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 and family. Many B&B inn owners face a dilemma: how to fill the rooms of their establishment enough to show a profit. It can be a challenging task. The overhead is high, and it seems like you are constantly 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 websites offering murder mystery weekends, and you will find them sold out well before 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 that this venue allows your guests to interact and get comfortable with each other.
Your first step is to find a murder mystery game that will be fun 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 website Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games - https://www.dinnerandamurder.com - has Murder Mystery Party Games available that play very well for weekend groups.
Many inns that offer murder mystery weekends make the mistake of only offering one mystery. By providing new murder mysteries, you are taking advantage of repeat business. Our games are affordable at only $35 for a digital game or $69 for a box game, plus a $20 commercial license for each weekend event you host. You do not have to buy the game again 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 and what to include in that charge. Most inns are consistent in both of these areas. The average price tag is $500 per couple, with double occupancy for the weekend event. This usually includes the following:
• Accommodations for Friday & Saturday evening.
• Welcoming Cocktails with meet and greet on Friday Night
• Dinner on Saturday night as part of the mystery
• Full Breakfast Saturday and Sunday Mornings
• The Unique Murder Mystery Experience!
One of the problems that can occur and potentially wreck a murder mystery weekend is 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 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 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 more challenging 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. Explain that you are creating a list of local guests who could be contacted at the last minute to attend a murder mystery weekend free of charge in the event of a cancellation. These steps should ensure 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. You will need to adjust depending on their format if you are using a different game.
Before guests arrive, it is best to let them know the murder mystery theme or period so they can bring appropriate costumes if they wish.
To assign characters, email each guest a copy of the Guest List Worksheet and let them choose the character they would like to play. First come, first serve. Then you would email them the background booklet of their new character. This allows your guests time to prepare and will enable them to get into their character.
Everyone meets for Cocktails on Friday night. Upon arrival at this meet and greet, you would give each guest a hard copy of their Character Background Booklet, Name Tag, Game Money, and 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. Depending on the game, the murder should occur just before or at the end of the meet and greet. 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 play the part of the murder victim.
At breakfast Saturday morning, you should have the Inspector/Detective present the Evidence and draw for weapon and action cards. Then your guests have all day to plot amongst themselves, investigate, or do their own thing.
After dinner Saturday night, your guests will spend at least an hour mingling and trying to solve the mystery. After things slow down, have them fill out Whodunit Cards that you hand out.
At Breakfast Sunday morning, you would award the Winner Certificates. Viola' a weekend of murder and mayhem!
We would love to hear how your murder mystery weekend went!
Written by Mary Lee, owner, and writer of Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games.
Visit our website at https://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 decide to use one of our games for profit, be sure to purchase the $20 Commercial License fee for each weekend you perform our game.
I am listing our Box Games below. If you prefer digital, just click on that link and look at the top to see the Digital Games menu.