Weekend Poll Results: December 2017 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 2017 holiday season?

More than half the respondents have begun their plans:  A total of 51% of respondents have already begun work on their organisation’s 2017 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; only 16% of respondents are coordinating events for more than 200 people.

2017 venue considerations and budgets: When it comes to venue, budget was the top consideration for the first time in three years.

48% of respondents have a budget of $5K or less. Another 26% will be spending somewhere between $5 – $10K. At the other end of the spectrum, 16% of respondents have a budget in excess of $20K.

Perspective: It’s worth noting one reader’s comments. Elizabeth wrote, “My answers reflect my planning of a ‘department’ event. The office has an event team plan the larger ‘formal’ events.

Informal gatherings: The majority of respondents (78%) are coordinating informal events, and buffet meal service is on the rise from last year. Music isn’t a consideration for a third of you – but, where music is part of the celebration, 11% of respondents turn to live musicians and another 19.5% bring in a DJ. This year, the majority of respondents will rely on their selected venues for decor.

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  3% 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?  80% of respondents coordinate such office events (as did one other person until losing her/his job last week), while another 8% participated in the poll on the basis of information gathered by a colleague who holds such responsibilities. 10% of respondents are not involved in such undertakings.

 

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

34% of respondents plan such events three to six months in advance – while 14% get rolling on the booking asap after the prior year’s event. Here’s the breakdown:

  •  asap after the prior year’s event: 17% of you, compared to 9% in 2016 and 7% in 2015. One reader commented that they made reservations for the same place the day after last year’s event.
  • 3 – 6 months in advance: 34% of you, compared to 46% in 2016 and 40% in 2015
  • 2 – 3 months in advance: 31% of you, compared to 18% in 2016 and 20% in 2015
  • less than a month in advance: 17% of you, compared to 9% in 2016 and 13% in 2015

TURNOUT: 43% of respondents anticipate a turnout of 1 to 50 guests – while the largest turnout anticipated this year is in the range of 501 – 1,000 guests. See below for the overall picture.

  • 1 – 50 guests: 43% of you, compared to 39% in 2016 and 27% in 2015
  • 51 – 100 guests: 17% of you, compared to 33% in both 2016 and 2015
  • 101 – 200 guests: 24% of you, compared to 15% in both 2016 and 2015
  • 201 – 300 guests: 5% of you, compared to 15% in 2016 and 7% in 2015
  • 301 – 400 guests: 7% of you, compared to 15% in both 2016 and 2015
  • 401 – 500 guests: 2% of you, compared to 8% in 2016 and 7% in 2015
  • 501 – 1,0000 guests: 2% of you, compared to 0% in each of the two previous years

VENUE: This year, budget outranked reputation as the dominant consideration, for 29% of respondents – while location continued to be the next highest ranking consideration

  • Budget/cost: 44% of you, up from 8.5% in 2016 and 19% in 2015
  • Location: 17% of you, compared to 17% in 2016 and 13% in 2015
  • Ambience/atmosphere: 15% of you, compared to 8.5% in 2016 and 13% in 2015
  • Capacity to accommodate group size: 12% of you, up from 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2015
  • Reputation: 8% of you, compared to 33% in 2016 and 38% in 2015
  • Business/strategic considerations: 2% of you, up from 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2015
  • Other: 2% of you [with one person commenting, “It’s always held here at our workplace (Hospital)”], compared to 17% in 2016 and 6% in 2015

 

GUEST LISTS: Out-of-Towners included in 44% of such events – down from 87.5% last year

  • Out-of towners on the guest lists:  44% of you, compared to 87.5% in 2016 and 57% in 2015
  • No out-of-towners on the guest lists: 56% of you, compared to 12.5% in 2016 and 43% in 2015

São Bento, Porto 5476 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

BUDGET: 26% of respondents have a budget of $1k – $5k – Here’s the rundown on budgets:

  • less than $1,000: 22% of you, compared to 0% in 2016 and 7% in 2015
  • $1,000 – $5,000:  26% of you, compared to 37% in 2016 and 40% in 2015
  • $5,001 – $10,000:  26% of you, compared to 18% in 2016 and 33% in 2015
  • $10,001 – $15,000:  10% of you, compared to 9% in 2016 and 0% in 2015
  • $15,001 – $20,000: 0% of you, compared to 9% in 2016 and 7% in 2015
  • higher than $20,000: 16% of you, compared to 0% in 2016 and 14% in 2015

 

BUDGET VARIATIONS FROM 2016: The majority of budgets are unchanged from the previous year

  • Unchanged from the previous year: 61% of you, compared with 37.5% in 2016 and  79% in 2015
  • Higher than the previous year: 24% of you, compared with 12.55 in 2017 and 7% in 2015
  • Lower than the previous year: 15% of you, compared with 12.5% in 2016 and 14% in 2015

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

  • informal: 78% of respondents, compared to 87.5% in 2016 and 80% in 2015
  • formal: 22% of respondents, compared to 12.5% in 2016 and 13% in 2015

 

FOOD SERVICE: Buffet meals will dominate the 2017 events respondents are organising

  • Buffet dinners:  37% of respondents, compared to 22% in 2016 and 36% in 2015
  • Canapes/appetizers: 31% of respondents, compared to 11% in 2016 and 36% in 2015
  • Plated dinner: 29% of respondents, compared to 67% in 2016 and 29% in 2015
  • Lunch: 3% of this year’s respondents

Music

MUSIC: More than a third of you reported that you’ll rely on the venue’s muzak/pre-recorded mix

  • Reliance on the venue’s muzak/pre-recorded mix: 36% of you, compared to 11% in 2016 and 27% in 2015
  • Music isn’t a factor: 33.5% of respondents, compared to 34% in 2016 and 13% in 2015
  • DJ: 19.5% of respondents, compared to 22% in 2016 and 13% in 2015
  • Musicians, and live music: 11% of respondents, compared to 22% in 2016 and 40% in 2015

Party Beverages 9456 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

SAFE RIDES HOME: 40% of respondents reported that their organisations encourage responsible choices, and another 19% back it up financially – either through provision of cab rides home or overnight accommodation. 

  • We encourage responsible choices: 40% of respondents (including 8% who selected “Other” and commented that no alcohol is provided), compared to 42% in 2016 and 50% in 2015
  • It doesn’t; this is seen as each individual’s responsibility: 31% of this year’s respondents
  • We provide taxi/cab rides home: 16% of respondents, compared to 17% in 2016 and 13% in 2015
  • We encourage use of public transit: 10% of respondents, compared to 8% in 2016
  • We provide overnight accommodation: 3% of respondents, compared with 17% in 2016 and 0% in 2015

 

DECOR: The majority of respondents continue to rely on the venue provider for decor

  • We rely on the venue for decor: 75% of respondents, up from 50% in 2016 and 67% in 2015
  • We bring in our own florals/other decor: 25% of you, compared to 50% in 2016 and 33% in 2015. One person commented, “We have the party in house and have some decorations.”

THE PARTY IS THE PRIZE: Roughly half this year’s respondents do not plan on having door prizes at their events. My apologies to readers; this year I forgot to include a “No” option, so thanks for coming through in your comments. 

  • No door prizes: 50% of you, compared to 75% in 2016 and  71% in 2015
  • We have a budget for this: 29% of you, compared to 12.5% in 2016 and 7% in 2015
  • We have a budget for this and also resource complimentary prizes through contacts: 8%, compared to 12.5% in 2016 and 21% in 2015
  • Yes; we turn to suppliers, partners or other contacts for this: 8% of you
  • “May consider this year”: 5% of this year’s respondents
  • Some readers commented that they have Secret Santa gift giving.

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?: 58% of you calling these events holiday parties

  • Holiday party/event: 58.33% of you, compared to 10% in 2016 and 43% in 2015
  • Christmas party/event: 33.33% of you, compared to 60% in 2016 and 36% in 2015
  • Seasonal party/event: 8.33% of you, compared to 10% in 2016 and 14% in 2015

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