By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 2
Signage is needed for nearly every type of event. One common solution is event tents, which come in a variety of standard sizes, are portable, easy to install, and printable to include logos and marketing messages. Print service providers (PSPs) offer event tents, either as hardware/graphics bundles they print in house or as a solution printed by a third party.
There are limitless opportunities for event tents, making them attractive for PSPs. In addition to providing a portable canvas for a brand’s marketing message, event tents offer practical benefits like shielding from sun and weather.
Outdoor events often require or benefit from the use of event tents. They are ideal for occasions like street and craft fairs, block parties, beer fairs, art festivals, and races. “Any kind of outdoor event that garners a lot of public attention is going to want some kind of event tent onsite,” suggests Christian Bahnweg, marketing copywriter, Tex Visions.
Natalie Whited, VP of marketing, Orbus Exhibit & Display Group, agrees, noting that event tents are common for all types of events and in many different outdoor environments. For example, universities and schools use them for fundraising, sporting, and new student festivals. Companies and corporations work with them for open houses, outdoor staff picnics, and fundraising events. Sports teams and agencies promote the sales of goods outside and inside sports arenas. Towns and municipalities use event tents for registration and vendor participation and promotion at festivals and sporting events. “Event tents provide branding and messaging opportunities to create awareness of a company’s identity and the goods and services it offers,” adds Whited.
Consider Event Tents
Event tents represent a great opportunity for PSPs.
“PSPs should consider offering event tent printing to customers for a reliable and inexpensive solution,” says Alexandra Olsen, marketing coordinator, Expand International. Additional benefits include adding sidewalls to event tents in order to create extra space for messaging.
Event tents allow PSPs to cast a wide net for outdoor marketing and event opportunities. “Outdoor advertising is an impactful way for a company to create brand awareness and sell goods and services,” comments Whited.
Outdoor displays such as tents, flags, table throws, banner stands, and signs help create awareness and promote engagement with the brand and goods and services being offered by the organization using them. “The ability to sell the hardware, graphics, and related design services if needed help make for a profitable production offering,” she adds.
“They’re hugely popular. If they don’t offer them, they risk losing out on a ton of business. For example, we’ve done more than a quarter of a million dollars in event tents in 2018 alone,” says Bahnweg.
In House or Outsource
In addition to purchasing hardware and printing event tent graphics in house, several third-party providers offer outsourcing options.
There are benefits to both. “Depending on the individual printing capabilities, material sourcing, and quality control abilities, it may make sense for the graphics to be produced by a PSP,” says Whited.
It makes sense for PSPs to offer printing services in house if they don’t already, suggests Bahnweg. “The reasons for this are twofold. One, it’s easier to remedy any issues that arise; you’re not sending orders to a middleman and hoping they get them on time. Two, it’s more cost effective to pay for in-house work compared to outsourcing.”
However, partnering with a display graphic printer, does provide benefits as well, admits Whited. “For example, Orbus conducts significant material testing to ensure its canopies are water resistant and retail color as best as possible. The company also quality controls to the fit of the canopies, full and half walls on the tents ensure the best fit.”
“A profit margin can range from 40 to 50 percent when outsourcing depending on the local marketplace of course,” shares Whited.
Olsen believes it makes sense for PSPs to outsource to a provider that specializes in this type of application. “This is because they have the correct templates, experience, and immense amount of practice and experts in house,” she adds.
The decision to bring the service in house or outsource may also depend on printing method. “For example, dye-sublimated, rain-resistant fabric printing is fast growing but heat transferred vinyl is also common,” says Olsen.
Solutions and Sizes
A variety of event tent options are on the market. In addition to frame types, a range of sizes are available for event tents.
The most common tent size is 10×10 feet; other typical sizes are 10×15 and 10×20 feet. “10×10 is common for a number of reasons. It is compact—both when fully assembled and packed away—and it’s easy to assemble on top of that, shares Bahnweg.
The frame material is another option. An aluminum frame with a full-size graphic canopy can be purchased wholesale for around $800 to $2,000 depending on the quality of frame, print, and finishing. Metal frames can be purchased for much less, but they are heavy to handle or can rust outside.
When deciding on hardware, it is important to think through the user application—indoor or outdoor, the person that will set it up, how often it is taken down and put up, where it will be stored, and how long it needs to last. “You get what you pay for,” suggests Olsen.
Cost is another consideration. “Because we custom print everything, and because of the number of options we offer, our cost to the customer varies depending on what they’re getting,” says Bahnweg. “For example, a simple 10×10-foot tent with custom printing and no extra frills—accessories or extra walls—might run the customer $400 for the most basic tent. Getting something like a nicer frame would bring the price up.”
However, bulk discounting can help bring cost down. Bahnweg believes a customer that orders a dozen tents might see a discount of $300 over the whole of the order, depending on the tents ordered and what frames were purchased.
Event tent installation is meant to be easy for end users.
The process is generally simple. “The client opens the tent frame on the ground and places the canopy on top of the frame before it is fully expanded. Then, the client expands the frame until the support bars snap into place. After the frame is assembled, the client can adjust the height of the legs, giving them a shorter or taller tent, depending on their usage,” says Bahnweg.
“As for whether the client can perform installation alone, it depends on the size of the tent. For the smaller tents, such as 5×5- or 8×8-foot, installation can be done with just one person, though we usually recommend two just to save time. With the larger tents, especially the 10×20 and 20×20 feet, installation with just one person is not possible. We recommend three to four, depending on the size of the tent,” adds Bahnweg.
“Standard-sized event tents are made to be user friendly,” explains Whited. “There are large scale options that are a custom purchase and require installers, but most everyday customers purchase a 10×10-foot pop-up tent they can install easily on their own.”
Event tents represent a versatile service offering. Whether PSPs decide to print event tents in house or outsource through a third-party provider, this product makes a great addition to a PSP’s product portfolio.
Part two of this series highlights providers of event tent hardware and services.
Jan2019, Digital Output