Yes, I want to get back under the skin of it already…
The key to inspiring, impressing and entertaining guests is by choosing a venue that reflects the mission of
your Christmas Party and matches the ethos of the company. But where to start I hear you question?
As with all capital cities, London really offers an overwhelming plethora of venues to choose from and so a clear brief is essential. Think of what you want: Elegance? Casual? Classic? Fun? If you want to vary each year and offer your guests variety think about clear goals and write down a detailed description of your ideal venue.
When you view, think about how each venue fits your brief and ask the right questions from the guests’ view. If you aren’t sure what type of venue you would like to offer, we think of at least 3-5 ideas (regardless of how abstract) and you or your venue searcher should set up at least 3 venues for each idea to view.
Remember, don’t rush – work your events agency to work with that venue until you are ready to make your final decision.
The Dating Game
It goes without saying that for Corporate Parties Wednesday and Thursday nights will be the most in-demand and suitable days of the week for your guests. Pin down your date early – ask the big figures who you need to please as soon as you can and get the approval you need. As soon as you have a date you have the power!
Working to a budget? If money is tight but you have high expectations with large numbers think of being flexible. Can you work your event to a Monday evening? Can the Christmas Party be in November rather than December? We work with venues to understand not only their busiest days but their quietest days. Knowledge like this empowers us to negotiate and fit the budget that’s playing on your mind.
Book early. I cannot stress this enough and it’s what encourages me to write today. The most exciting and new venues will get booked up to one or two years in advance for key dates but don’t panic. With so many to choose from, you will always have options, you just have to dig a little bit harder for them!
Surprise and Excite
Think of how each venue matches what you want to provide for the guests. They are the ones that will talk about your event afterwards and will remember the Christmas Party from 2016 each year – you need to set that benchmark, go on!
Plain venues are boring, be prepared to look at a few that are different and add spice to the line up a little. Venues have a way of surprising you when you don’t expect them too – which is why we always view a venue and meet their events management team before booking for clients. We put ourselves in your shoes and think of how the space works for what you want to do. Get the right venue and the food, drink and fun will follow in pursuit.
For the food… see the menus and get a taste for what food they can provide. After booking a large-scale event, a tasting will always be offered. Take advantage of that perk and taste as much as you can. What guests are eating will be coming from your choices and you will be confident if you have tried the dishes yourself!
Same Old Sally
This is a big player when thinking of Christmas parties – where did you go last year? Or the year before? Are there any venues that already worked well? Venues love loyalty and knowing their clients so try and old face. I guarantee they will be happy to see you – they already know who you are, what your guests like and how you work. All of these will help you negotiate prices, choose the best food and squeeze the best from the venue for what you are paying them for.
Think about which guests are coming and the circumstances. Are they arriving straight from the office and is Christmas a busy time for workload? If yes, choose a venue that allows guests to head away from their desk with maximum 15 minutes walk. However, if it’s your quiet time in November and December, be a little more adventurous with a max of 30 minutes travelling. Just make sure it isn’t too far from the office so that guests can relax knowing that they can easily go home via normal routes.
The key message; book as early as possible, take a chance on something more exciting and know your brief.