INTRO: Welcome to That’s My Biz, the internet business showcase where we bring exposure to products, services, and special causes of local businesses and organizations. Thank you so much for joining us. We’re coming to you live from the Biz Lynks TV Studio.
“THAT’S MY BIZ” HOST, R. PAMELA ALEXANDER: Hi everyone. I’m Pamela Alexander, And welcome to another episode of That’s My Biz. As always, we enjoy bringing to you the wonderful businesses, nonprofits, and associations that we meet when we’re out there networking, because we want you to know all about them.
Without further ado, I am very excited to bring to you today’s guest, and I’m going to get it right, Dmitry Mikhaylov.
DMITRY MIKHAYLOV: That’s correct.
PAMELA: Yeah. Thanks so much. We are excited to have him on because he has a fantastic business called Paranoia Quest. And I know it might be something many of you haave not heard of, so it’s a room escape company. So, for everyone that hasn’t heard about that, Dmitry, tell everyone what a room escape company is all about.
DMITRY: Another name is Escape the Room. It’s the place where you’re locked in the room with your friends, coworkers, or some strangers. And you have to solve different puzzles and riddles in order to escape the room in a given period of time.
PAMELA: Okay. I like it because it’s different than some other places like the laser tag and whatnot where it’s all this running around, but I know it’s very exciting what you all do. It sounds like the main purpose of it is team building. Is that correct?
DMITRY: It’s one of the big things which we do. Yes, that’s for sure. Once we started, we knew that we wanted to be business inclined because Atlanta is the perfect market for corporations, and they’re all looking for different team-building activities. Once we opened, we knew that we wanted to target the businesses.
PAMELA: I love that. What made you think of Paranoia Quest?
DMITRY: It’s interesting. I’m from the real estate industry, and once I went to real estate seminars in New York. And I had some spare time, and I was looking to do something in the Manhattan area. And I just found something like this. And this is how I ended up in similar places. I experienced it, and I played with another corporate group, actually, who was playing there. And I really liked it.
As soon as I came back, I tried to get in touch with this company and tried to see if maybe we could do a franchise here in Atlanta. Unfortunately, they never replied, so I just decided, “Well, let me try to create something similar, but in the meantime, very unique to Atlanta.”
PAMELA: I love that because I was going to ask you, you mentioned you experienced it somewhere else and ask is it a new concept to Atlanta, because it’s something I had never heard of. But I know I don’t know everything. But if it’s new, is this the only type place in Atlanta? Were you the first?
DMITRY: No, we’re not the first. There is a few companies who started before us, but I don’t think anybody older than three years old here. So, it’s a very new industry. It is extremely unique, extremely new — and this is what’s interesting about it.
PAMELA: That’s great. So, now, tell me, for Paranoia Quest then, what makes you different than the other ones that are out there? What makes you unique?
DMITRY: Sure. Our attention is to the details. Concept everywhere is similar which is you find different objects and you have to apply them in order to open something and advance. Now, the difference between us is that we decided to go the extra step, extra mile, I would say. So, we invested three, sometimes four or five times more than other companies making the environment. So, we have special sounds we create for our quests. We have a special programs and videos, which is on TV screens. Then we have iPad applications which is designed specifically for our purpose. So, all custom made and designed.
We have, I think, the best artist in Atlanta who is working in the movie industry, and we brought them in to make a design which looks like a movie stage.
PAMELA: Wow. This really sounds like an awesome experience. I’m really excited to get out there. So you mentioned sometimes you’ll do it with teams or… What are the types of individuals who visit you? Family or businesses? Who are this different people? Because you said you might also be on a quest with folks that you don’t know?
DMITRY: Correct. There’s a few options. We try to make it comfortable for everybody. So, we have VIP packages available where you can come in only with your team and nobody else is going to be able to join you. Because some people enjoy being just with their group.
Now, there is other options available. We are a tourist destination. A lot of people travel on business trips. And we give them the ability to join other groups, because if they’re just by themselves but they still want to enjoy it, we give them this ability to join other group.
As far as clientele, it must sound strange because some people think it’s for the younger generation. In reality, we see that our normal clients are between 26 and 45 years old.
PAMELA: Okay. Good.
DMITRY: Yes. About 40% are businesses doing team-building activities. All major corporations are our clients.
