Every year, too many companies leave it until October – or even later – to start searching for venues for Christmas parties. By that time, especially if you are catering for a large group of people or you want lavish surroundings, the best venues will already be fully booked. In fact, to take your team to the kind of venue they deserve after a long hard year of challenging work, you should look to book up to a year in advance, if not more.
Absolute Venues can help with advance bookings for Christmas party venues, so that you secure the most suitable and desirable premises available in your area, at a sensible date during the Christmas holiday season. That means no more ‘Christmas’ parties in January or February, and no more cramped tables forced into rooms that are too small by venues trying to make easy money out of the festive period.
Our free venue finding service searches for professionally run premises, most of which we have used in the past and are happy to recommend again as we are offering a high level of service. These are privately owned venues that rely on our repeated recommendations to bring in new business – and that means you can expect good quality catering for your Christmas meal, comfortable and well-presented banqueting tables, all at a reasonable price.
You benefit first of all by getting our expertise for free, as our team will shortlist several potential venues (or make a single recommendation, if you prefer) which you can visit in person before making a final decision to book. Even beyond that, you can also get a better price on your booking, as many of the venues we work with can offer a discount for booking through Absolute Venues, thanks to the repeated referrals we have given them in the past.
However, it is still essential to start your search as early as possible – if anything, in October you should already be planning next year’s Christmas party if you want to take your team to a location they will not forget.
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Why are Christmas parties so important for businesses?
As a business owner, you could be tempted to see your company’s Christmas party as an extravagance – especially if your corporate finances are currently tight. However, you would write off this special occasion at your own peril, as it is indeed exactly that: special.
While you might have spontaneously thrown a staff get-together from time to time, the festive season is one part of the calendar where an office party is expected as standard. Many of your employees could be in the habit of excitedly chatting amongst themselves about the prospect well before it is even officially announced – and it poses valuable opportunities for you, too. After all, your employees will have been working diligently for months on end – and putting on a Christmas party is your chance to thank them. However, remember the previously-mentioned point about Christmas parties being “expected”? Therefore, it’s not enough for you to simply organise a yuletide party and then announce it – you’ve got to make it a very good one.
In doing so, you can portray yourself as a compassionate boss who knows how hard their employees have worked all year and is now eager for them to let their hair down and indulge in an exhilarating experience that will stay in their memories for weeks, months or even a lifetime. Indeed, as long as you play your cards right with how the party is arranged, why wouldn’t it long remain a treasured memory in its attendees’ heads? It could be one of the only opportunities workers from various departments get to mingle with each other – making the Christmas party a great bonding experience potentially strengthening your employees’ loyalty to your brand.
There’s another, rather simpler reason for you to regularly put on corporate Christmas parties: you should take it upon yourself to look after your workers. Richard Branson once commented that “if you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers” – meaning that, in the long run, those parties could even help you to improve your company’s offering. As you do start organising the event, though, endeavour to make it something truly special – even beyond the usual festive sense. A Christmas party that is only open to your employees and has been carefully organised to reflect your brand’s specific identity will inevitably foster an ‘exclusive’ feel – and who doesn’t want the kudos of getting into an exclusive party?
What are the difficulties when planning a corporate event?
Now that we have underlined the importance of the corporate Christmas party, it’s not hard for us to re-emphasise that it needs to be prepared well in advance – at least six to eight months ahead of the festive season, ideally. Otherwise, you could encounter more than a few organisational hiccups. One simple incentive to plan ahead is that the nearer to the event you book the venue, equipment and other essentials for it, the more expensive all of this could get. As Christmas gets closer, many businesses could be scrambling to add the finishing touches to their festive parties – potentially leading suppliers to hike their prices to capitalise on the increased demand.
Hence, the earlier you start, the less likely you are to face fierce competition for the services of event planners. We’ll return to the subject of event planners a little later – but there are plenty of other things you would need to source as well, such as food, drink and tables.
The first thing you should think about, however, is your budget – as this would determine which Christmas party options are practically open to you. You might not be surprised by the findings of a survey conducted by Corporate Event News, where 18% of corporate event professionals admitted to feeling “overwhelmed by new technology” when trying to organise events.
You might be able to book a venue already equipped with all of the amenities required – so, perhaps audiovisual gear, free Wi-Fi… the list goes on. However, you could still struggle to find Christmas party venues in locations readily accessible to your intended guests.
Remember that some of those people could need to travel from other towns or even countries. So, for these guests, you could need to book local transport services, like minibus or coach transport, and maybe even arrange stays in local accommodation, such as a hotel.
It’s clear, then, that you would have a lot on your plate when trying to organise a private event for your staff. It’s therefore unsurprising that another big challenge capable of befalling organisers of private parties is that of time management.
You could too easily spend a lot of time trying to nail all of the essential aspects of your Christmas corporate party only to then realise, at the last minute, that you have overlooked something that should have got your attention much earlier. How can you keep on top of it all?
The benefits of working with a professional event planner
In the Corporate Event News survey, the biggest challenge faced by corporate event planning professionals was said to be “low budget, high expectations” – with 62% of the surveyed managers citing this as their number-one problem when trying to organise corporate events.
It’s true that planning a corporate event, especially a large one, is typically an arduous and time-intensive process. However, while you might still be tempted to try running the event entirely by yourself, you should keep in mind that an event planner could help you to cut out room for mistakes.
In this sense, hiring an event planner can more than pay for itself in the long term. An event planner can help you with selecting the venue, making travel arrangements, preparing the food menu and organising the entertainment for the event, in the process saving you both time and money.
One simple reason why will be this planner’s vast experience in corporate event management. From their years of working with various other clients, the planner will know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to putting on an event its attendees will remember fondly.
This background will also enable the planner to discern what everything you need – or simply want – for the event will cost and what value each of these elements will bring. There is, after all, a crucial difference between cost and value – as the planner will consider when budgeting for your event.
Given their connections with suppliers and producers, the planner could also often source products and services for your event especially cost-effectively – such as by negotiating with providers to secure lower rates that wouldn’t be available to members of the general public.
With 51% of the Corporate Event News survey respondents having complained that they lack “enough time in the day” to plan an event to the best of their ability, they are likely to appreciate a professional event planner’s ability to handle the logistical side of things.
So, by partnering with someone like this, you can spare yourself a lot of the time and stress that you could otherwise too easily expend when, say, looking for the right photographer or catering company. The planner will also be able to weave all of your event’s elements into a unified theme.
The planner will keep this theme in mind when searching for a suitable venue and deciding what boxes it should tick. For example, they will find a venue that has the right number, size and shape of rooms as well as suitable equipment for playing music or providing whatever else the event requires.
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There are various little things you could do to streamline the whole process of arranging a festive activity for your employees. Much of your corporate Christmas party’s success would begin with you, the person ultimately responsible for it – and, as we have acknowledged, you need to start early. You could find it helpful to come up with a ballpark figure for how much your event should cost. Consider overestimating the overall expense – as you would consequently be better-positioned to absorb unexpected price increases. You can also help yourself to avoid such increases in the first place by only choosing a venue and services that are, at least for as long as you need them to be, fixed in price.
You could also think about what people you will invite to the event and where they will travel from to attend it. Furthermore, you could consider what would especially excite you about a potential choice of venue, as you could later let us know these thoughts by using the ‘venue finder’ form on this page.
Our team comprises venue finders as well as various organisational experts who have the necessary expertise and experience to arrange every aspect of your event – from the dinner to the entertainment, and whether the occasion will be black tie or white tie, an in-person or virtual event, and in a major city like London or somewhere much quieter.