State of the Industry 2017

April 1st, 2017 / By: / News

Grandchamp Structure Design, Repentigny, Quebec, Canada, designed, manufactured and installed this clearspan tent for summer-long use on a dock on the St. Lawrence River. Engineered for 105 mph winds, the structure’s semi-circular design aids in wind deflection and features tinted windows. Photo courtesy of Grandchamp.
Grandchamp Structure Design, Repentigny, Quebec, Canada, designed, manufactured and installed this clearspan tent for summer-long use on a dock on the St. Lawrence River. Engineered for 105 mph winds, the structure’s semi-circular design aids in wind deflection and features tinted windows. Photo courtesy of Grandchamp.

With thousands of companies competing for event organizers to rent tents and tent-related equipment, this is a very competitive market. In terms of volume, sales for the U.S./Canadian end product manufacturer (fabricator) market were 24.1 million square yards in 2016, up 4 percent over 2015. Sales are projected to be 25.3 million square yards in 2017, up 5 percent over 2016.

The party and event rental market grew 6 percent in 2016, and is expected to grow by 7 percent in 2017. The corporate event market improved in 2016; it’s estimated to have grown 5 percent in 2016 and should reach 5 percent growth again in 2017. The scope of corporate events continued to expand in 2016 as budgets increased.

Key trends in the tent rental market

Better weather in the spring and summer of 2016 contributed to an increase in the number of events held in 2016—especially outdoor events for weddings and corporations.

There is more demand for tent liners, flooring and lighting, which has helped increase revenues for event operators in the last few years.

Shorter lead times are being demanded by customers for their events; tent operators often have to work harder and bring in more temporary staff in order to complete events on time.

Exacerbating the pressure of shorter lead times on tent operators is the challenge they face due to a shortage of trained and talented staff available. These pressures are compounded by the increase in customer demand for more elaborate event set-ups.

Sailcloth tents remain popular; they are visually appealing with sculpted peaks and eaves that create a feel of open space at outdoor events.

Government regulations and permitting continue to increase; event operators report they are spending too much time acquiring the proper permits to remain in compliance with building codes.

Customers are increasingly tapping into social media for ideas to create a very specific look and feel for their events to fulfill very specific customer requests. It can be difficult to carry enough inventory to satisfy every request from the customer.

Over the last few years, tent event operators have done a better job of marketing their tents and accessories to
their customers; they’ve expanded traditional marketing schemes by stepping up usage of social media and the internet.

Commercial and party event customers are spending more money on expanding the scope of events, compared to previous years. In 2017, weather permitting, look for corporate and party events to maintain their journey toward healthy growth—
5 percent for the corporate market and 7 percent for the party events market.

Jeffrey C. Rasmussen, IFAI’s manager of market research, can be reached at jcrasmussen@ifai.com.

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