Our Christmas Party Priorities

Our Christmas Party Priorities

Christmas 2

It’s that time of year again – trees are being put up, lights are being switched on, and many of us are looking forward to the seasonal festivities. Whether it’s your workplace, or a gathering with friends, there’s a good chance you have a least one Christmas party lined up this month! But what matters most to us when it comes to Christmas party planning? We had over 150 responses from our mystery assessors to our recent survey, with almost half confirming that their workplace is organising a festive gathering, and others looking to spend quality time with friend and family. But what are we looking for when planning a Christmas party?

The Main Factor

The first thing to get sorted is the venue. From booking a table in a restaurant, to hiring out entire venues, there’s no one way to go when it comes to location. So what factor sways our decision on where to go? The total cost pulled up as the number one component, but not far behind was the meal quality. This makes sense, as while food is not always the focus at a party, it’s a big focal point for Christmas! Our assessors have seen the variety of seasonal menus that have hit restaurants, from festive pizzas, to Christmas themed cocktails, to traditional roast dinners. Restaurants and venues are really putting their best foot forward for the month’s celebrations, finding that important balance between mouthwatering meals, and Christmas-friendly prices. Meal budgets for our assessors were close, with most people (36%) saying they would aim to spend £21 - £30 per person excluding drinks, closely followed by 31% of people saying they would spend £31 - £40. This is where value for money becomes really important, as people will be on the lookout for great food within a great deal.

66% of survey respondents prefer the option of a set menu, which can also be good for our budgets – but with dietary requirements, this can sometimes be tricky. 40% of respondents had to consider vegetarians in their party, and 22% had to find gluten free options – and these were just the most reported dietary requirements. In our mystery visits, we’ve found that some restaurants can accommodate these requirements well, while others are a lot more strict with what’s on the menu and what can be substituted, especially if a set menu is offered. However, when asked how dietary requirements were dealt with in their last Christmas party, 69% said that they felt they were dealt with well. With more general awareness of allergies and varying diets, we will hopefully see this number increase this year!

A Year Round Effort

Something else that was clear from our survey was how important the experience at a venue or restaurant is, both before and after. Most people said that they would choose a place for their Christmas party either from a recommendation, or going somewhere they’ve tried and enjoyed before. This means that while the excitement built up around Christmas menus is important, people will listen to their friends and look to their favourites first of all, and that means somewhere that’s been enjoyed all year round. This is supported in our survey in more ways than one, as when asked what is most important to us when choosing a venue, the least important in the results was a new and exciting place. If you enjoy the food and the atmosphere, and you know the service is going to be good somewhere, then you’re much more likely to be drawn in by their Christmas offering! And of course, it doesn’t just stop at Christmas – when asked how likely they’d be to return to the same venue in January or February if they had a good experience there for their Christmas party, most of our assessors responded very positively. The first two months of the year can often feel a bit slow, and diners are likely to be extra selective with how they spend their money after Christmas - but it goes to show that if provided with something memorable and enjoyable, we will seek that out again!

In a Nut(cracker)shell

Our priorities for Christmas feel clear – although we might be willing to spend a little more, we still want something affordable while also having something special. But even at this time of year, loyalty is important to us, and that will be something that is built up long before the festive season. Whether you’ve had your Christmas party already, or are still looking forward to it, all of us at HGEM wish you a wonderful time, and a happy new year!

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