If you are like many of our clients, you’ll have exciting plans and ideas for your team’s festive celebrations this year.

However, please don’t leave it all to the last minute, as that’s a sure-fire way to limit your choices and could result in you having to settle for something less than perfect.

To help you out, we’ve put together 10 quick tips to get you started…

1.) Don’t just book early…book right now.

When it comes to venue sourcing, by planning early, you will get your pick of the best venues, plus you may also bag early bird booking offers, discounts or incentives. Venues start taking Christmas bookings from January, so the clock is already ticking.

2.) Let someone else do the donkey work for you.

We know how long our to-do lists are. So why make them longer than you need to? We highly recommend you use a venue booking agency to do all your venue research. You will only have to make one phone call and they’ll conduct a comprehensive search of over 23,000 UK venues, providing you with an easy shortlist to choose from. This service should be free as your chosen venue will pay the agency a small commission (typically 8%). In fact, it’s better than that. Venue bookers have established relationships with venues, so you should expect to get a better rate than if you were to call yourself. If you don’t know any such agencies, ask us for recommendations.

3.) Maximise attendance.

The second week of December is the most popular time for Christmas parties, with Thursday and Fridays being a preference. By sorting the date of the Christmas party now, you will get your first choice venue AND you’ll be able to send save the dates out earlier which will maximise attendance rates.

4.) Pick a theme.

Apart from added interest for your guests, having a theme will also make it easier for you to then decide on the details, decorations, photo opportunities and entertainment. Plus early bird offers also apply for caterers and entertainment too, so another reason to get planning now.

5.) Choosing reputable suppliers.

A quick google search will deliver thousands of results, but not all companies will deliver the customer service and on day delivery experience you deserve. Our advice is to make a shortlist of two or three potential companies and speak to each of them. So how do you know who to call? Click through to supplier websites and establish their reputation, for example; then organise a video call with their team and see if you get a good vibe with the people you speak to. Remember, it’s not just the event day itself, but the whole customer service experience. What will put you in a happy place whilst organising your event?

6.) Virtual or In-Person…? Have both.

Whilst forced to choose virtual only last Christmas, many companies stumbled on an opportunity to celebrate with all their offices together. So whether this means different offices from around the UK, or event bringing teams from many different countries into the same experience together, companies got much more than they expected.

If you’re feeling brave enough to choose an in-person event only this year, then be sure to choose suppliers and venues that have a Covid guarantee built into their terms and conditions. So if there’s another spike events, you can also rest assured that your chosen date will be secure with the flexibility to switch your activity from an in-person to a virtual one…or vice versa! Take advantage of Blue Hat’s Covid Switch Guarantee by booking as early as today!

But here’s something to consider. If you have teams spread around the country or the world, then choose both. The virtual all-team fun activity will help develop social relationships across your whole team, whilst being a particularly cost effective way to bring your team together (with no hotels, flights or travel expenses, or time lost travelling). And then each office can also organise a local meal with their immediate team to benefit from the high level of team bonding that an in-person event experience can deliver.

7.) Use a fun team experience to create a more memorable day.

Christmas parties have often been about the free bar. Whilst a few drinks with colleagues is a great way to unwind, too many and all you’ll remember about the night before is the thumping headache you have in the morning. It is well recognised that a fun team activity that has something for everyone to enjoy (and isn’t cringy) gives a central focus that takes the pressure off colleagues having to think of what to say to each other for a whole night. There are many virtual and in-person options to consider to match any size of group, any theme and many budgets.

8.) Send personalised gift boxes to add to the overall experience.

There’s a reason it’s called the season of giving. Particularly if you are having a virtual event, you can easily add a real element by having care packs/ gift boxes sent to each delegate in advance of the event. Typically these will include items of food and drink that can then be enjoyed at the time of your virtual event whilst you are all together. It is even possible to add props to each box that can then be used in the activity that your team will partake in.

9.) Consider a bespoke and personalised delegate experience.

By personalising the content of the experience, you will deliver a much more meaningful event experience to your delegates. This will drive engagement rates of the activity and generate even higher feedback scores from your team. They will appreciate the efforts you’ve been to in creating the event for them and they’ll all remember it for far longer.

10.) Make the most of having your whole team in one place.

It’s not very often that you’ll have your whole team together in one place. Maybe the only time in the whole year. This makes it a great opportunity to deliver a little business content (business round up, awards, a personal thank you, etc.) We’d recommend you take advantage of all the work you’ve already done in putting the event on, to at least have a few words from the boss at the start or end of the event.

BONUS TIP… and do this first!

Before you start anything else, think about what the success criteria event for your event is. Once the event has finished, how will you know it has been successful. We’d recommending spending most of your time answering this question as it will make all the other choices you are going to have to make much easier to decide upon.

Looking for some ideas? Click HERE to browse event ideas.

Written by Ben Parkinson

Published on 10 September, 2021

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