Sheet.pdf

    I’m trying to see if a refund on my booth is available, since this $50 addmission fee came out after I put my money down…???

  20. Tom
    26 November 11, 3:42am

    I never have been been to TW, but I absolutely love the videos I have seen. $50 bucks is way too much. I can see 10-12 dollar range. My feeling is the vendors should take the burden of the costs. After all, they are the ones that will make money when they sell something for 5 to 10 thousand dollars. It sounds to me the TW needs some competition to lower is overall profit.

  21. Egor
    25 November 11, 12:03pm

    Yikes! I’ve been attending the show for over 10 years, except when it moved to Vegas, and part of the draw was the FREE admission for biz owners. I know this will affect attendance in a negative way. I am now a vendor and this news makes me sick. Here we are planning for this event that is a big part of most, if not every vendors sales for the year and here comes a wrench into the works. We all put an enormous amount of time, money and energy into this show to achieve success and we all want it to stay the BEST haunt show.

    I was a vendor at Archon, a Sci-Fi/fantasy convention near St. Louis, MO, until they combined with some other con and raised the admission prices. That year the show’s size didn’t change much, but attendance dropped by nearly half. That was my last year with that con. That cost every vendor a lot of money and hurt the con.

    Jen, you need to be doing everything possible to INCREASE ATTENDANCE, not hurt it. Not sure what you do now, but…How about asking all vendors to help promote the show? Send invites to more businesses and haunters / invite the home haunters / open to the public and charge them?…I don’t know…just brainstorming..who else has ideas? Jen, ask us for ideas.

  22. Nate Dennison
    25 November 11, 2:22am

    Jen is a great person as many of you know. She works closely with the haunter community, calling many of us friends. This is a business, it needs the funds to keep going. Shell out the money for an experience you will not get elsewhere.

  23. 24 November 11, 10:32pm

    The show was bigger last year!!More vendors=more money!!!!!!!!!!!!!duh!!!

  24. MidEvil
    23 November 11, 9:32pm

    This maneuver kinda smells like TW is up to its old tricks. They’ve wanted to “weed out” the enthusiasts, home haunters, charity haunters and other small fry for some time, looks like they’ve finally found the way to do just that.

  25. 23 November 11, 5:01pm

    Looks like many opinions from like-minded people!! I will forward these comments to Jennifer. Thank you guys for responding and leaving a piece of your mind on my site. So no chance on getting together for Transworld huh?

  26. JamminIL
    23 November 11, 12:05pm

    I’m sorry to hear that!! I’ve been in expos/conventions and they are very expensive for the smaller exhibitor, especially when you have to use union labor to deliver your set (another rant another day! lol!) so it’s very sad to hear they are going to be charging that much for admission. I can certainly understand some sort of fee – say $25? but $50 seems pretty prohibitive to the smaller haunter? Is this their way of weeding out the wannabes, smaller haunters, or just people to ‘borrow’ the ideas from the exhibitors? It is a sign of the times, sad as it is. I’m predicting that after this show, the price will either drop, venue will be changed, or some other accomodations will be made to separate the high end $$ buyers from the smaller haunter. Good Luck to them, I hope this will be resolved to this great convention can continue.

  27. 23 November 11, 11:51am

    This really sucks!!I’ve been going since it came to St.Louis.I usally drop a couple hundred bucks.If I got to pay $50.00 at the door I’ll be over paying for the products!!!I’m a yard haunt so money is tight!!Guess I’ll sit this one out Jen Braverman!!!
    3 minutes ago · Like

  28. Karen
    23 November 11, 11:46am

    While we all can appreciate the increase costs to put on this show, the burden of paying for it should not be put on the attendees. Transword continues to spend a ton of money promoting the show, made the choice to sign a multi year contract to hold the show in St. Louis and not shop around for a better deal somewhere else. Why should we pay for their choices. The reality is that they could seek more sponsorships, cut their costs, and make better choices that don’t cost people money. I would much rather have attendees spending the $50 they are being charged on the show floor with the vendors, which is the point of the whole show.

