Private vs Public Booking Escape Rooms

Happy 2018!!! We’ve made some big changes around here and it’s time to share the exciting changes and improvements we’ve made.

First of all, we have a new name! We are now Green Light Escape Room, same rooms, owners, and policies but new signs and color scheme. Green Light escape room wilmingtons best escape room

Best escape room in wilmington north carolina street sign

Our A-Frame featuring our new Time traveling, dancing alien. We like him

Additionally, we have adopted a new booking style, we are now Wilmingtons only private booking escape room company, which may be a new concept to some of our clients so I would like to explain what that means for our guests as well as answer a few commonly asked questions. Let’s do this!

Private booking is standard practice for escape rooms all over the world… except the United States where public booking is the norm. Private booking means only you and your party will be in the escape event together– typically requiring a minimum ticket number to reserve a room. Whereas public booking allows anyone to book in an escape event up to the maximum number of players (often 6-10) for that event. This puts strangers playing together on a regular basis.

We made the switch to private booking for a number of reasons the main one being our desire to create an exceptional experience for our guests.

Private Booking Benefits

Better Experience:

Private booking offers our clients a much better, more personalized experience than public booking. Guests know exactly who they will be “trapped” in a room with for an hour because they picked them!

Of course, it can be fun to meet new people and potentially befriend strangers but we have found it can also make for a bit of an awkward experience. For instance, when 2 or 3 different sets of strangers are placed in a room together with a common goal they may work great together but often times people retreat to their comfort zones- mainly interacting with the friends they came with. This can hinder game flow and cause certain members of the group to participate less than they would have if they were with a group of just their friends.

This happened to me on our trip to NYC. We played with a mixed group, David, myself, and 3 early twenty something guys we did not know. Each time I picked something up and started working on it one of the guys would come over, take it away from me, and bring it to just his friends. Every. Single. Time. For me, this was annoying but not the end of the world since it was our 3rd or 4th escape room of the day and I was running out of steam and didn’t feel like fighting for puzzles, but for a first time player or someone who hates mansplaining (yep-i went there) this would have been a very lackluster experience that they paid good money for.

Unfortunately, this occurrence is common with public booking and there isn’t much a company or gamemaster can do to get grown adults to share- crazy right?!

However, if you are with a group of family members, friends, or co-workers it’s a lot easier to speak up, freely share ideas, and interject yourself into whatever everyone else is working on because there’s a comfort level there that just can’t be achieved with people you met 5 minutes ago in the lobby. And quite frankly you don’t have to walk on eggshells. With private booking everyone is more comfortable and has more opportunity to participate fully in the escape room experience. 

Families (with kids) can Participate!!

This point is particularly close to our heart and played a huge roll in our switch to private booking. Our son was 8 when we opened our business and he LOVES escape rooms. What’s not to love for a kid? Escape Rooms are mystery and adventure and exciting! BUT, most escape rooms do not allow children because of the public booking aspect. We found whenever we would travel we either couldn’t play escape rooms as a family or we would have to pay for all the tickets in the room (8!) for the 3 of us to play privately and it just wasn’t practical. Mixing a family with young children with a couple on a date night or most groups without children just doesn’t work. And who wants to take a puzzle from a kid? No one! So we wanted to offer something different.

Since all of our games are family friendly we really wanted to provide families the opportunity to do something different with their children. Something exciting that would allow parents, grandparents, and kids to interact with one another without distractions of everyday life, solving puzzles, and really bonding over a fun experience and their accomplishments. Since making the switch to private booking we have seen a huge surge in multi generational families coming out to play. Everyone can have a share and children are actually great at escape rooms, often catching things their parents or grandparents may have missed. It builds confidence and helps children push to complete tasks as a group. We absolutely love seeing those moments and special family memories form. When you play an escape room it’s not just fun for that 60 minutes, it becomes a conversation piece for hours after and even days to come.

Best escape room for families in wilmington nc

Private booking escape room in Wilmington nc downtown

Best escape room for families in wilmington nc

Best escape room for families in wilmington nc


Drawback of Private Booking

One drawback of private booking is for the business to function a minimum ticket amount per game must be set. Here at Green Light Escape Room the minimum booking amount is 3 tickets for Alien Escape and Kidnapped and 4 tickets for Escape the Roxbury. These minimums ensure operating costs of the room are covered. This can be a drawback for couples who want to play with just two people. Two can play but they must purchase the 3rd ticket as well.

To alleviate this issue, for a limited time Escape the Roxbury is Public booking but will be switch back to private before Spring so couples get your escape in soon!


  • I want to book but i don’t want to have to pay for all my friends, how can avoid paying for everyone?

No Problem! Just book the minimum tickets for that room and the entire room will be reserved for your party, your other friends can pay on site when they arrive.

  • I booked 3 tickets but online it now says all the tickets are booked!

Not to worry, Once you book the minimum number of tickets it blocks out the entire room as “full” but it is still just your party in the room.

  • I booked 5 tickets, can more friends come?

Sure! You are welcome to bring others up to the capacity of the room and they can pay on site upon arrival.

  • I booked the room but now my friends are trying to pay online but they can’t.

Once the room is reserved by the first reservation it closes to other bookings in order to remain private. They can pay on site when they arrive.


Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please feel free to drop them in the comments or shoot us a message!





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