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How to Still Have a Great Holiday Party . . . On a Budget

How to Still Have a Great Holiday Party . . . On a Budget

Inspire Productions Event Planning

Holiday Parties are traditionally the event when companies pull out the stops and create an exciting event that shows their employees that they really are valued.

With the recession upon us and international crises abounding, we are all left with reduced budgets. Cancelling your annual holiday party is about the best way to lower moral and get your employees concerned about their next paycheck.

Instead of canceling the shin dig altogether, consider how to re-organize it and salvage the company moral. below are some suggestions of how to still have a great party, based on your current budget. Keep in mind, budget is determined per person, so take last year’s budget, and divide by the number of people who you planned for. You will get a cost per person. Then take this years budget and divide by number of people expected this year. This will give you your true per person budget difference. If you have less people this year, and a little less budget, you may actually have around the same amount to work with. Conversely, if you have many new hires and the same or less budget than last year, you have much less to work with.

Here are tips to save your party:

1. If you have 75% or more of last years budget per person, then look at your essentials to a great party, and start cutting the non essentials. If you are working with a planner, give them the budget, and let them know what essential elements you don’t want to cut: For instance, I suggest that you keep entertainment and gifts and reduce food costs. If the menu is chicken instead of steak, they very well may not even notice. If on the other hand, there is no entertainment and no raffle this year, your employees are going to feel it.

2. If you have 60% or less of last year’s budget, consider moving your party onsite or to a community hall. This will save you thousands in venue fees, and can do the following to save money while creating good will. The tips below will work in any venue, but will allow you to either utilize your own location, or downgrade to a less expensive venue while maintaining or improving the ambiance over last year.

3. Employee Holiday decorating contests: If you are having your holiday party onsite, think about offering a generous gift to the team of employees who makes the best holiday décor. The gift can be days off, if business is a little slow, or cash prizes or gift certificates. This activity both builds team spirit and saves you the thousands a prop company would charge. You may decide that this is not the polished look you want, and hire professionals, but on the other hand, it may be just the team building activity needed in these unsure times.

4. Utilize your cafeteria, lobby, and/or conference rooms. By hiring a lighting company, and pipe and drape suppliers, you can do amazing things with any space. Take a look at this before and after picture from a recent event we did. It is the 2nd before and after set in the pink section: This was a cafeteria, multi purpose room that was transformed with just a couple of thousand dollars. If you had to rent a venue, and rent lighting and décor, it would have added many additional thousands of dollars to the costs.

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