Jim Reyen, business director at Johnson Outdoors Inc./Eureka! Big Tents Division, presented the campfire session “Leveraging Rental Tents During and After the COVID Pandemic” at IFAI Expo in Nashville, Tenn.
During the session, Reyen explained the changing demands for tents throughout various stages of the pandemic. “The first wave of tent demand ran from March to June 2020,” he said. This stage included tent rental requests for hospitals, restaurants and drive-through testing sites. The second wave ran from July 2020 to March 2021. During this period, businesses and restaurants continued to be popular clients, but schools also joined the list. The third wave (March 2021 to present day) has included a steady stream of requests from schools, businesses, restaurants and vaccination sites.
According to Reyen, tent types and styles that have been in popular demand throughout the pandemic have included pop ups, pole tents, frame tents, clearspans, and military grade/rapid deployable tents.
As for the future, Reyen expects to see a lot of creative uses for tents. “I believe there’s a lot of pent-up demand for outdoor concerts and weddings,” he said. Outdoor movies, shopping areas and meeting spaces will likely be on the horizon, too.