Strike while the iron's hot: Tips for planning your 2016 Christmas party!

Christmas Champagne

How was this year's Christmas party?  Whether it was a roaring success or you'd like to make it better next year, we're here to help, with top tips and advice on planning the perfect event.

So don't put it off - start the year as you mean to go on, with a big tick on your 2016 To Do list!

1.  Book as early as possible

 It's never too early to book your venue.

It's not unusual for companies to book in January to secure the best dates for next year's party, and most will book by September at the latest.  Be aware that when booking later your options may be reduced, particularly around popular dates, and that you'll have to cram more party planning into a much shorter timeframe. 

2.  Work with the experts

You can dramatically reduce your workload by holding your party at an off-site venue. Remove the hassle of setting up and clearing away afterwards and benefit from a team of experts to do all the leg-work and bring your vision to life.
3.  Get everyone involved

Getting other people's input, availability and travel expectations will allow you to choose a venue that suits as many people as possible.  Then,identify your team of helpers and their particular set of skills, and don't be afraid to share the workload.
4.     Get the 'Save the Date' notice out

Don't fret about creating the perfect invitation - you're planning early so you've plenty of time! The priority at this stage is to get the date into everyone's diary. So get a 'Save the Date' notice out as soon as your booking is confirmed and let the details wait.
5.     Plan food and drink

Think about whether you are taking a formal or a more relaxed approach. If it's a formal event, a three-course meal or canapés could be perfect, or if you want a relaxed theme, you might need a venue who can suggest something a little bit different, perhaps with tapas selections or sharing platters.
And don't waste precious time chasing up your fellow party-goers' menu choices - choose a venue who can manage this for you.  At QHotels we use 'Tell The Chef' - an automated system which will email all your guests at regular intervals until they confirm their menu choices, and they'll even have a reminder on their name card for when they inevitably forget on the night what they've ordered!
6.     Pack more into the festivities
We're seeing more and more companies combining their Christmas parties with their annual conference or team building activity, creating cost efficiencies, adding value to the overall experience and giving staff more time away from the shop floor. If this is the case, a residential event might help you link the two and choosing a venue who can offer you bedrooms, conference space and team building expertise would allow you to plan this as a single-site event. 

(Did we mention that we can do all this at QHotels?! )
7.    Have fun with the theme

For many companies, the theme of the party is one of the most important elements and it's a great way to stamp your mark on this year's party.

Easy fancy dress themes which always go down well include an 'alphabet' theme, where everyone dresses as something which starts with the same letter, or a colour theme where you ask everyone to dress in a particular hue.

The key is to think creatively, but go with what suits your company and colleagues. And if you're struggling for inspiration, talk to the Event Co-ordinator at your venue who is bound to have some great suggestions to fit your party perfectly.
 8.    Don't fret about the details
While added extras can be great,  the key things at a party are that everyone is well fed, well watered, and kept entertained - whether that's with a disco or something more elaborate.  Get those details right and everyone will forgive the lack of a croupier or photobooth.
9.    Sit back and relax!
With the main decisions made, the date booked and the venue confirmed at the start of the year, the pressure is truly off.   Yes, there are more decisions to be made but these can wait until the summer, so for now just sit back and relax.

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