At this time of year, nothing could be further from your mind than the festivities of Christmas. However, if it’s your responsibility to plan the office Christmas party and you want it to be a night to remember, you need to start making plans as the best venues fill up quickly.
Why plan so early?
You might be thinking that nobody will even take Christmas party bookings at this time of year, but you are wrong, many companies book their Christmas parties in January to make sure they secure the best locations. Venues will start to get booked up, as other businesses try to win the race to book the best places. It might seem crazy if you’re used to not thinking about such events until they are on the horizon, but trust us when we say that it will save you a whole lot of stress and last minute panic later in the year. Once you have booked, you can simply relax and look forward to the event.
Get some feedback from last year
Before booking for 2016, why not find out what people did or did not like about last years’ party. If you are going to top it this year, it’s important that you have a full understanding of what worked or didn’t work at the last event.
Think about budget
The size of your budget will have a huge impact on the type of party you organise, this will determine everything from the food, to the alcohol, to entertainment and choice of venue. If employees are paying themselves, they will not be prepared to pay out excessive amounts for one evening, but if you do go for a more expensive choice, you could give them the option to pay in monthly instalments. Allocate the budget dependent on what is most important to your group and the expectations they have.
Securing a date
You can start your planning by thinking about suitable date options. The date will partly depend on venue availability, but consider work schedules too, you don’t want to plan your office Christmas party just as staff need to work overtime or close a crucial deal. Typically, Thursday and Friday nights tend to be most popular. Week night parties tend to be more cost effective, but consider if this will suit your business when the party goers are unlikely to be fit for work the next day! Some companies even organise Christmas parties in January if Christmas is a particularly busy season for them; this is a great way to kick start the new year. If you work in a small office, you could send date options to your colleagues for feedback, but will never suit everybody, so go with the majority.
Find the right venue
The next step is to search for a venue, a great Christmas party venue can be more difficult to find than you think. Firstly, you need to make a decision if you would prefer to join a shared party night with other companies, this is ideal if your numbers are smaller but you want the atmosphere of a large event. If your numbers are larger, you may want a bespoke party for your group, this will of course involve a lot more organising such as researching suppliers for activities and theming. The venue needs to have the right capacity for the number of employees you have and if you are intending to invite partners you will need double the capacity.
A great reputation for food and drink may be important to you and you will need to make a decision whether you want to opt for a buffet or a formal sit down meal. Think about the type of entertainment your employees may like too – are they into pulling crackers, wearing silly hats and telling party jokes, or would they prefer a more sophisticated event?
You will need to consider if the venue is in a convenient location for everyone to get to, such as close to a major City and good transport links or close to your place of work. Accommodation can also be very useful, so that the guests don’t have to worry about finding taxis, whilst parking can be useful for those who are intending to drive home. Select a venue where there are hotels within walking distance, or even book a party in a hotel to make it really easy.
You could find an events company to do all the hard work for you. Why not contact Pandora Events; they can make finding your party venue easy by offering a free venue and accommodation finding service. You simply confirm a budget, location, date options, the number of people and type of event you want. Pandora Events will do all the hard work, searching for venues and hotel accommodation, then propose options to suit you. If you want to arrange a bespoke private function, they can even help by taking bookings and coming up with entertainment and theming ideas.
Leave the details until later
It is not important at this stage to have every element of the party in place. As long as you have a suitable venue and date booked then everything else can be organised later – it is the venues which get booked up quickly. Most good venues will give you the option of an inclusive catering and entertainment package anyway, so it can quite easily all be done in one. Once you have secured a date, tell people about it so that they can save the date and you can ensure a better turnout.
Whatever you do, don’t leave it too late to start your planning – your staff have no doubt been working hard this year and they deserve a fantastic Christmas party to let their hair down!