PAMELA: For everyone out there, this is something different, something unique. We’re always looking for some new things to do in Atlanta. And I love that you mentioned the tourists as well, because they’re always looking for things to do as well.
Let me ask. The Quests, as you call them, do you come in…? Are you competing against anyone? Or you all are just working together on one particular quest? Talk about the quests a little bit more.
DMITRY: First of all, we have three different quests, and they have different scenarios. When we’re talking about quests, this is another difference between us and some other companies. Most of the companies have one room. You come in and you play there and that’s it. In our case, we have two or three or four-room quests. So, it’s like a whole scenario. You come in and you go through the scenario from one area to another area to another area, and you advance until you succeed or not.
What was the question?
PAMELA: That’s okay. You answered my question. Just talking about the quests. Are we competing against other teams or not?
DMITRY: Usually you compete against the best time. So, usually people ask, “What is the best time? We want to beat it.” And they think it’s so easy, but then at the end, “Oh, wow.”
As far as for corporations… Bigger corporations send their teams at different times. For example, they can have five, seven teams come and play in the same quest. So, we record the time of completion and how many clues they used, and at the end we present it to the company and them, “This is the team who got first place. This is the team who got second place.” And so on. And we have special prizes for overall winning team for corporate. Basically, for corporate, we have a special package. We have special discounts and special prizes.
PAMELA: With the quests, are people doing the quests simultaneously in these different rooms? Or how many groups can come in at a time?
DMITRY: Three quests run simultaneously, meaning that at every moment of time, they can do up to 30 people.
PAMELA: Do they pre-register to come in? Do they walk in? How does that work?
DMITRY: 95% of the people book in advance. So, people book a few weeks in advance to get the spot they like. During the weekend it fills up pretty solid and during the week, sometimes it’s slow, but during the summer, again, it’s tourists time. And we see that even during the week it’s getting booked up pretty well.
PAMELA: With the quests, is there anything physical that’s involved? Is it all more mental? What’s going on in the quests?
DMITRY: It is a great question. Some people are concerned about how physical you have to be. You don’t run, you don’t crawl. You don’t do that much physical. We actually have some sitting area for senior citizens where they can sit down, and this is what they like about our quests is the fact that they can actually sit down and watch their grandkids running around, and they can still be part of the experience.
So, it’s for all different ages. It’s more toward thinking, not towards physical. Another people ask: do you have to have special math skill or other, like physics skills? It’s not about special skills. It’s all about just exploring, I guess. You don’t have to have any special knowledge.
PAMELA: So, you’re not trying to stump you there and make you feel bad about maybe not completing it or not completing it as quickly but just is really about that fun and that comradery and the people interacting together.
DMITRY: That is correct.
PAMELA: I love that. What’s the price ranges?
DMITRY: Our starting price is $30 per person. Then we go from there. It depends on if you have a bigger group. We have a discount for 20 plus people and 30 plus people.
PAMELA: I love that, because I’m sitting here thinking family reunions and just all these wonderful times. So, groups can come in and play?
DMITRY: Family reunions, we also do birthday party packages. We actually have a special birthday package available – for everybody who is watching. If you have a birthday coming up, please visit us, because we give you a free ticket, as long as you bring four friends with you.
PAMELA: Wow. I love that. I’m always looking for something else to do on a birthday, so I like that. We look for all the fun things that we can do. With the quest, is there anything scary about it? Is it a lit room? Is it darker?
DMITRY: Great question. We have a few different options. One of our quests can be scary. It’s called Zombie Apocalypse. For all your fans of Walking Dead and it’s Atlanta, so please tell them to visit us. We have two options, Zombie Apocalypse — it’s just the quest where you come in and experience a normal escape room.
And we have Escape the Room with a Zombie. This is where we have live actors involved. And it becomes intense. We have guns. We have shields. You have to protect yourself. So, you’re going to choose who’s going to be your guards, who is going to be the brains, and who is going to be the runners, and who is going to be meat
PAMELA: Wow. Who is going to be meat.
DMITRY: Of course, I’m joking. This is one of the quests which can be scary and exciting and very active. Now, our two other quests, Murder Mystery and the Infection Quest, they are just normal Escape the Room quests, which is you are there by yourself, and there’s enough light. It’s big rooms. Again, we have the biggest rooms in Atlanta, as far as escapes go. So, usually some people who are claustrophobic also ask us how claustrophobic it is. In our case, it is not.
