The month of July isn't reserved for just fireworks and watermelon. It may not seem a likely time to start Christmas Party planning, but for event planners, "Christmas in July" has a different meaning. If you want your corporate holiday party to be the hottest of the holiday season, it's best to start now.
"Holiday Party Planning in July" Means Something Different to Event Planners
1. Securing Prime Dates from a Short Window of Time
The date of a holiday party is a big factor in the success of your event. Given that there are only so many days in the month of December, there is a lot of competition for attendance. If you want your corporate holiday party to be on a Saturday, options are pretty limited. The earlier you can narrow down your dream date with a second and third runner up, the better chance you will have at securing the most coveted venue and services for your event.
2. Getting the Hot New (or Tried and True) Venue
Popular venues can be tricky, especially if you haven’t worked with them before. Some will require a 6-month lead time while some may start booking 12 months in advance. Start scouting your venue as soon as you can. You may be surprised to find out that even in July, many may already be booked. If you discover a venue you like that you know will book fast, we recommend securing your spot soon after your event ends. One thing you'll be happy to learn is that you can often get better pricing when you book the venue this far out. Finally, be sure to think about parking and transportation to your event. There can be a lot of traffic during the busy holiday season and you want to make everything as easy as possible for your guests.
3. Start Maximizing Attendance and ROI
As soon as you have your date and venue selected, start working on your invitation strategy. Are you doing a photo shoot? Do locations and photographers need to be booked? Similarly, there is usually an invitation approval process with event stakeholders that can take additional time. If you have a VIP guest list; say political figures or high-profile celebrities, you may need to start working with their team well in advance.
4. Lining Up the Best Vendors in Advance
Some venues have their own food and beverage department so that makes things easy on the event planner. If you do go the route of an outside vendor please be aware that there may be an additional charge from the venue. If you are bringing in specialty wines for example, it might be good to get your order in ahead of time.
5. Contract with Entertainers of Your Choice, Not Whoever's Left
Entertainment can book up quickly in December. If you want the hottest DJ or live band it is best to start contacting them 6-12 months out. If you are using a venue or entertainer out of the norm, say a popular waterfront pier with a troupe of trapeze artists, these may take additional permits and require more planning time.
Finally, how good will it feel to know that your holiday party is underway before Labor Day? If you'd like to get a head start, professional event planners can be an invaluable contact to have in your corner especially for large corporate events. They have the connections and relationships to make event magic happen. If you are beginning to plan a corporate holiday party, give Strategic Event Planning a call today.