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Saving the turtles

Interest in environmental responsibility presents a marketing opportunity.


If you haven’t considered positioning your rental business as a good guy in the battle with climate change, now is the time. Buzzwords like “going green,” “environmental sustainability” and, according to my kids hashtag, “save the turtles,” are making daily appearances in the news, politics and our businesses.

That being said, there’s no better time to be in the event rental industry. In Eventbrite’s 2019 user survey, six per cent of respondents said environmental responsibility influenced their event planning decisions. In 2020, that number jumped to 59 per cent. This trend will only continue to grow.

The reusable event rental industry is inherently green. Why not leverage this environmental awareness to grow your business? Here are a few ideas to help you re-position and re-brand your existing product line.

Stewardship and sponsorships
Don’t let reusable plates, cups napkins and cutlery be an afterthought. Market these items to your customers as an environmentally friendly alternative to paper or plastic disposables. And really, food just tastes better using a proper steel fork and knife.

Despite this, there have been times I’ve opted for plastic over china because of cost. While you might not win every customer over, you have a really good chance in the B2B event space.

Remind event planners that reusables make a great sponsorship opportunity. What better PR than having your brand on a coffee break that’s not only good for keeping attendees awake, but eco-friendly? Supporting sustainability at events fosters positive feelings that can help future customers establish trust and pay more attention to your brand.

Make sustainable sophisticated
Tables and chair rentals are an event standard for attendee seating and exhibitor displays. Because a majority of rental tables are in rough shape, I was recently surprised to find a few rental operators not offering table coverings – plastic or linen! Cloth coverings are rentable and reusable, but if you’re in market to restock your inventory, consider choosing tables that are sleek and stunning without a linen. Many exhibitors have their own reusable, branded tablecloths anyway, and for those who don’t, brochures or gadgets look just as appealing on a clean black top. Some customers might ask, “Where will our exhibitors hide their supplies?” The answer could be to upsell a pipe and drape storage section in the back corner of the hall.

Generations of customers: From Boomers to Gen Z
A Neilson report found in 2015, 73 per cent of Millennials were already willing to pay more for sustainable, environmentally-friendly products and services. Imagine what that number is today!

While Gen Z’s and Millennials are strong climate change advocates, Baby Boomers are empowered to do something about it with their wallet. Boomers have the money to pay for things that matter – whether that’s their child’s wedding rentals or a posh corporate gala.

Going green seems to be here to stay. Market the products and services you offer as an alternative to disposables in your advertising, on social media, and at industry events. Position your rental business as a natural leader in environmental stewardship.

And when you’re shopping for the latest and greatest products for the next event season, don’t forget to think back to your customers and their needs. Chances are, if you have a diverse inventory, you’ll be able to grow your bottom line (and supply all those Boomer retirement parties!)


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