Big rise in private Christmas parties as staff book their own festive night out

Prestige Scotland has seen a large increase in the number of private Christmas parties being booked this year by individual members of staff and friends determined to have a festive night out even though their companies have cancelled the traditional office party.

As businesses continue to tighten their belts, group bookings from companies are down this year, but Prestige Scotland has seen a major rise in the number of informal Christmas parties that have been booked by workers and friends at the 17 venues it serves across Scotland.

At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Christmas bookings are up 47% on last year, mainly driven by private parties. At Hamilton Park Racecourse, Hampden Park and the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, there has also been a strong increase in bookings from non-corporate clients.

Overall Christmas and New Year party bookings at Prestige Scotland venues are up 15% on 2010, although many parties were cancelled last year due to the severe weather conditions.

Austin Tilsley, regional director for Prestige Scotland, said: “We know that economic conditions are very tough, and we have seen a marked reduction this year in the number of businesses which are booking a staff Christmas party.

“Staff are still determined to have their Christmas lunch or night out and we have seen a significant rise in sales from groups of workers and their friends who are booking the festive party themselves. We have been offering very competitive packages to target this market, including our Join a Party Night at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, where smaller groups of people can come together for a big night out at Christmas.

“I think this shows that despite all the doom and gloom in the economy, people in Scotland are ready to cheer themselves up this year with a good Christmas night out.”

To help companies on a tight budget have a festive celebration this year, Prestige Scotland has launched a new service where they will bring the Christmas party to the office, providing light catering and drinks on site for a moderate cost.

Prestige Scotland has also seen more individuals and businesses booking their Christmas parties earlier in December this year, perhaps to avoid possible severe weather later in the month.

Other venues serviced by Prestige Scotland, the Scottish events catering division of Sodexo Prestige, include National Museums Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Aberdeen Football Club, Perth Racecourse, Discovery Point in Dundee, and Blair, Glamis and Dundas castles.

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