The game of ping-pong has moved out of the basement and into the nightlife scenes of eight major cities, thanks to a pair of best friends and a dream.
SPIN is a network of ping-pong social clubs — and a Tripleseat customer — located in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Philadelphia, Seattle, Austin, and Washington, D.C. We spoke to Lou Canakes II, SPIN’s National Sales Director for Events, about SPIN’s origin story, how they approach event management, and what makes each location a popular hot spot for events.
1. For those who aren’t familiar with SPIN, how did the ping-pong club start?
In 2007, two best friends — Jonathan Bricklin and Franck Raharinosy — had a crazy idea, to get so good at ping-pong that they could compete in the Olympics. So they did what any future Olympian would obviously do — they threw parties in their Tribeca loft. The two became known for hosting legendary “Naked Ping-Pong” parties. Each Friday night centered around the “Dirty Dozen” – where 12 players would battle it out in the dirtiest, filthiest, cage-match-to-the-death-style ping-pong tournament (cocktail in hand, of course). The parties drew in an eccentric range of people from all walks of life, including Jimmy Buffet, Owen Wilson, 50 Cent, and Salman Rushdie. The diversity of the crowd fueled the fun and vibrant energy that remains the essence of SPIN. While Jonathan and Franck never quite made it to the Olympics, their crazy idea has turned into the global brand in which we proudly call SPIN today.
2. Why did SPIN start using Tripleseat to manage its events?
SPIN started to manage all event sales activities with Tripleseat about four-and-a-half years ago, and what attracted us to using the platform is the ease-of-use, affordability, software support, and ability for us to integrate with our SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms necessary for our business. I also appreciate Tripleseat’s desire to always strive to be innovative and constantly look for new ways for the platform to expand its capabilities, functions, and reporting features to meet the demands of our ever-changing events industry. It’s necessary for us to stay cutting-edge and meet the expectations of our customers.
3. What types of events does SPIN host at its locations, and how often do your venues hold events?
SPIN offers corporate holiday parties, team building events, employee engagement events, social events, and other kinds of events that haven’t been invented yet! We’ll typically host roughly over 1,200 events per venue every year.
4. What is it about SPIN that keeps people coming back?
Ping-pong is an incredibly social and silly game, but also an Olympic sport. We welcome diversity, and we embrace the unconventional and surprise with creativity. We encourage all guests to participate and pick up a paddle! We book all types of events, offer ping-pong pros to support team building or tournament play for those that have a more competitive desire, and operate as a full-service event venue offering onsite catering, bar packages, and an attraction activity component in ping-pong. Of course, I have to mention that our clients love that we offer a seamless booking process with our Tripleseat platform and have also integrated with BluePay for management of online payment processing and invoicing, making it a breeze to book events with us as a result!
5. Your locations are so visual! Is that part of the fun vibe, or are things like the ball pit, colorful design, and graffiti influenced by the Instagrammable, social world we live in?
Thank you! Yes, we believe in supporting local communities and artists and invite them into each location and offer support with art murals or installations. The bathtub filled with ping-pong balls and Simple Booth photo booths lend themselves well to Instagram-worthy moments for our guests to share on their social networks. It helps to spread the word about SPIN and share in the fun or perhaps even create some FOMO among their friends and colleagues.
Want more information on Tripleseat customers?
Check out our blog posts on our customers, and learn their best practices for running successful venues and event management programs.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Tripleseat’s Seated magazine, 2018 Holidays issue.