Yes indeed the first week of August has arrived and I am in the thick of booking company Christmas parties. I really cannot complain though, there are spikes in enquiries throughout the year and the next month is most definitely going to be busy. First thing on the prep list for someone booking a Christmas party is of course finding a venue. There are some amazing Christmas party venues Dublin has to offer, as you can imagine, but booking this late can be an issue especially if you are looking for a prime Friday night date. The larger sit down gala dinner company Christmas parties are booked at this stage so right about this time of year comes the enquiries for the departmental Christmas party night out.
This means I have to have numerous function rooms in Dublin on standby to place my bookings. The reason of course for this is simple enough, corporate bookings want to be on their own for the Christmas party night out. Other times of the year companies are ok for booking a shared area in a bar but not at Christmas. Once the venue is found the next step is entertainment and music.
Nothing beats a top class band night so when choosing a venue the party organizer should check out that the venue allows live music in their venue. Only today I was chatting to a manager of a top Dublin venue and he was telling me how the owner has decided not to allow bands play this Christmas. The only problem is that companies have booked this venue, paid the deposit and also booked and paid in advance for a band and now they are being told that it wont be allowed. Be careful where you book! Also check out things like will the dj be provided by the venue and is there a cost for this. Often the venue fails to point out there is an extra cost and honestly in my opinion this should be a cost absorbed my the establishment, especially as venues with function rooms in Dublin demand minimum spends or venue hire fees on key Christmas booking dates.
Now onto entertainment and this really boils down to how much money is left in the kitty after the food and drinks spend is decided. My honest advice here is that an employee will value more a few drinks vouchers and tasty food on the house rather than blowing the budget on something that visually looks amazing. Remember people work their ass of all year and the company Christmas party is often the way a company says thank you for all the hard work done during the year, so be mindful of that key point. Simple enough ideas that go down well include hiring a professional close up magician. This idea works great as the entertainer will focus on small groups and people will really remember this experience. The cost as well is far less than some ideas that I have seen floating around.
Another key point is the start time, I find it amazing that some companies start their Christmas party from 8pm or later. Try to get the start time as close to 6pm as possible. I would even suggest you organise a pre-drinks reception for one hour, this gives people a chance to mingle and chat but gets people to the venue straight after work. Leaving it so late for the arrival time leads to unnecessary stress for the Christmas party organiser. You will have put in weeks of preparation and endured sleepless nights making sure the company Christmas party is a memorable event and sometimes you forget the simplest thing, to get the people their on time.
Just a final point on venue hires and minimum spends and what you should expect to pay and what you most definitely should not agree to pay when booking function rooms in Dublin Venues. If a venue asks for a minimum spend to book the Christmas party private all night then that’s fair enough. Here’s my advice though never accept that you should pay a venue hire fee on top of this. This should never be accepted and its not something most venues would do throughout the year but at Christmas time some venues decide to take the piss slightly. Often venues lose out on quality high spend bookings actually because of this reason.
Right that’s just a few things to mull over before you go looking at Christmas party venues in Dublin. You could just save yourself a lot of time, energy and money and send me your enquiry. And I can also help you out with some great alternative ideas for affordable entertainment.