• Christie Bellany

How to Choose the Perfect Venue for Your Company's Holiday Party

When it comes to planning your company holiday party, choosing the right venue can be a daunting task. And frankly, it can be pretty stressful.

Maybe you’re an experienced event planner who knows all the best venues in your area. Maybe you’re a mover and shaker who loves hitting the town and frequents all the latest hotspots. Or maybe you’re just the one person in the office who can never say no when asked to take on a new project.

Either way, the last thing you need added to your plate during the holidays is the stress of finding the perfect place to host this year's holiday party. To make the process as easy as possible, here are some tips on choosing the perfect venue:

1. Start looking for venues early. We can’t stress this enough. The best venues book up fast. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect venue and discovering that they are booked every night except Christmas Eve. The best planners put venues on hold a year in advance. Start researching venues in August. Set a calendar reminder now for August 1, 2018 to remind you to start researching venues. Having your venue confirmed by mid October will make this process a breeze.

2. Consider an event planner. Event planners know all the best venues and can help negotiate the best pricing for your party. Event planners are not as expensive as you might think, so it never hurts to request a quote.

3. Location, Location, Location. The location of the venue is the most important factor when planning your party. Do employees want to be in the big city where they can get a hotel room and head out for an after party? Does everyone in your company have a car, because if so, you’re going to need to pay for their parking or host your party somewhere with free parking. You also want to keep in mind where everyone lives. If people are driving home afterward, you don’t want them driving for hours. Try and choose a central location that would be convenient to as many people in your company as possible.

4. Ask for a budget. Knowing exactly what you are allowed to spend on your company’s holiday party is imperative and will save you time in the planning process. Is your company paying for dinner and drinks, or just dinner? Does part of the budget need to be allocated for entertainment like casino tables, DJ or a photobooth? When you reach out to venues you should already have an understanding of what your budget is, so that you don’t waste time speaking with venues you can’t afford.

5. Consider the venue’s responsiveness. Ever write to a venue and all you get is.... crickets? If you’re having a hard time getting in touch with a venue’s salesperson or getting straight answers about pricing and options, be wary. If a salesperson can’t respond to simple questions about your party, it’s hard to have faith that the party will be executed flawlessly. You may want the hottest new club in town to be the place you hold your party, but if they don’t care enough to get back to you in a timely fashion, move on and find another venue.

6. Remember, you can’t please everyone. There’s always going to be that one negative nancy who complains about the wine selection, the traffic, or the DJ (why won’t he play “I Will Survive”?). Your best bet is to determine who it is that you DO need to please (ie. the CEO, the CEO’s wife, your direct report).

Make sure the venue can handle dietary restrictions, and that your theme works with the venue (ie. you can’t have a formal seated dinner in a dance club). Researching venues early, making sure the location and budget works for you, and making sure you trust the salesperson are what we consider to be the most important factors when booking your venue. Still feel overwhelmed? Ask us how we can help you find the perfect venue for your holiday party. And Happy Holidays!

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