Weekend Poll Results: December 2016 Corporate Parties

With thanks to all my readers who are participating in my Weekend Polls feature, here are your responses to my question: How do you manage event planning for the holidays?

THE RESULTS

Christmas Time Copyright Shelagh DonnellyMore than half the respondents have begun their plans:  A total of 54% of respondents have already begun work on their organisation’s 2016 events. This is not as time sensitive for those who host their events onsite, but you still want to pin down dates. For the most part, gatherings are relatively intimate; just over a third of respondents are coordinating events for more than 200 people.

2016 venue considerations and budgets: When it comes to venue, reputation once again won out over other considerations, and 36% of respondents have a budget of $1 – $5k. Another 18% will be spending somewhere between $5 – $10k, and budgets are, for the most part, unchanged from 2015.

Informal, albeit plated gatherings: The majority of respondents (88%) are coordinating informal events, but 67% of respondents will be organising events with plated dinners. Music isn’t a consideration for 33% of you – but, where music is part of the celebration, 22% of respondents turn to live musicians and another 22% bring in a DJ. This year, equal percentages of respondents will rely on their selected venues for decor and bringing in their own florals or decorations.

Safe and sound: Most organisations are expecting people to be responsible in their drinking choices; while 17% of organisations offer taxi/cab or other “safe” rides home, and another  17% provide overnight accommodation, it’s generally a case of organisations encouraging responsible choices.

A party by any other name? Are we hosting Christmas parties, holiday parties, or seasonal parties? Read through the results below, and you’ll soon find out!

THE DATA

Who does the coordinating?  43% of respondents coordinate such office events, while another 7% participated in the poll on the basis of information gathered by a colleague who holds such responsibilities. 50% of respondents are not involved in such undertakings.

LEAD TIME:  How far in advance do you plan such events?

40% of respondents plan such events three to six months in advance – while 9% get rolling on the booking asap after the prior year’s event. Here’s the breakdown:

  •  asap after the prior year’s event: 9% of you in 2016, compared to 7% in 2015
  • 3 – 6 months in advance: 46% of you, compared to 40% in 2015
  • 2 – 3 months in advance: 18% of you, compared to 20% in 2015
  • less than a month in advance: 9% of you, compared to 13% in 2015
  • 18% of you selected “Other”. Comments included “n/a” and “varies – generally a week or so before”.

Party Lights copyright Shelagh Donnelly

TURNOUT: 39% of respondents anticipate a turnout of 51 to 100 guests – while the largest turnout anticipated this year is 401 to 500 guests. See below for the overall picture.

  • 1 – 50 guests: 39% of you, compared to 27% in 2015
  • 51 – 100 guests: 33% of you – the same percentage as in 2015
  • 101 – 200 guests: 15% of you, compared to 0% in 2015
  • 201 – 300 guests: 15% of you, compared to 7% in 2015
  • 301 – 400 guests:15% of you, compared to 20% in 2015
  • 401 – 500 guests: 8% of you, compared to 7% in 2015

VENUE: Reputation is again the dominant consideration, for 33% of respondents – while location is the next highest ranking consideration

  • Reputation (including past experience, quality of food, service): 33% of you, compared to 38% in 2015
  • Location: 17% of you, compared to 13% in 2015
  • Other (with comments including “Cost; we do it in our showroom” and “mixture” among the comments): 17% of you, compared to 6% in 2015
  • Ambience/atmosphere: 8.5% of you, compared to 13% in 2015
  • Budget: 8.5% of you (plus the person who referenced cost in the “Other” category), down from 19% in 2015
  • Business/strategic considerations: 8% of you, up from 6% in 2015
  • Capacity to accommodate group size: 8% of you, up from 6% in 2015

 

GUEST LISTS: Out-of-Towners included in 87.5% of such events – a significant increase from 2015

  • Out-of towners on the guest lists: 87.5% of you, compared to 57% in 2015
  • No out-of-towners on the guest lists: 12.5% of you, down from 43% in 2015

