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Tented holiday parties see revival

Trend Watch | December 1, 2010 | By:

Tents fit right in with the comeback trends of holiday parties.

Pre-recession style big blowout holiday parties have been an easy budget cut for corporations facing an uncertain future. According to Catersource magazine, caterers nationwide reported that December 2009 showed the biggest year-over-year drop in business of any month since the start of the recession. But with at least some economists declaring the recession over, are holiday parties making a comeback? And are tents a part of the comeback?

Ryan Choura, CEO of Choura Events, Long Beach, Calif., says holiday parties in 2010 are more likely to be held during the workday as opposed to after-hours, and rather than a single, companywide bash, departments within corporations are throwing smaller, separate parties. Tents fit right into these trends, as they can be set up on company property and used for multiple parties or gatherings during traditional work hours. Budget-conscious companies are also requesting that internal labor be used to help set up and host parties, he says.

“The other trend I see is companies utilizing their holiday parties to invite vendors, other people who are currently partnering with them,” he says. “They are saying, ‘Hey, we are out there battling, we want to have this party to thank our employees, but we also want to thank our vendors.’”

One of Choura’s favorite annual holiday parties involves transforming a construction yard into a party for 600 with a dozen barbeque stations preparing tri-tip.

“It’s a total experience,” Choura says. “You come in, you are going to eat more than you want to eat, you are going to sit longer than you want to sit, just hang out. [The client] provides such a great ambiance for it, and the tent is so central to that party—without the tent it wouldn’t be what it is.”

Choura Events invested almost $1 million in tenting between 2007 and 2010 to provide clients with a total package—tents, venues, event planning and catering.

“I never really evaluate our business versus the economy,” Choura says. “I evaluate how our business is doing at providing a value, and I see a lot more people choosing our value than they did in 2007.”

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