By Guest Blogger: Crystal Arcicovich, BBA '09, Walsh College Alumni Association Board Member
It’s the time of year again to celebrate the success of your company by rewarding employees with none other than… the holiday party. For some, planning events may come easy, but for others it’s a chore and if not properly planned can actually be a drag for those that are attending. I’d like to offer my expertise so that in the future, not only will you plan the best holiday gathering, but you will be able to apply the following tips and guidelines to other corporate and social events.
If you are looking for other ways to reward employees, consider purchasing Casino Night tickets and let someone else plan the party.
Step 1 – Set the Event Goals
Better said, decide the purpose for your event. In this case: your company’s holiday party. You can start by defining what you would like to achieve through hosting the event. Maybe you would like to change things up this year and offer a more informal get-together. Instead of the usual dinner party where you talk to the same five people throughout the course of the night, you decide you want more employee-executive interaction by adding a fun twist to the evening. From there you search venues that offer activities such as Star Lanes at Emagine in Royal Oak. In addition to dinner and drinks, you’ve now added bowling, billiards, and movies.
Step 2 – Define Your Budget
One of the most important factors when putting together your event is finding out exactly what you have to spend. Once the budget is put into place, you then must decide which elements in your event are most important to your guests. Is it quality of food? Offering cocktails or drink tickets? Entertainment and/or activities? Transportation or venue location? What about decorations? These are just some of the elements to consider when allocating funds.
Step 3 – Set the Date and Time for the Event
This might possibly be the most important factor to the success of your event. Conflicting events, meetings, holidays, etc. may draw your audience away from attending. Be sure to check the schedules of those funding the event as well as employee vacation requests before selecting a date. I also recommend having more than one selected date (for flexibility) as the desired event venue might be booked on your preferred date. Next is the time frame for your event: events taking place during the work day and/or right after work will have a higher turnout than ones that allow employees to go home first. If the event is being held on a Friday or Saturday evening, allowing significant others/spouses should also be considered. And if you are making this a family-oriented event, Saturday and Sunday afternoons seem to work best.
Step 4 – Create the Planning Timeline
The most important factor when planning any event is setting a timeline for details leading up to the actual event. Once you confirm the date, time, and budget elements with the venue, invitations with an RSVP deadline must be sent out to all invitees. Accurate guest count is very important to the selected venue as it plays a role in the food and beverage package, staffing, and overall success of the event. You will also need to confirm with the venue when the deposit, contract, and final payment is due.
From there you can then direct your focus towards the actual event. The following items are key components that must be decided and discussed with your event planner prior to your event date. In fact, most event coordinators require this information no less than two weeks out.
- Menu selection. Variety is key – everyone’s palate is different. And don’t forget to inform the coordinator of any food allergies or vegetarian needs
- Serve time. Allow a 15-30 minute grace period for those who like to show up fashionably late
- Beverage package. Should be decided in regards to budget, liability, and time of event
- Room/Space set up. You will need to inform your event coordinator of any decorations you intend to set up and if you need additional tables for registration, takeaways, dessert, etc. And if you do decide to decorate/theme the event, be sure to find out when you are able to get into the space for set up
- AV/Media needs. Most venues offer logo placement, wireless microphones (you just never know when the big boss would like to give a speech), custom music and TV selections for an additional fee
- Transportation/Parking. Whether you decided to charter all guests or have them drive separately, please be sure to find out if there is ample parking at the location for all
- Additional details. If there is something you think the venue should be aware of, tell them. It’s always better to be over-prepared then under-prepared
Step 5 – HAVE FUN!
That’s it! If you followed the above guidelines, met all deadlines, and followed through with details, you have created a memorable and fun event for all. The same tips can be applied to corporate meetings, product launches, appreciation events, fundraisers, birthdays, receptions, etc.
BONUS TIP: Start early!
Share with us what you think makes a great holiday party.
Be a guest blogger for the Walsh College alumni blog. The alumni blog is a platform for alumni to inform readers, share knowledge and give advice in their field of expertise. Contact Duc Abrahamson, Alumni & Student Relations Manager to submit a blog entry. Entries will be reviewed by the Walsh College Alumni Association Marketing & Communications Committee.