São Bento, Porto 5476 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

BUDGET: 37% of respondents have a budget of $1k – $5k – Here’s the rundown on budgets:

  • less than $1,000: 0%, compared to 7% in 2015
  • $1,000 – $5,000: 37% of you, compared to 40% in 2015
  • $5,001 – $10,000: 18% of you, compared to 33% in 2015
  • $10,001 – $15,000: 9% of you, compared to 0% in 2015
  • $15,001 – $20,000: 9% of you, compared to 7% in 2015
  • higher than $20,000: 0%, compared to 14% in 2015
  • 27% of you selected “Other”. Comments included, “department wise it’s self funded”, “I do not know” and “No budget, we pay for ourselves as public employer”.

 

BUDGET VARIATIONS FROM 2015: The majority of budgets are unchanged from the previous year

  • Unchanged from the previous year: 37.5% of you, compared with 79% in 2015
  • 37.5% of you selected “Other” and the comments reflected that this was either not applicable or that the respondent didn’t know
  • Higher than the previous year: 12.5% of you, compared with 7% in 2015
  • Lower than the previous year: 12.5% of you, compared with 14% in 2015

EVENT TONE: The vast majority of respondents continue to coordinate informal events

  • informal: 87.5% of respondents, compared to 80% in 2015
  • formal: 12.5% of respondents, compared to 13% in 2015
  • semi-formal: none of you, compared to 7% in 2015

 

FOOD SERVICE: Plated dinners will dominate respondents’ 2016 events, more than doubling the number of plated events reported in 2015

  • plated dinner: 67% of respondents, compared to 29% in 2015
  • buffet dinners: 22% of respondents, compared to 36% in 2015
  • Canapes/appetizers: 11% of respondents, compared to 36% in 2015

Music

MUSIC: Musicians are still in demand, but almost 34% of you reported that music isn’t a factor this year. Perhaps some budgets shifted funds from music to plated dinners?

  • Music isn’t a factor: just shy of 34% of respondents, compared to 13% in 2015
  • DJ: 22% of respondents, compared to 13% in 2015
  • Musicians, and live music: 22% of respondents, down from 40% in 2015
  • Reliance on the venue’s muzak/pre-recorded mix: 11%, down from 27% in 2015
  • 11% of respondents selected “Other”, compared with 7% in 2015. One person noted, “Last year some employees formed a band.”

Party Beverages 9456 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

SAFE RIDES HOME: 42% of respondents reported that their organisations encourage responsible choices, and yet another 34% back it up financially

  • We encourage responsible choices: 42% of respondents, compared to 50% in 2015
  • We provide overnight accommodation: 17% of respondents, compared with 0% in 2015
  • We provide taxi/cab rides home: 17% of respondents, up from 13% in 2015
  • 16% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included, “they don’t” and “Have to make our own way home”.
  • We encourage use of public transit: 8% of respondents

 

DECOR: The majority of respondents continue to rely on the venue provider for decor, but that’s on the decline from 2015

  • We rely on the venue for decor: 50% of respondents, down from 67% in 2015
  • We bring in our own florals/other decor: 50% of you, down from 33% in 2015

 

THE PARTY IS THE PRIZE: Continuing with last year’s theme, the majority of respondents do not plan on having door prizes at their events

  • No door prizes: 75% of you, compared to 71% in 2015
  • We have a budget for door prizes: 12.5% of you, up from 7% in 2015
  • We have a budget for this and also resource complimentary prizes through contacts: 12.5%, down from 21% in 2015

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?: 60% of you calling these events Christmas parties, up from 36% in 2015

  • Christmas party/event: 60% of you, compared to 36% in 2015
  • Holiday party/event: 10% of you, compared to 43% in 2015
  • Seasonal party/event: 10% of you, compared to 14% in 2015
  • Another 10% of you selected “Other”. One person reported that the event is called, and I quote, “CommemorativeDinner!!!”

 

Watch for the next poll this Thursday. You can also find Exceptional EA’s Weekend Polls, and the results, in the Exceptional EA LinkedIn Group

 

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