When planning your party room setup, opt for high-boy tables instead of rounds and chairs to encourage conversation. The limited physical space between those gathered at smaller tables promotes introductions. Additionally, consider food stations or passing heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a sit-down meal. Not only can this save some money, depending on your selections, but it encourages conversation to flow between a variety of guests rather than the few each would otherwise be assigned to sit with at a round of eight.
Janine M. Osborne | Corporate Sales Manager, The Abbey Resort & Avani Spa
In the past year or two, we’ve seen the typical holiday office parties’ shift from being held at restaurants or venues to scaled-back versions right in the office!
There are a few reasons for this. First off…budget. Corporations are scaling back and can save big by avoiding food and beverage minimums, venue fees, additional tax & service fees, as well as staffing or décor fees.
These add up quickly and due to the ideal time period (first two weeks of December with the preferences being Thursday, Friday or Saturday evenings) many venues & restaurants are at a premium and therefore have hiked-up pricing.
Secondly…convenience. Another reason which corporate planners consider carefully is the turnout rate. With family gatherings and vacations approaching, many employees are anxious to get home and consider bad weather and traffic jams major ‘deal-breakers’ for staying late and going to a work-related event before heading home.
With the location right on the corporate premises, planners are guaranteed to save money and have a higher turnout…a win-win situation for everybody!
This leads to a change in the events themselves as well. Where past events may have been structured as formal, seated affairs (which office locales are not ideal for) they opt instead for cocktail parties.
Typically, the designated lunch or break areas within the offices, are easily converted to perfect spaces for cocktails and appetizers with the addition of a few strategically-placed high boy tables.
Corporate planners have realized too, that a capable caterer can easily add the elements of an upscale event by their trendy selections. Simple but elegant passed appetizers in addition to some plattered selections or buffet can serve the purpose of feeding everyone without the hassle of a seated, plated, more formal dinner.
Most importantly, portable full bar service is super-convenient and planners have fun with some unique, corporate-themed drinks with clever names and branded colors.
In addition to the food/beverages, many planners want to include an exciting, interactive element as well. This could be a photo booth, design your own take-a-way candy table, or live musical component.
Nina Madonia, Director, Business Development, Inspired Catering Events
If you’re like millions of other planners across the country, you’re starting to think about how to celebrate the holiday season with your employees. The first order of business? Figuring out when your awesome shin-dig is going to take place! So you open your calendar and immediately start eyeing those three precious Fridays that fall in December but aren’t too close to the holidays. Those golden Fridays are prime picks for many companies and are therefore prime real estate for most event venues. Venues’ rates may be higher, their promotions may not be valid, or they may be sold out because the demand is highest. Selecting a weekday other than Friday can be a huge win for your bottom line! As you’re starting to get information from the venues you’re considering, ask what perks are available for off-peak bookings. You can often score reduced pricing or minimums by making Tuesday the new Friday! As an extra bonus, you may also see increased attendance at a mid-week event as it won’t be competing as heavily with PTO or other parties and events. Kristen Schascheck, Vice President of Sales, Medieval Times