A brightening business outlook and a big push toward custom fabrication for clients are two major trends coming out of the 15th annual Special Events "30 Top Rental Companies" article, which will appear in the November-December issue.

Helped in part by events tied to the U.S. presidential elections along with more confidence in the economic recovery, the 30 big event rental firms profiled predict revenue will rise 6 percent this year over 2011. All told, the 30 companies represent nearly $760 million in annual sales.

WHAT'S RENTING

"Clients all want the 'new' item that will set their event apart, such as clear-top tents, tent liners, tent flooring, lounge furniture, specialty lighting, illuminated bars, custom linens and decor, and anything Lucite."
Apres Party and Tent Rentals
Minneapolis

"Top trends include 'shabby chic' along with rustic and modern furnishings that mix wood, mirrors, metal and fabric. For tabletop, big and bold 22-ounce Riedel stemware, platinum and gold rim china, and copper and hammered serving pieces. Multisided tents, clear-span tents and climate-controlled equipment are always in demand."
Aztec Events and Tents
Houston

"Nature-inspired items--anything organic, linen, wood, eco-friendly, simple and natural. On the opposite end of the spectrum, over-the-top gold flatware, cut crystal, and gold-trimmed china are in demand. Also, 'vintage' is making a big comeback."
Chair-Man Mills
Toronto

"Our entire Muskoka line of chargers, trays, and accoutrments has been a huge hit this year. We have also expanded our proprietary crystal glassware line—custom-made solely for us--to include a number of 'vintage' stylings like our champagne coupe. Classic cocktails served in traditional glasses have been very popular. We have also continued to expand our dinnerware offering to include options that are distinct and unique."
Event Rental Group
Toronto

"We have seen the mid-sized event spend more per person this year and add things like farm tables, upgraded linen, and dark wood bars."
Event Rentals Unlimited
Atlanta

"'Understated' is still in, but we are starting to see signs that people are willing to invest in more upgrades for their events. People are starting to ask for higher end china and glassware patterns."
Perfect Settings
Landover, Md.

"Matching is out, eclectic is in! Also, art deco seems to be raising its head lately, along with strong, vibrant colors in anything."
Town & Country Event Rentals
Van Nuys, Calif.

MAKE IT CUSTOM

"Big trends that we are seeing are the strong desire to create bespoke events with an absolutely custom-built atmosphere. By designing and blending newer forms of solid-state and intelligent lighting, along with the latest forms of lounge furniture and the latest high-end fabrics, we are creating events that are unique to the environment, before our client’s guests become involved with their event itself. It’s no longer about tables and chairs--it’s about creating the atmosphere and setting the mood by selecting the correct key elements such as the colors, textures, lighting, and fabrics that will ultimately define the party experience."
A1 Event and Party Rental
Covina, Calif.

"We have continued to move away from brand-name products, and have instead worked closely with clients to create our own product designs from scratch. We have found this approach to be highly successful as it brings unique products to our local market. Our product line today is highly focused on the specific needs of our Toronto-based clients."
Event Rental Group

"We are bringing in new items on a more 'request' basis now as opposed to us deciding what to bring in on a seasonal basis. Home interior design is really driving the design of our tabletop and linen inventory."
Peterson Party Center
Winchester, Mass.

WHAT'S NEXT

"2012 will end on a high note with a tremendous increase in corporate and social business revenue. The social and corporate markets have proven to be on an upswing, and we expect the trend to continue through 2013."
Aztec Events and Tents

"Corporate business is on the rise, and 2013 is looking very promising."
Chair-man Mills

"We see continued upward growth as we head out of 2012 into 2013. Clients continue to proceed with caution when it comes to the major events with large rentals. We used to get the rental information at least three weeks out a few years back; now we are lucky to get it a week out. Clients just want to be sure they are renting what they need for the amount of guests attending--no more, no less. This trend is certainly keeping sales and operations on their toes."
DC Rental
Arlington, Va.

"Corporate spending is up and we are hopeful for a better-than-usual Christmas season. Weddings have continued to increase in size and complexity, challenging our crews to create even more unique and customized venues for our clients. We are still optimistic about growth for next year, but much of it depends on the election and how the economy reacts to it."
Party Reflections
Charlotte, N.C.

"The economic outlook does seem to be improving. Fuel cost are still very high, and the cost of products continues to rise as the dollar weakens in the world economy. At the same time, budgets for special events are starting to make a little bit of a rebound. Special event companies who run a tight ship and watch waste in their operations should be able to do well in this market. Based on an overall better feel for business, Perfect Settings is going to be coming out with a a lot of new product next year. With it being an inaugural year, we should be looking at a good 2013!"
Perfect Settings

READ MORE …

The complete article will appear in the November-December issue of Special Events, available only to subscribers. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

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