Like the holiday itself, Christmas event planning comes every year. In the summer, it may seem too early to start. Yet, to ensure a group's first choice of venues and entertainment, Christmas event planning should ideally begin no later than July. (Even in July, the most popular venues will be fully booked, so you may not get your first choice.)
I had an interesting conversation with Cathy Macri, Corporate Sales & Catering Manager, Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Vaughan & Toscana Banquet & Conference Centre. She indicated that many of their regular clients hold their Christmas events in November or early December, call in January to book space for next season. I checked in with her in early February this year. A lot of dates were booked and others had been placed on hold for client requesting right of first refusal.
Still not convinced? Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Start Planning for Christmas in July and even more reasons Why It's Important to Start Planning for "Christmas" in July.
This quick planning guide will serve as a roadmap. Event planners can use it to set priorities, even if there has been a late start this year.
What to Book When
Early in the Year
- Christmas Party Venue
In the Spring
- Send out a Save the Date Notice
- Book entertainment.
No Later Than July
- Reserve space for group travel. Procrastinate and groups will pay top dollar. (If the group is going overseas for a Christmas event, this should be done in the Spring.)
- Surprise the group with a Christmas in July themed reception, lunch or afternoon break to announce the Christmas Party.
Late Summer, Early Fall
Menu planning, official invitations, decor, and gift selection can be areas of focus for late summer and early fall.
The Cvent Event Blog has a number of resources to provide inspiration and help event planners find resources.
- Corporate Events: 6 Cool Christmas Event Themes
- Unique Christmas Event Venues
- 7 Inspiring Ideas for Christmas Event Decor
- Creating Classy Christmas Centerpieces
- Foreign Festive Fare for Christmas Events
If Christmas event planning is well under way over the summer, this will free employees up to focus on business development during the busy months of Q4 and enjoy the festive season at a less than frantic pace.
Photo Credits: Richie Diesterheft