Holiday Events – Planning Checklist
Having a company holiday party boosts company morale, builds camaraderie and sends a message of appreciation to the folks that help run the company on a daily basis. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about the accomplishments of the year and things to look forward to in the coming year.
For those of us that have planned a company holiday party, we can attest to how nerve wrecking and tedious it can be. Here is a checklist that can help make the planning easier.
- Set a date – Setting a date can be harder than it sounds. One common method is to send a survey with date options and pick the date with the most number of votes. Another option is to pick a date a date 3-4 months in advance to ensure maximum attendance. Also make sure you send out communication to “save the date”.
- Determine your event components – A normal checklist can include the following
- Food & Beverage
- Goody Bags
- Child care / kids entertainment
- Set/Define your budget – It is important to set your budget. The budget will determine your event venue, food and entertainment options. Figure out the percentage allocation of the budget to each event component. E.g 30% on Food & Beverage, 20% on venue, 10% on Transportation and the rest on Entertainment.
Expert Tip – Per person can generally average between $100-$150.
- Determine the kind of holiday event you would like to have – We are always trying to outdo ourselves from the previous year. We constantly hear how the corporate event planners want to wow the event guests by doing something beyond what they did last year. A general holiday event can follow any of the following formats:
- Seated dinner
- Buffett dinners
- Formal event
- Casual get together – could be at the homes of the one of the company management team.
- An event that includes a series of fun activities
- Themed event
- Find the Venue, Food & Drink options –
- Venue – Talk to your team about the type of venue they would like. Some options include Hotels, Restaurants, Barn Venues, Cruise Dinners, Museums, Ice Rinks, Banquet Facility, Bar/Club, Zoo, Entertainment Venue, and Golf club.
Expert Tip 1– Take into consideration the after event activities. Are there any area attractions within walking distance? If you are going to have out of town guests then you need to take into account accommodations within walking distance too.
Expert Tip 2 – Dont get blindsided by cancellation policies. Always check the cancellation policy before making a booking.
Expert Tip 3 – Make it easy to get there.
- Food – Food is one of the key ways to wow your guests. There are tremendous options available with farm to table options, fusion cuisine from different parts of the world and authentic cuisines from different parts of the globe to name a few. Since a lot of venues offer their own food options, it is worthwhile to spend sometime on the type of food that will be served at the event.
Expert Tip – Make sure you cater to the vegetarians, vegans and other dietary restrictions in your group.
- Transportation for the guests – If you have a number of out of town guests or a large party of your guest list is coming from a long distance you may want to consider providing transportation options such as renting a bus. If you expect a lot of alcohol to be served at the event, arranging Uber would be a good idea.
- Overnight accommodation – This goes hand in hand with providing transportation. If the event venue is far for most guests, it might be best to also factor in some accommodation options.
- Entertainment – If you really want to take your event up a notch, consider providing entertainment. This could be live music, DJs, Improv, Sketch artists for kids etc.
- Event Parking – Consider event parking for your guests before settling on a venue.
- Audio / Visual requirements – Do you need to make speeches? Factor in the event space setup, equipment and any extra time needed for that.
- Other – Other event items can include Decorations, Photographers, Raffles, Photo booths etc.
- Send out event reminders.
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