“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?
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