Yep, it’s almost that time of year again! Mariah Carey is defrosting as we speak, Santa and his elves are pulling doubles in their winter wonderland, and you’re trying to remember where you’ve put your Christmas sweater.
This year UK businesses are set to spend an average of £58 per employee on their festive celebrations. Depending on the size of your organization this can quickly rack up and if you’re in charge of planning your office’s holiday party it can feel like a seemingly insurmountable task! Between choosing the right venue, stocking up on enough drinks, finding a DJ that doesn’t suck, and making sure that everything is done on time, it can be quite daunting.
But don’t worry, TravelPerk’s got your back. It’s a merry season after all, and we decided to share our secret recipe for throwing parties everyone will love.
Why you (and everyone) should be psyched about this party
For fear of stating the obvious, let’s not get into how office parties are great for team building, morale, and bringing employees closer together. They've always been one of the perks employees look forward to the most.
While the way we work may have changed, one thing remains the same. Whether you're in New York or New Orleans, employees want to get together in real life and revel in some holiday cheer! A Christmas party is the perfect chance to get off Zoom and bond as a team. Letting off some steam and celebrating a year of hard work will get everyone in the right frame of mind to take their goals to the next level in the new year . In an increasingly hybrid working world, events like these are also an important opportunity to immerse employees in your company culture and remind them why your organization is a great place to be!
TravelPerk’s secret recipe for company holiday parties everyone loves
One of the first things we hear as newbies at TravelPerk is “You won’t believe what went down at last year’s holiday party”. And everyone has a different story to tell. A huge part of our company culture is this drive and desire to get together in person, whether that’s for professional meetings, casual drinks with our colleagues, weekly all-hands, or a seasonal bash.
So, what’s our secret recipe? We caught up with Miriam, our Events Manager, to get the inside scoop on how to make your next company party a roaring success. You won't even need to hire a party planner! Here are her tips:
1. Party planning is not a last-minute affair
The holiday season is extremely busy for corporate events, and event spaces tend to get booked up fast (especially the good ones). Getting a jump on all the other companies' planning parties is a must. But early planning is about more than just getting the right venue. There are a lot of moving parts when in event planning, and it’s important to have all your ducks in a row well in advance so you can get to everything.
2. There’s no such thing as over-communication
Don’t be shy! Repeat yourself as many times as you need so that your message really sinks in. Employees tend to be extremely busy towards the end of the year, so a lot of the time, the information you share can be overlooked. It’s also really important to have a place where all the details are available for everyone to consult at any time. At TravelPerk, we use Notion as a centralized hub for information of this kind. We also open up relevant Slack channels for each event and have a dedicated email address so people can ask questions when they need to.
3. Involve your community in planning the event
This is one of our key pillars at TravelPerk. You’re building events for your community, so let them be part of the organization and involve them in your decision-making process (where possible, of course). Let them share their holiday party ideas, tell you what activities they want to participate in, when they’d like the party to take place, or even what goodies people might find cool. This time around, we got the whole company to vote on a theme.
4. The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach
… And that’s not a joke. Whether you opt for funky food trucks, a swanky sit down meal, or a DIY potluck, food is one of the most important things attendees will remember after the party is over. Seriously. This year, we selected a few people to attend a tasting session and pick the best menu available. It was a really fun appetizer for the main event with people from across our different teams. It ended up being a great opportunity for them to mingle and get to know each other—not to mention, try some really delicious food. We are based in Spain, after all.
It's also important to make sure your menu doesn't leave anyone hungry! Ensuring you cater to different dietary requirements is another way to make your employees feel cared for and appreciated. A quick email survey can get you up to speed on your team's requirements.
5. Create opportunities for people to interact
Yes, that is just a fancy way of saying organize group activities. The whole point of events like these is for people to step outside of their usual, day-to-day range of interaction. We want them to meet new people, build new relationships, and create positive memories with their colleagues. A surefire way to do that is through a few short icebreaker party games. People will let their guard down and meet people they might not normally have the chance to work with.
6. Let your budget guide you
OK, so it’s really easy to get carried away. Event planners who tell you otherwise are lying. You want to organize the best corporate holiday party for everyone, and it’s very tempting to go crazy and let yourself be carried away by all the incredible options available on the market. But establishing a clear event budget and sticking to it is essential. It’s going to act as your guiding compass to building the right kind of party for your company. It will show you what you can do, and set limits to what you can’t.
7. Factor in feedback
Let's face it: hosting holiday parties is a costly undertaking! While there are tonnes of benefits to getting everyone together, you will only truly reap these if employees have a good time! As we have already discussed, there's zero point in planning to dance the night away if your teams would prefer a delicious, high-end dinner.
But as we all know, even the best-laid plans sometimes fall short. Be bold and follow up after the festivities with a post-party poll. Ask for feedback on what went well and what didn't so you can make the following year's fiesta even more memorable.
8. Don’t miss out on discounts
If your party plans require your teams to hit the road, you should take advantage of various corporate group travel discounts. From reduced hotel room rates to deals on airfares and ground transportation, if you are moving multiple team members, it might be time to call in the experts.
MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) specialists can help you save time and money when planning corporate events. For example, the team at TravelPerk can help you access the industry's best rates for travel and accommodation arrangements and assist with sourcing suitable venues for your shindig.
TravelPerk's Meetings & Events team can help you book venues and get exclusive discounts on group travel
9. Be a Monica when it comes to scheduling
Remember Monica Geller’s mental checklist from Friends? Yeah. Do that. Only write it down. Keep a detailed schedule of the party, with everything that will happen clearly outlined at every step of the event. Not sure where to start? Our 19 step corporate event checklist breaks down everything you need to ensure your holiday event is a roaring success!
Things can go wrong all the time, so don’t leave any issues open and get ready for unexpected things to crop up. Always have a plan B or some kind of contingency plan for things that can go wrong.
10. People love pictures and videos
Skip the photo booth and hire a photographer and/or a videographer, budget permitting. People love to look back on events like these and remember the fun they had! Oftentimes, they’re too busy enjoying themselves to take their own photos, and even if they do, there’s nothing more fun than seeing candid photos of yourself taken by other people! Not to mention this will help further reinforce your company culture.
11. Last but not least… rely on your team
Ask for help when you need it! It feels like we’re stating the obvious here, but people don’t always do that. Planning an event is a lot of work with many obstacles on the way, and you do not need to do everything alone. Rely on your team to help you. No one is an island!
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