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The Christmas Party market is notoriously difficult to predict. However, whilst the majority of businesses see the value in the Christmas Party, over the years, decisions to actually have one have been made late, the investment per person has fluctuated, and even the exact timing of the party has changed.

So, to try and get some insight into what this coming festive season brings, we spoke to Clare McAndrew. Not only is Clare Marketing Manager for both the London Christmas party Show and the London Summer Event Show, she is also part of Story Events, a boutique event management company with a huge amount of experience running these corporate events.

“The survey we did shows a continuing and gradual trend towards more informal parties, so street and bowl food are becoming more popular, especially for smaller numbers,”

Earlier this year the company released its own data on the party market, and we wanted to check in to see what Clare makes of the season to come. Firstly, what level of confidence should the industry be feeling as we enter the coming season “We’re pretty much on a par with 2016,” commented Clare. “Clients are still budget conscious and want to ensure that they get the best value for money on their event. There may be some fluctuations as we get closer to the season and even some last-minute surges, but we’re looking around the same at the moment.”

Late booking surges has certainly been a thorn in the side of many an event organiser, and its something that Story Events keep a careful eye on. “We’re still seeing the majority of the larger parties still booking prior to the summer holiday period, they know they need to get the best dates and best venues so tend to get in early,” continues Clare. “That said, many know that the best value can be obtained by shopping around in early October, and we are seeing an increase in clients looking in the later months to try and get a great deal.”

As a trip to the London Christmas Event Show does prove, this is an incredibly creative sector of the industry and one that, when done well, creates immersive experiences that are long remembered. As a food business, at LVP we’re constantly fascinated about how people consume their Christmas fare. “The survey we did shows a continuing and gradual trend towards more informal parties, so street and bowl food are becoming more popular, especially for smaller numbers,” commented Clare. “Food is an important factor though, its easily the area that gets commented about the most, and one that the organiser needs to get right.”

For businesses looking to make sure they get their party just right, Story do recommend working alongside a boutique event design agency like their own. Yes, they charge for their services but will make sure you spend your theming and entertainment budgets carefully to get the best impact and ROI from your party.

So, what of the future of this market? Do businesses really value the Christmas party? “Whilst there is no visible move away from the tradition that is the Christmas Party, the industry still needs to constantly remind the market that, if done well, a £100 per head Christmas party is worth more than £100 on the pay packets in terms of loyalty, morale and internal networking.”

We agree, Christmas Parties are more grown up than the clichéd image of drunken staff members. More often than not they are taken from the HR and training budget and not just raided from the company’s profit. These events are valued, and when done to the highest standard, are memorable and inspiring.

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