Tasked with organizing a holiday party that’s anything but ho-ho-hum this year? Want to spread goodwill, thanks & appreciation to employees, clients, or both, but not sure the budget allows?
You can blame the poor economy for causing many owners and managers to feel more like Scrooge than Santa in recent years, BUT, this tried and true tradition is back on the rise. It’s an effective and relatively inexpensive way to boost morale at your place of business in a big way. Orange County’s finest catering and event planning pros have shared these six steps to get your festive party started :
• Advance planning makes it more likely to get the best location and dates for your event (it can save money too). Get the planning started now, it’s not too late!
• Scheduling around the holidays can be a real challenge for you and your guests. A successful event has to be well attended, so consider all possible dates and times. Get creative (but don’t stress – we can help).
2. BUILD YOUR EVENT AROUND ITS PURPOSE
• Identify your goals, objectives and desired outcome. Reflect on the purpose of this event in every phase of planning, it will help spur those imaginative ideas and guide your decision-making.
• Design an agenda that meets all the event’s needs. Do you want a warm and casual environment, a relaxing reprieve from business as usual? Or, will there be speakers, awards, team-building, videos, presentations?
• Plan for a good balance of interaction, excitement and comfort for your guests.
3. FUND THE FUN WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK
• You can host a fabulous event on any budget. Be as generous as your budget allows, but not wasteful.
• Brainstorm interesting ways to stretch those dollars while creating the impact and results you’re looking for. Spend your money on what matters most to you and your company.
• Co-hosting your event with others (affiliates, business partners, neighboring companies, etc.) is a great way to defray costs and provide a unique networking opportunity.
• Re-purpose your décor and other items remaining after your event. There are many deserving organizations in your community that would benefit by this gesture.
4. CREATIVITY COUNTS – CHOOSING A VENUE, THEME AND ENTERTAINMENT
• Think outside the “holiday party” box. Unusual locations like a zoo, aquarium, art gallery, airport, park, boat or even a backyard can become a terrific venue choice. Look to your venue for inspiration when coming up with a party theme. Don’t forget to ask us for great venue ideas.
• Drum up excitement and create memories by planning activities that everyone will enjoy.
• Think twice about your guest list and how best to capture their attention. You can engage your guests in many many ways - perhaps a family affair, an open house for a charitable purpose, bringing in a local celebrity, etc.
• Some form of entertainment at the beginning of the party can be a great ice-breaker. Background music is always a plus. A band or DJ can really kick-start the fun if the budget permits.
• Look to your community (and even within your own company) for great entertainment. You may find talented musicians, singers, comedians, magicians, speakers, or others willing to volunteer or perform for a small fee.
5. CONSULT WITH PROS – SPEND WISELY
• Speak with an experienced local caterer and you will have access to a wealth of information.
• Don’t waste time & energy (or that of your staff). Be sure to check the cost effectiveness of a caterer who can expertly bring the most value to your event. Remember, they know the best venues, vendors, food and drink selection, and so on. By the way, a good caterer can help with total party planning and will implement a smooth experience from start to finish – they’re not just about great food.
• Speaking of food, it has to be fantastic, and, there should be a lot of it! If you do nothing else, your guests will enjoy and appreciate a wonderful food experience.
• Safeguard your company and guests from the inherent dangers surrounding food prep and service with the help of an established catering firm
6. EXECUTE WITH EASE
• If you provide alcohol, don’t hold the party in your office. Limit liability with these tips for keeping your event safe and fun. Your guests can have a great time even if the party is alcohol-free. Mocktail Bars are great fun and so are aptly created Signature Mocktails. Juices, teas, coffee, hot cocoa and such are perfectly good alternatives.
• With a detailed plan from start to finish, you are sure to accomplish all the goals of your event.
• Stir up a good time, then mix and mingle!