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Spookers to open in Australia using Kickstarter

Spookers to open in Australia using Kickstarter.

The Watson family, owners of Spookers in Auckland, is turning to crowd funding sources to open their first haunted Australian attraction in Queensland.

Spookers directors, Andy, Beth, and Julia Watson have decided to appeal to the Spookers community of over 41,000 facebook fans along with the thousands who subscribe to their newsletters and twitter, in the hope they will embrace this project to take Spookers to the Aussies. 10% of Spookers facebook fans, and 9% of visitors to the attractions are from Australia, giving a great initial platform. Australia is a huge untapped market for Spookers, with the potential to open in several cities with populations much larger than Auckland.

When asked about why Kickstarter was appealing, Beth Watson noted, "The ability to spread the word quickly online to a lot of people, and keep them updated on the status of the project is invaluable." An added advantage for Spookers is Kickstarter's worldwide reach which enables their project to receive funds from anywhere in the world. As 24% of Spookers NZ visitors are from overseas, this has a significant influence.

In line with guidelines, Spookers has a set number of days to raise all the funds, or the project receives nothing. Spookers Australia has a 30-day fundraising window, from start to finish. If the allotted budget ($200,000) isn't raised then all pledges are cancelled and Spookers Australia will not be funded.

The Spookers team have been running Haunted Attractions since December 2000 with Spookers Auckland opening in the old Kingseat Psychiatric hospital for Halloween 2005, all year round, every single week. Spookers has been part of the Haunted Attraction industry association in USA for 14 years, and Beth Watson has been on the board of the American Industry Association for 9 years. Spookers has diversified by adding several different products to the mix including medical moulage work with the NZ Defence force, and Business Studies programs for years 12 and 13 where students come to Spookers for attractions, a meal and a talk about running the business and employment issues. This program has been developed to comply with the NZ secondary school curriculum.

Spookers New Zealand is a very successful Auckland attraction with the systems in place to be replicated in several different markets. New Zealand has limited potential for further development for Spookers due to the limitations in population, so we are looking towards Australia which has 5-6 cities with a large enough population to support a profitable business. After 2 years of searching for the perfect site to launch Spookers Australia we have found an ideal 1st location area to be in Queensland, around Brisbane.

If Spookers Australia Kickstarter is successfully funded, the Watson’s expect to be able to open Spookers Australia within a year. Several sites in Queensland, near Brisbane have been identified, and the negotiation process to develop these is progressing well. Spookers is fortunate to have the support of Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop, and his specialist technicians will be ready and willing to build the most exceptional sets possible.

The haunted attractions and entertainment are designed for ages ranging from R16 age restricted offerings to family attractions that are suitable for children 8 years and older. Spookers Australia will follow the New Zealand model and initially be open 2 nights a week for the R.16 attractions, always Friday and Saturday nights, plus Halloween, leaving the potential to open more nights a week as demand develops. There are additional nights for special events such as Murder Mysteries, Creepers, and Pitch Black Panic Attack. It will also open Saturday and Sunday, plus every day of the school holidays for the R.8 family attractions.

To learn more about the project, readers can visit the project's pitch page here:


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