Special Events
Ask the Insiders: Rental Pros Know the Inside Scoop

Ask the Insiders: Rental Pros Know the Inside Scoop

Special Events editor on the expert insights offered by party rental operators

Lisa HurleyI've said it before and I believe it still—if you want to know what's really going on in the event industry, ask the insiders: party rental pros. They know what's renting and who's paying the bills. And, they know who is stretching out their payments—or failing to pay at all.

This issue brings you the 18th edition of our "30 Top Rental Companies," starting on page 13. All told, these big companies represent a whopping $873 million in revenue, all thanks to suppling in-demand products on some very demanding schedules.

What's renting? Yes still to rustic farm tables, but yes also to gorgeous gold flatware. Tables are being topped with homey burlap-look tablecloths, but also with high-style sparkling linens. And according to our rental pros, event rooms are simply incomplete today without a gorgeous chandelier—or 10.

As they look at the event business, these big rental pros say business is looking good.

After a great year in 2015, “We are even more optimistic about our opportunities for growth in all of our markets for 2016,” says Dan Hooks, CERP, head of Party Reflections of Charlotte, N.C. “The increasing sophistication of the rental industry continues to escalate the value of partnership with an experienced and trusted rental provider.” 

And what is perhaps the clearest sign of all that business is bright is that lead times are—shock—getting longer.

“The interesting thing is clients can no longer be ‘last minute,’ and that is good for our industry," says Dan Nolan III, CEO of Atlanta's Event Rentals group. "With demand up so much, the clients that procrastinate are finding much higher prices in place—or no supply—because of the emergency nature of their needs."

Of course, not all news is good. Certain regions—notably where the local economy is tied to the oil industry, are feeling the pinch of falling gas prices. We will see how they adapt to win this game.

Our cover story showcases the irresistible appeal of hotels as event venues. From stunning settings to superior service, only a hotel will do. See the full story beginning on page 23.

And with the holidays coming, what better time than now to look at festive cocktails for your events? Mixologists from top hotels share the recipe for the top quaffs today. It's an alluring mix of New Age gin, artisanal ingredients, and a twist on the predictable. How about making an old fashioned new again with cherry bark vanilla bitters? See the full story starting on page 31.

From all of us at Special Events, cheers to you and all our best wishes for a bright, prosperous new year.

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