The benefits of booking your Christmas party venue early

This year office Christmas parties have been getting a lot more press coverage than usual. With the likes of Standard Life, Aegon, Scottish Enterprise and Northern Rock all stating they will not be contributing to staff Christmas parties, the issue of whether or not to have a festive party is firmly on the agenda.

Even the Queen has decided to cancel Buckingham Palace's shindig, with a spokesperson stating: "The Queen and the royal household are mindful of the current economic situation and therefore the staff Christmas party has been cancelled for this year."

A study by Employment Law Advisory Services also found that 40 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses have decided to scrap their staff Christmas party this year, with some expressing concerns that it wouldn't be right to hold a party after making redundancies and laying off staff.

Yet, despite the current economic climate, many businesses are deciding to reward their employees with a party.

This is because having a Christmas party is often a great way of boosting staff morale. Such festivities are also beneficial for creating strong and effective working relationships, which is particularly important in the wake of the recession.

Peter Mooney, of Employment Law Advisory Services, said: "For most businesses, Christmas parties have long been the only opportunity for staff to socialise together in a non-work capacity and to bond as colleagues."

Even if you haven't been able to afford a party this year, it's not too early to start thinking about next year's event.

At the heart of any successful festive season celebration is the venue and booking the right Christmas party location as early as possible is often key to a fun-filled soiree.

By looking at a number of venues months in advance, event organisers will also have a far greater number of options. Many top-notch venues are fully-booked by mid-summer, so it's often worth doing research about the various venues available in the springtime and putting down a deposit by July.

By doing research months in advance, event organisers will also be able to find a venue that suits everyone.

"At Christmas, you have employees of every level so you need to cater to both the cleaning staff and the chief executive officer," said Gary England, director of Ascot Hospitality.

Similarly, by booking early, event organisers will be able to ensure the party is held on a day that suits the office. Parties which take place during the week could have more of an impact on the smooth running of the business, particularly if people let their hair down and suffer the consequences the next day.

Friday night parties usually sell out far more quickly, despite often being more expensive that mid-week affairs, which is why booking early is essential.

Many venues also have special offers and incentives available to businesses which book early, which is another key reason to try and organise the party in advance.

This is particularly beneficial for companies which do not have that much spare cash to spend on a venue, as it will enable the firm to get the best value for their money.

With many people faced with a host of parties over the festive season, booking a venue early can also help ensure a good attendance. After all, whether it is a staff, corporate or charity event, people can pencil it into their diary months in advance and set about organising babysitters, transport, clothes and time off.

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