By Connie Nye Clark

Tis the season for the holiday office party – a chance for the team to socialize in a work-free zone. Holiday parties are good for morale, good for team building and can be a jolly good time. But for the party organizer, they can be a source of seasonal stress. Keep the planning fun and make the party a success with a few easy tips.

Take it off-site.

It’s hard to get out of work-mode when you’re in the office, regardless of how festive it’s dressed. The holiday party is an opportunity to bring your team someplace special where they can truly relax. It’s also a great opportunity to explore a new restaurant or venue in town.

Book early

Venues fill up fast during the holiday season, so the early bird really does get the worm. In addition to having more options to choose from, early bookers also have more dates to choose from and more options within their budget. Friday and Saturdays are the most popular choices, but you’ll get a better rate if you book a weeknight.

Consider non-traditional times

The evening party over dinner and cocktails is the traditional choice. But some companies have opted for lunch or even brunch gatherings for good reason. It’s more budgetfriendly and reduces the chance of alcohol overconsumption. It also makes its easier for your employees to attend since it’s on work-time. The obvious downsides are that it excludes or at least limits the opportunity for spouses and families to attend, and takes away from real work.

The open bar debate

How much and what type of alcohol to offer is an important decision. While some companies still provide an open bar, many companies have modified it both to reduce the chance of over-consumption and to decrease costs. There are plenty of ways to still offer your guests complimentary drinks. Consider beer and wine only, a signature drink, or a set number of drink tickets. Your venue’s party planner can help you navigate this and come up with a 2018 PLAN: increase B2B leads network promote learn aha! eureka!.

Lock in your guests early

The holidays are a dizzying time of parties and commitments. Get your date on your guests’ calendars before they make other plans. You’re working hard to plan a great event – it would be a shame to not have a packed room.

Add an element of fun

The food and drink are important, but think beyond them! A fun activity induces conversation, builds comradery and can take your party from bland to grand. This is an especially important consideration if employees are bringing their families, because nobody wants bored kids! Whether it’s bowling, laser tag, an ugly sweater contest, a yankee gift swap or a turn at Virtual Reality, your team will be talking about it at the proverbial water cooler.

Work with your venue host

Your venue’s party planner is a great resource. He or she has probably booked hundreds, if not thousands, of parties. Feel free to bounce ideas or ask them for inspiration. They can help you create a great signature drink for the party, share vendor contacts for cool centerpieces and décor, offer ideas for activities, and help shape a perfect menu. In short, they can help you create a flawless event.

Connie Nye Clark is the Director of Sales at Ten Pin Eatery. She can be reached at connie@tenpineatery.com or 508-280-0206.