Lifestyle

‘Tis the Season: How to Plan the Ultimate Work Holiday Party

This year we are sure to see an extraordinary return of festive celebrations. The world has changed over the past few years, and work holiday parties are expected to undergo a refresh — focusing on impressing guests and creating memorable experiences.

Get into the spirit with Instagram-worthy décor

With the return of the full-scale holiday party, companies are looking for ways to use design and other creative elements to make an elevated experience for guests, especially after a period of virtual-only gatherings. With that in mind, event planners this year are gravitating toward venues that are highly customisable over more standardised spaces, such as restaurants, bars, or nightclubs. The beauty of a blank-slate venue is its ability to bring an organiser’s creative vision to life, whether that may be splashing high-tech visuals and company-branded items throughout, or installing an immersive winter wonderland replete with Christmas trees and projections of snow falling. When organisers go the extra mile with creative décor, it can inspire company pride and dazzle guests with photo-friendly environments that encourage selfies, exploring, or simply having fun.

Turn the culinary experience into “wow” moments

First, determining the format for guests’ food and beverage experience is essential. Should there be a seated-style dinner, a buffet, special food stations, or passed hors d’oeuvres? Event planners will benefit from venues that offer on-site culinary teams who can help not only with meal-planning, but also in incorporating elements to surprise and delight. For example, a chef’s team that is up-to-date on food trends may suggest a fondue station, made-to-order sushi, or a thematic menu of creative bites that go beyond standard party fare. Organisers may also consider bringing in an expert mixologist to craft Instagram-friendly concoctions, including this year’s trend toward savoury libations (Caprese martini, anyone?). A hot drink bar, featuring hot apple cider and spiked cocoa with marshmallows and other mix-ins, is also a holiday hit. Last but not least, another way to wow your guests — and support inclusivity — is to offer a diverse food and drink programme that provides options for those with food allergies or other dietary restrictions.

Relieve stress and show appreciation with high-quality experiences and gifts

With some employees working hybrid or remotely, the stakes are even higher for companies to create an event worthy of making people leave their homes. Event planners this year are raising the bar by adding employee experiences that go beyond eating, drinking, and karaoke. With the challenges of the last few years, wellness has become a major theme and providing guests with options to unwind from the stresses of the year by providing unique relaxation stations, such as sound baths, reiki, or chair massages has become a great way to differentiate your event offering. With guests sated and relaxed, they can leave the party on a high note by picking up a specially crafted gift on the way out. Employee gifts are making a resurgence, but not the swag items of yore. Key chains and tote bags are out; high-quality, customised gifts are in. Organisers may want to set up a station near the exit, where venue staff can hand out gifts and wish guests good night. Current trends point to using eco-friendly bags (sustainability is another theme this year) and filling them with items such as a laser-etched whiskey glass or an embossed leather good from a local artisan. Companies take note: a well-made gift can do wonders for goodwill and making guests feel valued.

Find a partner, not just a place

Tis the Season: How to Plan the Ultimate Work Holiday Party

When it comes to large holiday parties, company planners often must decide on basically everything — decorations, audio-visual elements, food and drinks, entertainment, gifts, and more — and then manage the logistics of it all. Organisers may want to consider opting for a venue that includes an on-site support team led by a single point of contact — someone who can partner with you on all aspects of holiday party planning, from theme to vendor selection. The right partner can serve as both advisor and project manager, and the right venue will already have established relationships with outside vendors. An in-house team can provide an event’s technology requirements, decorate, manage the entertainment, and staff everything from the check-in table to guest activities. Convene, for example, is a full-service hospitality company that designs and operates event spaces, managing all aspects end-to-end. With a concierge-style venue, party planners can skip the legwork and headaches of multiple vendor contracts and leave checklists behind. What’s more — they might even be able to enjoy the party themselves! Everyone deserves a moment to relax at the end of the year — even event organizers. A thoughtfully designed holiday party has many benefits: enhancing employee retention, boosting morale, and strengthening company culture. Company leaders know that the holiday party isn’t just another work event; it’s an opportunity to celebrate employees’ hard work and show they are valued by giving them a high-quality experience.

About Convene:

Convene is a premium hospitality company that designs and operates meeting, event, flexible office, and
membership spaces. In 2023, the company acquired etc.venues, an established leader in urban day conferencing, growing its global network to 38 locations across nine citiesin the U.S. and UK. Convene thoughtfully combines beautiful yet intuitive design, fully-integrated technology services, and a warm and welcoming environment to create a turnkey solution for extraordinary meeting and work experiences.
To getstarted planning your company Christmas party with Convene, contact inquire@convene.com. For more information, visit http://convene.com/

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