Holiday Party Tips from CSz Chicago

Ten Ways to Make Sure YOUR Corporate Event is a HOLIDAY HIT!

It may only be November, but it’s NEVER too early to start planning how your company will reward its employees at the holidays.  And a great event doesn’t have to break the bank to boost morale!   ComedySportz sat down with Jo-El Lacy, CMP ComedySportz Chicago‘s Director of Group Sales and Special Events to find out how our savviest clients pull off hot events when the weather turns cold!


Jo-El’s Top Ten Tips for Great Office Parties at the Holidays:

    1. Book early to get a discount.  For many hospitality organizations, the holidays are a critical for guaranteeing revenue.  Book far enough in advance and the right organization might give you a discount to lock in your business.
    2. Pick an all-inclusive vendor.  Why book the entertainment separately when you can get the entertainment, the venue, and the bar all in one?  Remember, the more vendors you hire, the more you have to manage.  If your business is like most of our clients’, the holidays are not the time you want more work.
    3. Verify they are well-established in HR-friendly entertainment.  As you know, your company’s HR policies for appropriate workplace behavior usually extend to all work functions.  Lots of independent performers will tell you they know what’s appropriate for a business function, but don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations.  You could even ask to come see them perform their normal routine.  A good litmus test for how they’ll treat your guests is how they treat their own.
    4. Partner with a vendor that gives you options.  Not every group outing is the same.  Does your vendor have a venue that will fit your needs?  Can they bring the show to you?  Do they have drink and food options?  Can you mix-n-match their options to fit your needs?  (For instance, can you use their venue, but bring in your own favorite caterer?)  Some vendors lock you in with the exclusive relationships they already have in place.  (This is fine if you like that offer.  But if you don’t like it, you may not have much of a choice!)  Ask first.
    5. Match your alcohol package to your company’s culture.  Liquor expenses can easily sink your budget. If your company is “young-n-fun,” you probably want a bar package that charges a rate per guest.  If your company is more conservative, you might get a better deal purchasing on consumption.  Make the right match and your VP of Finance will also be laughing at the end of the night!
    6. Pick a place that’s easy to get to.  If you are planning an off-site event, make sure everyone can get there easily.  This is especially important if the event is taking place during or immediately following the work day.  The venue should be convenient to public transportation, especially if drinking is a big part of the evening!  If people are driving home, though, make the vendor can provide or direct you and your guests to safe parking.  (The right venue may even offer parking discounts if you ask!)
    7. Make sure the event feels like a reward.  Many companies are putting holiday events on a weekday afternoon like Thursday or Friday.  This means that employees don’t have to lose precious family time to enjoy a well-earned break with their colleagues.  This is also a great option for companies that do not invite spouses to business functions.  Make sure your entertainment provider can perform on-site or off-site during workday hours based on your needs.
    8. Know your company’s special events policy.  Does it have to be a “non-party” party? Does your company require that discretionary events be “work related?”  Trying to shoehorn a party into being a “productive work outing” can easily backfire.  How do you make your holiday event fun and valuable at the same time?
    9. Don’t do the entertainment yourself.  Often, people in your office are going to want to save money by “doing some skits” or a “talent show.”  That always seems like a great idea until the next morning when you find out who was offended – either by the fact that they were made fun of, or because you didn’t let them do their hilarious ventriloquism and harmonica act.  Remember, this isn’t just a party.  It’s the morale-building event that will set the tone for the upcoming year.  No pressure, but let professionals be the “office clowns” for your big night.
    10. Work with a company known for professional event management.  Anyone can say they do corporate events.  Ask if they have a Certified Meeting Professional on staff.  If they do, ask to speak with them – the presence of a CMP means they have a professional who can handle all aspects of your event.  If you want a “one stop shop” to trust with your entire event, it might be worth knowing they have someone on staff with independently recognized ability in the field.

Remember, it’s not just a holiday party, it’s your reputation!  For more information about how to have a fun event that everyone in the office will love, give us a call at 646-580-0291. Or send us an e-mail to