Early Booking Tips for an Unforgettable Christmas Party

02/03/2018

gavin.pngIt’s not unusual to have ‘Book Christmas Party venue’ on your to-do list since January.  If you are responsible for booking the office, team or company Christmas Party, start planning now to secure a top venue on your preferred date. Gavin O’Broin of the Croke Park Meetings & Events team says most large Christmas parties are confirmed by March.  Having organised Croke Park’s 2017 Christmas party events he has lots of tips for making yours an unforgettable Christmas party night. 

 

1. Know Your Christmas Party Numbers

You need to know your numbers - how many attendees and how much per head you can spend. This is the basic filter for determining the size and type of venue, the anchor decision that will steer many of your planning decisions. If you are a big corporation you will need input from HR to estimate how many you need to accommodate next December. You also need sign off from procurement on per head costs and venue as they may have preferred venue partners.  For smaller companies this is probably easier, and remember, you can also join a Shared Christmas Party Night (see below).
 

2. Select Christmas Party Date

With Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday this year, the Christmas Party season will run from late November to 22nd December with the first and second weekends always the most popular. To secure these dates for private parties you need to book in Q1.  Don’t fret if they are all booked up - consider one of the other date options.
 

3. Consider Hiring an Event Management Company

When dealing with large capacity Christmas parties it often makes sense to bring in the professionals. Luckily in Ireland we have an amazing array of really great event management companies that can work with you throughout your entire Christmas party journey.  These events management companies work at all the major venues so they know what and who they’re dealing with and how to solve the challenges that will inevitably arise. They can save you time while ensuring your event delivers a festive wow factor and delights all attendees.
Great Gatsby Christmas Party, Croke Park 2017, www.mciireland.ie

4. Choose Christmas Party Venue

Consider the following in choosing your Christmas party venue:

Cost - Is there an all-inclusive package rate available or is everything priced à la carte.  Consider room hire, menus, drinks reception, lighting, décor, AV, cloakroom, security, licenses etc.

Location and parking - Stay within one hour peak travel time from work.  Travel convenience is key.  Many guests like to drive to the venue and collect their cars next day.  Is there free parking? Do you have budget for bus transfers? 

Availability - What’s available on your preferred date?

Capacity - Are there function spaces to suit your numbers?

List the criteria that are important for your attendees and prioritise them. Then start your search and build your wish list. Once you know you have availability of your preferred date at your venue of choice, put a provisional hold on that date, visit the venue, meet the team and conduct a full site inspection of facilities. Ask loads of questions.

5. Plan Christmas Party Theme

So you have your date and location.  Now you need a theme and that’s Stage 1 Christmas party planning complete.  Sometimes the architecture and interior design of the venue suggests the theme – 200 year old period venues with elaborate plasterwork ceilings and magnificent chandeliers are calling out for a Masquerade Ball or highly formal dressed-up affair. Edgy warehouses with concrete floors and exposed brickwork work really well for futuristic themes with lots of LED. 
Super Heros Christmas Party, Croke Park 2017, propaganda.ie

6. Market Your Christmas Party

To heighten anticipation and maximise success, you need to engage your audience. Develop some cool creative around your design theme and share across staff platforms and collateral. Bigger companies may need a Christmas party landing page where attendees can register, sign up for transport, provide details of allergies / menu choices, get full details around dress code, costumes etc.  And don’t forget to really sell the sparkle - Christmas parties are a bit like Irish weddings – food and music are key to success but everyone really wants to get all dressed up and dance the night away.

If you need any help with your Christmas party planning, the Croke Park team is vastly experienced and offers a range of highly versatile event spaces. The venue features lots of special festive touches with fully illuminated pitch and goal posts bedecked with Christmas lights.  We can personalise and share content on our IPTV system, broadcast your advertising on stadium big screens, play nostalgic Christmas movies clips, highlights of the year, social messaging… everything is possible! 

Our largest private Christmas parties in 2017 came with some amazing themes delivered across menus, décor and entertainment.  We hosted heros in a smashing Superhero themed party organised by Propaganda Creative Agency for 1,400 and staged a sumptuous, swaggering Great Gatsby themed event for 1,200 organised by MCI Ireland.

Other highlights from Christmas 2017 included an intimate private dining event in our All Star Suites with high spec furnishing and LED lighting. Great food was the priority here with Ruairí and the catering team producing Michelin star standard festive fayre. Cian, one of our top Stadium Tour guides, took guests on a whistle stop tour that culminated in the dressing room with champagne waiters followed by a prominent GAA All-Star.  
 

Shared Christmas Party Nights

Croke Park also organise Shared Party Nights where smaller groups can join large, big production celebrations. The sold out Sparkle at Croke Park Party Nights 2017 were hugely successful and featured Radio Nova DJ, Ruth Scott as MC, live band The Roadworn Frets and Sparkle - our very own Christmas Elf.
 
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