PAMELA: I love this. This is just sounds more and more exciting as we keep going on and learning about it. Let me ask. What do people take away from their visits, when they come to the escape the room experience?
DMITRY: First of all, each participant gets a prize at the end. We have small wristbands, and it’s got different, unique messages on them, which is based on the quests they completed. It says usually, “I escaped.” Or, “I almost escaped.” But it’s not about prizes it’s about participation.
We’ve noticed that people who don’t complete a quest in many cases even more excited than people who complete. It’s all about chemistry. It’s all about being excited, being pumped and going through the obstacles.
PAMELA: So, you don’t have to feel bad if you don’t complete.
DMITRY: Not at all. Only between 25 and 30% of people actually successfully complete the quest.
PAMELA: Wow. I did not know that. I’m one of those competitive people. My husband calls me a bulldog. So, with that, I can just imagine I will not leave until I complete this quest. So, in thinking about that, is there a time limit? At what point do you cut them off, you’re just not going to complete it.
DMITRY: You have 60 minutes. This is how it works. At the beginning, we give them an introduction. Then the timer starts, and they go in a room and play. And we have game masters who are sitting and watching the game, we have video cameras in each room, so we know what’s the progress. We know what’s happening, we give them help. Every time they need help, we have three available clues.
Now, at the end of the hour, they know that the hour is gone because the timer goes down, and in some quests, we have a very loud siren going off, so they definitely know that the time is up. And then that’s it.
PAMELA: Wow. I love this. Dmitry, we have two important final questions that we must make sure that we have answered. One, of course, I know you all are sitting there going, “When is she going to ask him this?” Where are you all located?
DMITRY: Alright. Perfect. We are in the heart of downtown Atlanta by the “Underground”. We’re two steps from the Underground. You can park easily in Underground Atlanta and just walk to us. It’s like a five minute walk. Or you can use Marta Station. It’s Five Points Marta Station, we are literally two minutes away from the Five point Marta station.
PAMELA: Wow. I did not know this. I told you all I was excited about this episode, and we were so excited to hear more about Paranoia Quest Escape the room , because this is definitely something different and unique that you’ll want to take part of. With that, Dmitry, tell everyone how they can get in touch, or how do they get booked for a Paranoia Quest?
DMIT-RY: You can visit our website. It’s http://paranoiaquest.com/. Also, you can call us at (678)828-4410
DMITRY: Once you visit the website, you can make a booking online. Just click on “Book online,” and it’s going to prompt you to book. Also, for all our corporate people who are looking for fun team building activity in Atlanta, sign up for our email list. And we are going to be able to send you our ebook which we just recently published. It’s called “Ultimate Team Building” book. There’s a lot of interesting ideas for you, what to do, how to do, and where to do, and how to make your team stronger.
PAMELA: Wow. I love that. And talking about business, because we love to make sure that we’re walking away with some great business tips. And I already heard one. He said, “Sign up for that email list” it’s important so you can stay up to date on what’s going on, get announcements, all of that. It sounds like a great ebook that they’ve published.
So, we appreciate you bringing in something fun and excitement to Atlanta. I hope businesses out there and individuals add Paranoia Quest Escape the room to your schedule and list of things to do in Atlanta.
Now, before I leave, we want to ask one last question. How often do people return or come back to experience quests? And do the quests change over time?
DMITRY: This is a great question. What makes us unique is we invested so much money in building quests. It’s too expensive for us to change it. But based on our success — and we see that it’s becoming very popular, and we see the good results that people are excited and it’s just so cool for them — we are actually planning to expand. Right now, we’re looking for another location so we can open another three quests. And then once that’s complete, we plan to open another three quests. We are going to open in Atlanta in the different areas. This way once you have completed all of our quests, you can go to another location and continue receiving great service and unique experience.
PAMELA: I love that. That is fantastic. Everyone, make sure that you reach out and go to ParanoiaQuest.com, so that you can get yourself booked, get your group booked. The great news too is that it it’s just you, you can get in there anyway and join with some other groups and meet some new people at the same time. So, it sounds like a great networking opportunity all rolled into it.
PAMELA: Great, Dmitry, thank you so much for joining us today.
DMITRY: Thank you.
Interested to know more about our company and our owner?
See below interview with our owner Dmitry Mikhaylov.