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Host a Murder Mystery Weekend!

How to Host a Murder Mystery Weekend

While this article was written for Bed & Breakfast Inns, it can easily be used by the casual host who wishes to host a Murder Mystery Weekend with friends & family.

One of the dilemma's faced by many B & B Inn owners is how to fill the rooms of your establishment enough to show a profit. It is not always an easy task. Overhead is high & it seems like you are always faced with some new expense. I am sure all Inn owners have heard of Murder Mystery Weekends, but most do not know how to go about it. Just visit some of the Bed & Breakfast web sites that offer Murder Mystery Weekends and you will find them sold out well in advance of the event. This article was written to help you on your way to attracting visitors to your Inn by offering Murder Mystery Weekends. One of the advantages of hosting a Murder Mystery Weekend, besides having your Inn filled, is this venue allows your guests to interact and really get comfortable with each other.

Your first step is to find a Murder Mystery Game that will be fun and enjoyable for your guests. You need one that is easy to host and participate in, yet will be able to play out over the weekend. In the past you either had to write your own or spend a small fortune hiring specialists to come in and put it on for you. This is no longer the case.

Our site Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games - http://www.dinnerandamurder.com - has Murder Mystery Games available that play very well for weekend groups. We are also releasing new games every few months, which gives you the ability to do fresh murder mystery weekends, without having to wear out the same scenario.

Many Inns that offer Murder Mystery Weekends make the mistake of only offering one mystery. By offering new murder mysteries you are taking advantage of repeat business. The scripts are very affordable at only $39 a game plus a $20 commercial license for each weekend event you host. You do not have to pay the $39 each time you host it, only the license fee. We also offer free phone support to answer any questions that you might have.

The next step is to decide what to charge & what to include in that charge. I have found that most Inns are pretty consistent in both these areas. The average charge is $450 per couple, double occupancy for the weekend event.
This usually includes the following:

• Accommodations for Friday & Saturday evening.
• Dinner Fri. & Sat. or Welcoming Cocktails Fri. & Dinner Sat.
• Full Breakfast Sat. & Sun. Mornings
• The Unique Murder Mystery Experience!

One of the problems that can occur and potentially wreck a murder mystery weekend are last minute cancellations. There are a couple solutions that can help prevent this problem. The first is to require that the event be paid in full to hold the reservation. Then you can give refunds according to the lead time of a cancellation. These are just suggestions:

• 30 days before the event refund 75%
• Up to 2 weeks before the event refund 50%
• Cancellation in the last 2 weeks forfeits the deposit.

Be sure to inform guests making reservations of the refund policy. Tell them that this is a necessary policy as cancellations can ruin the event for everyone if someone is not found to fill their spots. The closer to the event, the harder spots are to fill.

Next is to keep a waiting list. After you have all of your rooms filled, offer interested parties the opportunity to get on your waiting list for possible last minute inclusion. You can offer a discount to make this proposition more inviting. Another idea is to run an ad in your local paper offering free murder mystery weekends to fill last minute cancellations or unfilled spots. When contacted explain that you are creating a list of local guests who could be contacted, possibly at the last minute, to attend a murder mystery weekend free of charge in the event of a cancellation. These steps should insure that every Murder Mystery Weekend is a success!

Okay, now how do you go about organizing the murder mystery itself? The following ideas are adapted for a Dinner and a Murder Mystery Game. If you are using a different game you will need to make some adjustments depending on their format.

• Before guests arrive it is best to let them know the murder mystery theme or time period, so that they can bring appropriate costumes if they wish.

• To assign characters you could give each guest a copy of the Guest List when they arrive and let them choose the character they would like to play. First come first serve. Then you would give them their new characters background booklet. We also have an online RSVP e-Invite system that will let you assign characters and send character booklets to the people attending. This would give your guests even more prep time and allow them to more fully get into their character.

• Everyone meets for Dinner or Cocktails on Friday night. Before dinner you would give out the first part of their Character Booklet, Nametags, Game Money & any other items or props that their character required. You would then make the Hosts Announcement. They will then start getting to know each other. You should allow at least 30 minutes before serving dinner. The murder should occur just before or at the end of dinner, after which you give your guests their Character Confidential Booklets. For planning purposes it would be best to have someone you know who is outgoing to play the part of the murder victim.

• At breakfast Saturday morning you should have the Inspector/Detective do his or her Evidence Presentation, have the Weapons Scavenger Hunt and then your guests have all day to plot amongst themselves, investigate or do their own thing.

• After dinner Saturday night your guests will try to solve the mystery.

• At Breakfast Sunday morning you would award the Winner Certificates. Viola' a weekend of murder and mayhem!

As your guests would not have their props before hand, you would need to insure that they had any required items.

For Example: To do Murder at the Four Deuces you would have to provide a costume tiara for the Baroness, a pair of white evening gloves for Rebecca Ravioli & a deck of cards for Rhett Bumbler. Murder at the Four Deuces would be an excellent script as there are so many intermingling subplots it would insure a full, enjoyable weekend for your guests.

If you host one of our games for a Murder Mystery Weekend that is open to the public we would love to list your event on our website for interested parties to find. We have a Murder Mystery Event Calendar that you can post your event into. We attract over 1,000 visitors a day that are interested in Murder Mystery Games!
Written by Mary Lee, owner and writer of Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games. Visit our web site at http://www.dinnerandamurder.com to learn more.

This article may be reprinted on the condition that this Author box remains intact with no changes.
If you do decide to use one of our games for profit be sure to purchase the $20 Commercial License fee for each weekend that you perform our game. You may also list your event in our Murder Mystery Weekends Calendar. Be sure to include Business Name, Address, Description, Cost & link or phone number.
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