As none of us have experienced coming out of a lockdown before (and hopefully never will again…) it’s still difficult to determine how businesses will approach their year-end celebrations. However, Venue Search London, free venue finders who booked over £1.5m of end of year celebrations into Christmas party venues in London in 2019, have shared their early booking patterns.
Whilst there is still uncertainty around the use of Covid passports for domestic events, it’s very likely that many will be using these for their overseas trips in due course.
Businesses may want to see proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result as part of bringing their staff back into office environments within Health and Safety protocols – so it wouldn’t be surprising if this policy was extended to social events.
The end of the line for the buffet
It might be the end for the buffet offering that we all know so well – and we’re not sure we’re too upset about it.
Risks of cross-contamination and current regulations are putting a stop to buffet offerings whilst caterers adapt to deliver food in different ways in informal settings, including bowl food, bento boxes and well-spaces canape trays. We expect these to take the centre stage for food offerings during this Christmas party season.
More entertainment, but less dancing
For some bookers, the thought of a packed dancefloor remains a distant (and possibly risky) dream. Whilst many of us will have been to a packed bar, wedding, or nightclub by the end of the summer (and any fears may therefore have subsided), it is likely that some organisers may wish to ease back into their social event programmes with after-dinner entertainment, such as a comedy slot or stage performances which will replace the end of the night dancing. This may be more likely to encourage a 10-11pm finish.
The return of the Christmas lunch
Increasing awareness of the work/life balance and growing responsibilities for business’ role in employee wellbeing, more daytime event bookings are taking place. These events reduce alcohol intake, enable attendees to get home earlier and are more likely to take place on a Friday, following the trend of live comedy or on-stage entertainment in place of a dancefloor.
Mixing business with pleasure
For a lot of businesses, Christmas events may be the first time all of their staff are together in the same room for up to two years, and it looks as if business leaders feel that combining a conference and/or internal awards with a lunch or dinner is a more suitable return to social events than the full-on party format. For evening events, this may look like a 3pm start, leading into dinner and closing off at around 10pm.
Whatever the chosen London Christmas party format, the booking patterns for 2021 end of year celebrations will be like no other.
Whilst some companies have already got events booked due to postponements from 2020, others are booking now to secure their preferred dates. Many decision-makers are awaiting greater confidence and clarity in the roadmap to recovery dates and restrictions before making a final call on their plans for this December.