With Christmas being a distant memory after having worked through Dry January and/or Veganuary, and anticipating the transformative springtime, for many event bookers Christmas will be the last thing on their minds. For a canny few though, now is the time that research into Christmas venues, themes and dates starts in earnest. But why?
London is a busy place for Christmas parties so in this new blog we are going to look at why it’s good and prudent to book early and to help you decide when you should book your corporate work Christmas party.
Here at Gibson Hall we started getting enquiries about 2019 office Christmas parties in November 2018 for those clients who are looking to book the key Thursdays and Fridays in late November and December 2019. The popularity of these dates is because if your work party is too close to Christmas then less will attend and being close to a weekend is more preferable so the fall-out of people not going to work the next day is lessened as companies do not want to write-off the following workday. There is therefore much competition for these dates in central London.
These enquiries were not only from regular customers who wanted to secure their chosen date but also from new clients who had missed out in Christmas 2018. Sometimes clients would re-book the following year’s Christmas party a day after they enjoyed that year’s party, but usually clients have secured their set-in-stone Christmas party dates by the end of February each year. So there’s still time to secure one of those in-demand late November and December Thursdays or Fridays but, as they say, the early bird gets the worm.
We think it’s better to start planning your office Christmas party this time of year as last year’s party will be reasonably fresh in your mind and you would have digested the feedback from your boss and colleagues enough to discuss next year’s company requirements, rather than it fall on deaf ears at the height of summer. Will the budget be the same? Did the venue and date work? Was the vibe right for out company? Did they cater well for all, including all our staff’s dietary requirements? Should we do either the same as it could not be faulted or should we look to improve on last year? At least it’s cold enough to discuss planning this year’s Christmas party!
February is always a good time to look at booking your work Christmas party as most venues would have already released details of their festive theme. Similarly, forward-thinking caterers like KUDOS have already decided on their Christmas 2019 menus; whether you’re after seasonal canapés and sit-down multi-course dinners, or Christmas bowl food delights with or without canapés and festive cocktails, you can already make informed decisions and know that it fits your company budget and vibe.
First things first, decide on the preferred date. By deciding that date quickly, your work colleagues are more likely to attend your Christmas party as they have been given so much advanced notice with an invitation. After all, Christmas is such a busy time of year and by having a long lead-up time you can create a buzz around the festive corporate celebration, which is morale boosting, ensuring that your staff are not double booked with other parties and that they have plenty of time to book a babysitter or accommodation. Remember, a party is not a party with only a few attendees in a large room. Deciding early will also give you the opportunity to determine numbers and whether work colleagues can bring partners, or you are merging the needs of a few offices in one central location.
Researching and booking early also gives you a far wider choice of venues to choose from. You may already have your dream venue in mind that everyone can get to and from easily, so our advice is to call that venue and see if your date or which dates are free, so you can secure it and relax knowing that it’s done. This is particularly important if you have a large exclusive Christmas party to organise with hundreds of guests and you wish it to be held in an iconic and opulent venue in the City like Gibson Hall, to create a night to remember.
It’s a good idea to book a work Christmas party that you would want to attend in terms of theme, atmosphere, location, food, festive extras and venue reputation. Steer clear of the average and mediocre! That way, your colleagues will be inspired to do likewise and will look forward to it and only have their party clothing to think about. The Christmas Event Planner at your venue will be able to give you plenty of ideas about how to make your company party a success which you can take all the credit for.
Booking your preferred date (after checking that your boss can attend!) at your preferred venue before anyone else also saves the stress of making many calls to multiple venues to see who still has availability. Nobody should have to go through that – don’t be complacent and book early! It is better to have your set party date and first choice of venue than to have to settle with your twentieth, or your first choice of venue on a date that is not ideal.
If you are booking a non-exclusive Christmas party where you’d be sharing the festivities with people from other companies, then the best tables always get booked on a first come first served basis. If you want to be close to the bar, the stage or the dancefloor, then if you book well in advance your wishes can be honoured.
Popular entertainment services also get booked up early during Christmas, so if you have a go-to live band, act, photographer or table magician you love, then they need to be consulted with as much advance notice too to avoid disappointment.
Last minute bookings always carry a premium price tag, therefore another benefit of booking this early in the year is that many venues offer early booking deals. You’d earn great kudos from your boss for saving the company money. By securing that early deal, venues are more likely to give you some extras. This could be a price per head discount, premium wines for the price of standard, extra canapés, premium place settings or an upgrade on spirits or bubbly.
If you have a set party date but are more flexible on your venue choice then you would be advised to use a free venue-finding service like Venue Reservations https://venuereservations.co.uk/ or by calling 0207 334 3922. Be smart and let them do the leg-work for you by providing a shortlist of available venues that suit your party size, location and atmosphere. The more notice they have the wider choice of venues you will have to pick from. Then all you have to focus on is booking site visits to see the venues for yourself, meet the Event Planners, finalise your budget and arrange the food and drinks tastings. You may discover a new favourite venue or be able to book up a landmark building or famous museum to host your unforgettable work Christmas party, creating enduring memories for your work colleagues.
Is there anything else we can help you with in booking your stand-out corporate 2019 Christmas party?