Christmas Events – A Discrete Comeback

MICE Christmas

It seems that the corporate sector has shaken off some of the doldrums of 2012 with a surge in corporate Christmas and New Year parties.  From Australia to Ireland and even embattled USA, companies reinstated the traditional year-end Christmas parties for staff and clients.  In the words of one event organiser, “Most people are getting their heads out and realizing that by not networking and being with clients, it’s not that good for business.”

In Australia a number of major corporates from AMP, Lion brewers, Optus and Vodaphone have hosted big end-of-year staff Christmas parties in Sydney as companies saw it as a way of providing incentives to their teams, rewarding them for meeting targets or forgoing pay increases.

One Australian event organiser noted however that there had been a shift and noticed no change in the number of corporate Christmas parties. Many of its clients, were cutting back the number of guests rather than budgets, as well as being more selective about the people they invited.  There was also a move to host their parties in much more discreet locations. With the greater focus on transparency and perception, at least in Australia it seemed that most parts of the financial services sector, in particular among investment banking houses, the traditional Christmas party has become almost extinct.  In contract, the mining giant Rio Tinto showed little restraint when it booked the Perth theme park Adventure World for 4500 of the company’s staff members and their families earlier this month.

The Irish experience was somewhat different as it saw a late surge of increases in Christmas party bookings where some venues even had to turn away customers due to excessive demand and it seemed that people are gearing up for more positive things in 2013. Bookings at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin have “almost tripled” compared with last year, according to its general manager, Tim Whyte.

However, there was a similar trend as elswhere in the world, towards more modest celebrations towards sensible and appropriate parties and spending.  In general though, venues in Ireland at least have seen an increase of about 20% in bookings with companies shifting to a more informal type of event. Not all was doom and gloom in the USA as the publisher Random House announced  a significant bonus to celebrate a profitable year at its corporate Christmas party. The success of a number of its latest books and a growing e-book market has fed its successes.



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