Office Christmas Parties are Back in Fashion

.....but without all the trimmings!

Office Christmas parties are back - but on a budget as firms seek to celebrate in tighter times.

Three quarters of businesses plan a celebration this year compared with just over half last year, a poll of human resources managers show. Event companies report a 15 to 25 percent increase in booking for corporate parties. But the champagne and sit-down dinners are being replaced with cava and buffets.

One event organsier said "Employers realise Christmas parties are a relatively cheap way of showing gratitude for loyalty and hard work, particulary as staff might not be receiving a bonus". "The big banks are probably spending 20 to 30 percent less per person than 2007, not wishing to be seen to be extravagant"

With cuts coming in the new year and VAT rises, companies are not splashing out. It's back to good quality but basic entertainment - house bands and DJs, and no chocolate fountains or unlimited bars.

It is a far cry from the boom days. An estmimated £120 million was spent on parties in two days in December 2007. To put it simply, it is not seen as acceptable to be showing off. The drink doesn't have to br Krug, The entertainment doesn't have to be a huge star. People are looking for something quirky and perhaps cultural.

The Savoy is fully booked for December. It will host drinks parties for upto 800 guests at a time and dinners for upto 400 people. Claridges is also booked for the whole Christmas period. A spokewoman said "We are seeking a high return of clients who have not been entertaining over the past few years". The human resources managers surveyed were Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development members.

Source: Evening Standard, Nov 10

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