ARA member survey shows a glimmer of hope for event rental

Feb. 21, 2021

Nearly 16 percent of event rental members responding to a January American Rental Association (ARA) member survey have reported that they are seeing positive business improvements compared to the previous quarter. This doubles the percentage of those responding to the fourth quarter ARA survey who said the situation is getting better.

The number of those surveyed who said the situation is getting worse dropped to 41.95 percent compared to 61.28 percent in the fourth quarter survey.

Of those reporting revenue increases in the quarter compared to last year, the average increase in revenue was 31 percent. However, 85 percent of those reporting decreases were down an average of 60 percent.

In addition, the January ARA member survey showed optimism in new customer inquiries since the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine distribution began. Nearly 10 percent of event rental members responding to the survey reported increase customer calls in the last quarter and 3.4 percent reported increased rentals since widespread vaccination efforts were initiated.

Separately, the most recent ARA rental revenue forecast released last week is projecting double-digit growth for event rental revenues in 2021 after a 49 percent decline in 2020. The forecast is based on econometric modeling and historical correlations using economic reports to compile revenue data.

However, many in the event rental industry say the impact of the COVID-19 on their businesses was much more severe, with many reporting revenue declines of 60 to 70 percent or more in 2020.

“Government data related to event rental is not as complete as what is available for construction rental, so moving forward, ARA is working on developing a new model to forecast event rental revenue,” says Tom Doyle, ARA vice president, association program development.

“The impact of the pandemic has been very different for event rental compared to construction and general tool. While the ARA surveys give us a snapshot in time of the situation from those who respond, it is not a scientific tool. That’s why we are moving forward to create new and better ways to provide the event rental industry with the more accurate data in the future,” Doyle says.

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