The Trampoline park man, Jeff Platt, in conversation with the Arabian Gazette
He operates a chain of indoor trampoline parks in the US and Canada. He runs one of the most popular and promising companies in the US. But what is he doing in this desert nation? Well, he promises to bring all the fun to the UAE, Saudi Arabia to be more precise. Interestingly, he considers that movies, go karts, bounce houses and the entire entertainment industry is his competitor. Meet the man, Platt.
Why are you opening in Saudi Arabia and not Dubai/UAE?
This was a lot about timing. We were approached by a very strong group in Saudi Arabia, the Al Hokair Group, and they wanted to develop parks throughout the Middle East, but because they are based in Saudi, we thought it would be best to focus them in their own backyard. We are actively speaking with other parties about expanding throughout the rest of the Middle East, and fully expect to have a park open in the UAE within 12 months.
What does your study on trampoline parks worldwide and in the Middle East say?
The trampoline park industry is growing tremendously worldwide. We estimate there are about 500 trampoline parks globally with approximately 25% outside of the US. The Middle East currently has about 6 parks total, but we expect that number to double by the end of 2016.
What activities can one do on your trampoline courts?
Jumpers can do many different things at Sky Zone. We have our Freestyle court where they can practice tricks, flips and running off the walls. We also have dodgeball courts where they can play dodgeball on trampolines, SkySlam where they can learn how to slam dunk, the Foam Zone where they can jump into a pit with over 10,000 foam cubes. They can also play volleyball on trampolines, have a birthday party or jump into a fitness class that burns more than 1,000 calories per hour! It’s all about the freedom of jumping and flying through the air.
What is your USP compared to your competitors?
We say that every Sky Zone experience will not only be healthy, happy and fun—but Epic.
Who are your competitors?
Anyone and everyone that is competing for the entertainment dollars. There are trampoline parks of course, but movies, go karts, bounce houses and more.
How well is the franchise model working for you?
The franchise model is working very well for Sky Zone. We have opened 105 parks, licensed over 190 and are entering our 5th and 6th country later this year. We are 5x larger than our closest competitor.
Who is your franchisee in Saudi Arabia?
What do you look for in a franchise partner? Our franchisee in Saudi Arabia is the Al Hokair Group. In looking for franchisees, we look for groups that 1) Fit the culture of our business and 2) Have business ownership experience, preferably retail and preferably in the entertainment space and 3) Have a passion for having fun and delivering great experiences
Any plans to expand in other markets in MENA (Middle East/North Africa)?
Yes, of course Kuwait will open next year along with parks in Dubai
Can you throw some light on the revenue figures?
In 2014, Sky Zone achieved a revenue of $167 million