2013 Holiday Celebration Outlook
by Karen Carzo
Friday, November 22, 2013

City Chic Events

Holiday celebrations are either coming back with a vengeance or tip-toeing into the season – it all depends on who you talk to.  In speaking with some of our corporate event planners, Great Places learned that corporations still see the value in holding a year-end event.  Such celebrations encourage camaraderie, offer the opportunity to get to know co-workers outside of the office, and are generally seen as a reward for a year’s worth of hard work.  One thing our event planners all seem to agree on is that perception is everything and every dollar counts.

“Everyone is seeking something to make the event special without having the extravagance,” says Kimberly Marenus, Director of Events and Meetings for City Chic Events.  “It’s the planner’s responsibility to be creative and figure out the best way to cut costs without losing the creative edge.”

That’s no small task for event planners.  Corporations still want the jaw-dropping “wow” but they seem to be allocating the funds differently. 

Food remains the focal point of the party.  Simply passing hors d’oeuvers on a tray is no longer acceptable.  “We’re seeing more and more roving cocktail parties featuring interactive food bars,” says Carla Ruben, President and Owner of Creative Edge Parties.  Marenus agrees, adding do-it-yourself food bars play into the trend of interactive events. 

Lego Tray from Creative Edge Parties

According to an article written by Andrew Bender, a contributor to Forbes.com, “craft spirits” are a huge trend.  We’re talking specialty batches of gin, rum and aquavit. “Small batch liquors are still big and a holdover from last year,” says Rueben. Cocktail lounge setups are being slightly favored over sit-down dinners because they convey a more informal, party-like atmosphere and encourage mingling.

If you and your colleagues want to dance the night away, there are plenty of options.  Venues offer live bands and DJs, while others allow you to supply your own entertainment.  Depending upon the budget, some corporations – especially the small and mid-sized ones – are opting for activity-based celebrations.  Bowling, rock climbing, golfing, cooking classes and wine tastings are among the more popular activities.    

Yes, there’s probably an app for that – “that” being more and more corporations are using iPads for registration, and media walls to showcase real-time social media updates  “Technology is still at the top of trending,” says Marenus.   Regonline outlines some of the ways mobile technology is reshaping events by providing:
•    Improved onsite efficiency and accuracy.
•    Flexible, environmentally friendly content delivery.
•    Improved interactivity and informed content.
•    Expanded networking for attendees.
•    Persistent audience engagement platform.

But, let’s face it, the real reason technology is taking off at corporate events is that it’s just plain fun to share your good time and funny photos with friends and co-workers on SnapChat, Twitter and Facebook.

Please share your company’s plans for the holiday season with GreatPlacesDirectory.com.  If you’re still searching for a venue to host your holiday party, or if you need help securing other event related details, look through GreatPlacesDirectory.com.  Many of the venues featured still have availability, and some offer special discounts if you contact the Great Places Concierge Service for personal assistance at 212.675.9000.


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