The holiday party season is upon us. I am definitely not a party planner, but I’ve learned a few things about holiday parties over the years. Allow me to share some thoughts as you finalize the plans for your company’s 2011 holiday party:
Consider an alternative to the traditional splashy Saturday-night full dinner event. You can save money and reduce the chances that the people you want to attend will have conflicts.
One option is a mid-week party. You’ll find venues have greater availability and are more likely to be willing to negotiate on prices and services. Instead of a full dinner, offer a heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet instead.
Another option is to have an event in your office during a portion of the workday. Set up a sandwich and non-alcoholic beverage buffet in your break or conference room, and have a DJ come in to play music and MC any award presentations or announcements you want to make. I’ve had a lot of experience with events like this, and I’d be happy to share more details with you. An in-office event like this can not only work during the holidays, it can be effective at any time throughout the year that you want to observe something special, like a company anniversary or performance awards.
If you’re having trouble finding a workable date for your holiday party in December, think about scheduling it earlier (November) or later (January). In November, you’ll still be competing with weddings, but January is a very slow month for event service providers, so your chances of getting a great venue, excellent rates, and the service providers you want are strong.
Regardless of where, when, and how you hold your company party, keep these important tips in mind:
1. This is a company party and all company rules of conduct apply.
2. Limit alcohol consumption by hiring a bartender, issuing drink tickets, or restricting the hours the bar will be open.
3. If the party is at a hotel, negotiate a special room rate so guests can go to their rooms after the celebration instead of having to drive. If the party is not at a hotel, arrange for designated drivers or even taxis to make sure your guests get home safely.
4. Before the party starts, do a check of the room for safety issues. Scan the floor for cables and other things people might trip on. Make sure decorations are secure and aren’t likely to shift or fall. Check that candles are positioned so that the flames aren’t going to ignite an unwanted fire.
What’s your best business holiday party tip? Please use the comment function below to share.