Christmas party season, though incredibly fun and festive, requires strategic planning – from deciding on the parties to attend and the ones you have to miss (that 9am meeting the next morning won’t be pleasant if you have been out late the night before), to just how festive your outfit should be.
For event organisers, the party season requires an even more strategic approach. Faced with a full calendar of events in December, every party is an opportunity to gather inspiration for event-planning in the new year, identifying new trends and finding out what works.
We take a look at the top tips event organisers can collect as they don their Christmas jumper and dodge (or maybe not!) the mistletoe.
Every event is an opportunity to scope out new venues. You may think you know every available event space within the city you host events, but there are constantly new venues popping up and an older space may have had a facelift. So, when you go along to sip mulled wine and investigate, make sure you take note of the following:
• It is important to consider the transport links available for attendees to get to and from the venue. Nobody wants feedback that the place was too hard to get to – a long walk after a packed bus journey, for instance – or too hard to find. Ask yourself – if you held an event there, would you find it easy to direct people to the venue?
• What is the access like? Is there a loading bay and separate entrance for suppliers to use? Does the venue cater for wheelchair access? Event organisers should do a perimeter check to confirm this before they consider the venue for their own event
• How are the acoustics inside the venue? If your attendees can’t have relatively easy conversations even when the music is playing in the background, this will impact their enjoyment of the event. High ceilings and a bad sound system can cause issues here, so it is worth assessing this as you dip in and out of conversations
Generally, be open to considering unusual venues for your next event. With the growth in event organisers looking outside of traditional venues, consider that a space you may never have deemed appropriate for your event may well be. Pay attention to the crowd there and the remits of the space you could use – maybe it’s time to start thinking outside of the box for 2018?
2. Sources of inspiration
We know that event attendees expect more from events than ever before. They want immersive experiences and they want to be surprised. Even at Christmas parties, organisers will take steps to ensure those extra details to thrill the guests.
From quirky cocktail menus to experimental lighting, small touches can make the attendees feel part of something more than an average event. Event planners should use the festive party season as a chance to collect ideas and inspiration for the new year. Even if the quirk is Christmas themed, if it is a hit with the crowd then think about how you could apply it to your own event.
Take note of the varying extras – both good and bad – and how they contributed to the enjoyment of the attendees.
3. Market research
By networking at Christmas parties, event planners can find out what the crowd are enjoying. Did the quirky extras work? Is the food and drink hitting the mark? How do the guests feel about the music?
Being a guest at a party, and surrounded by party goers, is the ideal opportunity for market research. Gaining first hand insight into the general impact of the evening, you can apply this feedback to your events going forward.
Keep an ear to the ground and if people express an opinion on any aspect of the event, ask them to expand. If it’s positive feedback, what did they like about it? If it’s negative, why is that, and how could the event planner have done it differently?
4. Social media activity
If physical aspects of the event – like the venue, drinks or food – are particularly visually appealing, you may notice lots of phones flashing. A sure sign that a Christmas party has been a success is a flurry of social media activity.
In a world where people are keen to share every experience online and show off the great time they are having, online venue check-ins and social platform hashtag searches will allow event organisers to see the impact of their event and garner feedback.
As an event planner at a Christmas party, you can witness the level of social media activity on the ground and identify quickly what it is that is capturing the attention of the attendees. Maybe it’s the Christmassy props or the showman mixologist at the cocktail bar. Whatever it is, take note.
Our last tip…enjoy yourself! Once you have followed all of the above, unwind and get involved in the festive cheer.