Maybe you volunteered for it, or maybe it was assigned to you, but somehow you ended up in charge of putting together your company’s end-of-year shindig. You’re making guests lists, planning out dates and suddenly you’re faced with the toughest choice.
Choosing the right venue for the your company holiday party is crucial to having an event that lifts morale and engenders good will from all who attend. We’re not overstating this when we say it’s the biggest element to the success or failure of the event!
Don’t worry, we do a lot of these, and we’ve got your back. Here are just a few things to consider when picking the location for your December company celebration.
Location, Location, Location
The obvious place to host your party is at the office – but that’s a fatal mistake.
Asking your employees to come in after hours, bring their significant others, have a few drinks and loosen up in the same place they spend 40+ hours a week doing some of the most stressful things in their life is asking for trouble.
Not only are most offices not well laid out to accommodate party activities (dancing through the cubicles, anyone?), but they are often setup for focus. This means fluorescent lighting, drop ceilings, bland colors – an environment designed to reduce distraction and increase productivity, pretty much the exact opposite of what you want your holiday party to be.
So instead, you’ll want to pick someplace near enough that most everyone can drive their quickly (quickly being relative depending on your particular city). Additionally, if you have team members attending from out of town (remote, telecommute, satellite offices), then it should be located near convenient lodging.
Before booking, tour the venue. See how easy the parking is, if directions are complicated, whether the team will be likely to connect on a personal level when present. Could there be tables setup, or a stage for presenting awards? Will every chair moving on the floor cause an ear-splitting shriek to echo for minutes (looking at you, high school gym).
Speaking of those chairs and tables and podiums and stages and tablecloths and flatware and…you get the idea. Guess what you don’t want to do the day of the party – drive down and spend 2 hours setting all that up.
Make your life easier, super planner! Choose someplace that offers linen service, and has equipment on site you can rent. Not only does it save you time and hassle the day of not having to be a human dynamo wrangling napkins and folding chairs, but there is less risk of something getting misplaced, left behind, and raising your bill with the equipment company.
Just like you want to tour the venue beforehand, check out the equipment. Do the linens feel luxurious or starchy? Are the chairs soft and comfortable, do they feel sturdy? Are trash receptacles provided? Bonus points if they are linen covered, that really takes things up a notch.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Food and drink are the life of the party. Why bring this up when we’re so focused on venue? Just like with equipment, it makes your life as a coordinator so much easier when you can choose a location that regularly handles the catering.
Imagine having liquor licenses already taken care of, a pre-selected short list of vetted and qualified catering companies with custom menus, and the ability to have bartending service on-site. That’s right, it no longer becomes up to you to make sure Sam from Accounting doesn’t do a repeat of last year’s “punch bowl incident”!
Working with professional caterers and your location also ensures smooth service. Will you be doing plated dinners and need to consider individual dietary needs? Or are you going for a more casual buffet-style event and just want a certain vibe from your culinary options? Perhaps you want to encourage mingling by serving appetizers instead. The flow of food during the evening can be a stress or an afterthought – and we all know which one is better.
All the Extras
There are a host of other factors that go into choosing the right venue to host your event. These are the little things that take it from “good” to “great” but are sometimes harder to pin down in advance.
This quick list should help you consider what might be extra, but important, for your company celebration:
- Complimentary wi-fi
- Audio-visual resources
- Staffed coat check
- Shuttle and/or valet parking service
- A dedicated meeting concierge
There are probably more, but those are some of the ones that our guests most often give us great feedback on when we host special events.
Speaking of our special events, if you’ve ever been to a company holiday party or other event hosted here at WinMock, you’re likely aware that we provide all of the above (and much more)! Not to toot our own horn too hard, but we do love hosting those corporate holiday gatherings – there’s just something about the merriment, camaraderie and positive atmosphere we’re partial to.
So if you’re considering a place hosting this year’s company bash in central North Carolina, drop us a line or stop by – we’d be happy to give you the grand tour.