The Ultimate Employee Holiday Party Planning Guide
Why you should start planning now
You might think, “heck, winter is far away, we’ve got time.” The truth is, these months will fly by and you’ll turn around one day to realize your event is in three months but nothing has been approved. We’ve seen it a dozen times, it’s tough to work backward. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save by planning earlier in the year… plus, how many more guests will attend if you do it right!
Step 1: Let’s start with venues. Venues require minimum deposits months in advance. You better believe your competitor is looking for the most affordable, fun and appropriate venue to host their holiday event, and so should you. You’ll need to make sure your venue has the right capacity, is in a key location, and fits in your budget. If nothing else, at least get your venue booked. Be wary of those hidden fees and restrictions!
Step 2: Putting together a detailed budget takes time and will require many rounds of revisions and approvals before vendors can be booked. So start early and breakdown by vendor category. Always check with the venue for service fees and other additional costs before finalizing any budget numbers. Pro-tip: create a second tab on your spreadsheet that details out payment schedule and due dates so you have enough time to request the appropriate PO #. With our clients we handle all of this for you but this is how we keep track fo all the details.
Theme & Style
Step 3: Corporate Holiday Parties always seem to have specific theme in mind. Get brainstorming with your internal event team and think about what your employees would like to see. Our event design team can then take those theme ideas, build upon them and create a fun and engaging event design plan.
Step 4: The key to success with any corporate holiday party is putting together a fantastic vendor team. The best way to secure a top notch team is to book them early, event producers included. A great vendor team will understand the event vision, be respectful of the budget parameters, have a solid onsite team assigned to the job and have a sales team ready to help as needed.
Once the event plan has been put in place the next step is to focus on employee engagement and getting everyone to the party!
Invitations: Connect with employees through a well designed invitation that not only showcases the event theme but the onsite activities and entertainment. The more excited they are, the more likely they are to attend!
Pre-event contests can also help build excitement around your event. Challenge your employees with a contest and announce the winners the evening of the party. Everyone loves contests and a little competition! You can also send raffles out prior to your event, to entice people to attend.
Event Design and Engagement: make sure your theme lends itself to interactive activities at your holiday party. Many times a casino night can be an instant winner, where guests get to play games all evening while mingling and drinking their favorite beverages. It can also be nice to acknowledge your top employees at your event. Give rewards to those who have worked hard all year, who deserve recognition or who closed a large deal. Rewards can inspire your team to work even harder over the next year, which is a surefire way to increase morale within your company.
Create Memories. Add a photo booth, a videographer, games, and contests at your event. Guests won’t forget the time they won a gift basket or a free dinner at a top local restaurant.
Recognize stellar employees: Take a moment to recognize your employees for dedication, years at the company, employee of the month, etc. Recognition goes a long way to increasing team morale but also adds a special moment to the event.
There you have it! These are some of our best tips for hosting an incredible Corporate Holiday Party. Follow these rules and you’re sure to be successful. Should you need more help planning your event, we’re right here! Contact us directly or visit us on Instagram to see more about what kinds of events we do. Remember, when in doubt, hire someone who can help you make your team proud. You don’t have to become an expert overnight. That’s what we’re here for!
Photos: Kait Miller Photography | Lisa Hause Photography | Jerry Hayes Photography | Sophie Epton Photography