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Why It’s Time to Plan Your 2012 Holiday Party

The best venues for holiday events are booked long in advance of the holiday season. If you have your eyes on a particular venue, or want to shop and compare with the greatest selection available, you need to get an early start. The most popular venues will already be booking up. In six months, Vancouver’s top venues will be reserved for 2012, so time is of the essence. But, you also need to make sure you get the room that’s right for your event. Here’s 3 key points to consider before you put down a deposit:

Venue

You need to know the approximate number of guests and whether or not you want a stand-up cocktail reception, sit-down dinner, and whether or not you will be having a themed event, entertainment, or activities. Each factor plays a role in figuring out how much space you will require. We’ve found that this is the area where the wrong choice can have the biggest negative impact on a corporate event. Visit the Venues section of the website to learn why Bright Ideas can make your search for a suitable venue a success!

Catering

If you’re planning to use a venue such as a downtown hotel, catering is fairly straightforward. They have the staff and resources on hand. But if you’re considering a venue such as a hall rental or your own offices, it’s important to be proactive and secure a caterer early in the process, because the best companies will be booked up early. Food is usually one of the most memorable aspects of a corporate event. Your guests are going to be talking about the food after the event. You want to make sure they enjoyed every bite! Go to the Catering section of the Bright Ideas website to learn more, including our locally-sourced, organic, and vegan/vegetarian alternatives.

Entertainment

A growing trend in corporate events is to offer unique entertainment and activities beyond the tried and true DJ. Thankfully, there are many new and exciting options to consider. But, the most popular entertainers will be booked for 2012 before the rest of us have applied our first layer of sunscreen this summer. Bright Ideas has an extensive roster of entertainment options for you to consider. Get in touch and we can suggest a wide range of entertainment and activity choices to suit your event. Visit the Entertainment section of our website to see some crowd-pleasing entertainment options.

And remember, there are a lot of small, but important details that go into a great corporate event. Without industry experience and contacts it can be a stressful and challenging task. That’s where we come in. Let Bright Ideas Event Coordinators plan your event so that it delights your guests and meets your budget. REQUEST A QUOTE

How-to Plan for Event Success

Great events are always a result of meticulous planning. Here are some suggestions for three common business events, the best times to host them, and things you need to consider:

Corporate Summer BBQ

Not surprisingly, you’ll want to book this event for a weekend day for best attendance. Keep in mind that if you want to hold the event in a local park, no alcohol rules will apply. Instead, consider some of the great licensed venues in Metro Vancouver that also offer outdoor space. We can help you find one that’s right for your corporate summer event. Some popular alternatives to corporate BBQ include boat cruises, car rallies, or a day at the racetrack. With the London 2012 Olympics happening this summer, another option you might consider is a Mini-Olympics team building event. Check out our Seasonal Events photo gallery for ideas and inspiration!

Product Launch

It makes sense to match this event with your industry’s timetable. As an example, the automotive industry typically launches new models in the fall, while outdoors shows generally happen towards the end of the winter. Whether you decide on a big splashy party or an exclusive event for preferred clients, remember to keep the focus on the product. Don’t let it get overshadowed by activities and entertainment. You can also consider hiring an industry expert that’s well-known to your audience, to offer up a short talk about where things are headed. Our Featured Events photo gallery to see the wide variety of options Bright Ideas can offer.

Client Appreciation

Make sure you schedule a client appreciation event at a time when your industry isn’t in peak season. You should also decide at the outset whether or not you will include suppliers, so you pick the right size venue. Another factor to consider – will you keep the focus on your clients, or take the opportunity to sing the praises of your company? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It depends on your goals for the event, but it’s good to know what you want to do from the outset. Visit the Business Events section of our website to see some examples of our award-winning corporate events.

Staff Event Pick of the Month: Ashley Bergson

“My favorite event with Bright Ideas would have to the very first one I got to be a part of – Five Decades of Fun, for the members at Hollyburn Country Club! The parking lot was transformed with five tents, each representing a decade from the 50s to the Twenty-First century, as well as many forms of entertainment for everyone to enjoy! On event day I was a part of the 60’s tent. Everyone was grooving to the likes of the Beatles and having just as much fun as the kids participating at our craft table coloring Frisbees! Throughout both days, I was impressed with how much the staff was involved with every process. Everyone around me was happy, which made the event spectacular! I’m so thrilled that Sharon allowed me to join Bright Ideas and see firsthand how she plans and executes events! This will always go down as the best way to start my new life in British Columbia!”

Five Decades of Fun photo gallery.

Ask An Event Planner

What do you think will be some trends for holiday parties in 2012?

One clear trend is the move towards events that are more than just a company dinner. Entertainment, activities, and theme events with interactive elements are becoming the most popular choices with our clients. Innovations such as the digital photo booth put a new spin on the company party and get people interacting and sharing in the fun. Here are some entertainment and activities suggestions for your next event.

What should be my budget range per person for a holiday event?

Naturally, we are asked this question a lot. Unfortunately, there are so many variables to this question that it’s impossible to give a ballpark estimate. For example meals are more expensive at a downtown hotel than a local community centre. However, if you have a pretty good idea of the number of guests, where you want to hold your event (downtown or other location) we can work with you to help you understand how much you’ll probably have to budget. Contact us with your event details and we can prepare a no-obligation price quote for you.

What is the best choice for a holiday party; employee only, employee and date, staff and clients?

Employee and date is the traditional and still the most popular option. But it has its drawbacks. Often guests feel left out as the evening progresses and the shop talk begins. Employee-only is a great way to build camaraderie in the organization, and it offers cost-savings too. One overlooked option is to invite employees and the company’s clients. It’s a great way to build stronger bonds with your customers in a social setting.

Do you have more questions about corporate events? You may find the answers in our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

Sharon Bonner, Bright Ideas Event Coordinators President and CEO

Have a question for Sharon?

Find the answer before your next event. If you have specific questions, or want to know more about event planning best practices, email Sharon with the subject line ‘Ask an Event Planner’ and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming edition of our newsletter.

Top Three Holiday Party Essentials

Theme

It doesn’t have to be Christmas theme anymore. Get creative! We have all kinds of themes we can suggest for you.

Guest Gifts

Regardless of the theme, send guests home with a thoughtful souvenir or token of appreciation.

Safe Ride Home

It’s crucial to make sure there are options for people, whether its taxi or transit vouchers or you arrange a special rate with the hotel where you’re holding your event or other nearby accommodations.

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