  29. HauntChick
    23 November 11, 11:23am

    I’m not entirely sold on the “we have to cover costs”. It’s the same thing when the Darkness opens in March for haunters. They promise an educational experience like never before, but don’t necessarily deliver.

    I do think there should be a cover charge, but not of $50 a head. That’s gonna be a huge chunk of change in someones pocket. Haunters don’t have that kind of money. Fact. And there is NO way costs rose that much in one year that the only way to cover costs is by charging $50 per person.

    I’d appreciate honesty. “This is a business. We want money like every other business. Sucks for you guys, but I’m in this for the cash, not to help haunters.”

    Disappointed at unnecessary hike in cost.

  30. Jim
    23 November 11, 11:12am

    This WILL change the whole show!!! As an exhibitor I will have to rethink this show, as I think the attendance will drop dramatically, and the cost of even doing a booth there doesn’t pay for itself . Most people in the haunt industry are NOT gonna pay to come to a show to buy things. C’mon this is not IAAPA!!!

  31. Robert
    23 November 11, 10:40am

    While I understand the reasoning for the charge, for me it will be the “last straw”. St. Louis is too far away to be convenient for me. I would gladly pay the admission fee if the show were held in Chicago again.

    The Haunted Attractions show attracts more of the “enthusiast” crowd of home haunters, yard haunters, charity haunters, and others who would rather spend what little money they have on props than admission.

  32. 23 November 11, 9:05am

    Every business model has a bottom line metric based on profitability and sustainability. In layman’s terms this would be “follow the money”. We may never know the data points behind this decision however, there are some facts that give TW a perceived leverage here and some tentative confidence to charge admission. first, they are now the only wh9lesale game in town. Practically, the split off show in Houston was untimely and unsuccessful due to the economy (and other reasons) while TW enjoyed the continuity of staying power. That translated into their market share stability. (no competitive dilution means freedom to impose new guidelines like fees)
    Second, TW is well advised by industry leaders who have assisted to create a consensus of this entry fee trial balloon. While they have no crystal ball, and cannot predict the backlash, or not, of this fee decision, one thing they do have is fearless determination to explore the landscape of change and constantly evolve to create a superior show. That said, TW will be among the very few trade shows that attempt to charge admission. Most shows charge the production and the business model margin against the vendors. This is typical and it has the effect of “weeding out” the smaller, less profitable companies and that is sometimes the goal. With TW, many of the show vendors already operate at less than 5% net/net. Imposing fees against them would have the effect of reducing the vendor attendance as this segment is a smaller and more financially vulnerable group. It is probable that TW weighed the negative reception among all constituents of the show, the vendors, the advertisers, the attendees, and simply elected to assess a fee to the largest audience, risking a lesser percentage fallout than if they assessed the vendors. It is a practical decision. TW will doubtless vastly improve their margins, perhaps at the expense of the attendance but consider this as a first year experiment. Appreciate also that TW is progressive, innovative, and really does have the industry’s best interest at their core of creativity. That said, I predict that the 50.00 fee will likely be reduced to 25.00, giving the illusion of cooperative compromise ) In the best case for attendees the “test” of fees may well be removed completely for 2013. Also, as with all monopolistic enterprises, the more the producers press their public, the greater the chance for a competitive show to develop. While the economy does not currently support this concept, it will certainly happen in the future.
    Jeff Nix (MrSkeleton.com) 11/22/11

  33. Chuck
    23 November 11, 7:13am

    I am very disappointed in this, I will no longer attend…..there are other places this event could be held FREE… and I do not see where anyone would wanna spend good money just to get admission to get in to buy something does not make sence.

  34. Chuck
    23 November 11, 7:13am

    I am very disappointed in this, I will no longer attend…..there are other places this event could be held FREE… and I do not see where anyone would wanna spend good money just to get admission to get in to buy something does not make sence.

  35. Mark
    22 November 11, 7:54am

    Thank you very much for you comments. I am planning on putting on a link to my blog to yours.

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