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Seven tips for planning the best year-end function ever

If organising an end of year function has you in hives, fear not. Whether you’re planning an end of year shindig for your employees, or are orchestrating an end of the year soirée on behalf of a company, our tips below will help you to create an event that’ll be remembered for years to come.


Ask for input
The whole point of holding an end of year function is to thank employees or clients, right? Unfortunately, many year-end events are viewed as something that has to be endured instead of enjoyed. While there’s no pleasing everyone, you have the power to create something that people actually want to attend in the first place. If you’re organising an in-house affair, who better to ask for ideas than the very people who’ll be attending the event? Narrow down a few options, and let everyone vote for their favourite one. By getting a feel for what people want out of their end of year celebration, you’ll avoid spending thousands on something that’s met with a begrudging RSVP. 

Be mindful of cultural, religious and gender diversity
Before deciding on a theme for your end of year celebration, consider the diverse needs and sensitivities of your guests. Be mindful of dietary preferences, as well as religious conventions that need to be followed. Is your choice of theme inclusive? Is the time of the event convenient for employees who have young children? Are activities age-appropriate? While an end of year function should be a time to let your hair down and celebrate, it should, first and foremost, be inclusive.

Make it personal
Regardless of the industry you’re in or the number of guests invited, people want to be acknowledged. Where possible, incorporate personal touches that recognise individuals. These could be personalised gift bags, awards, or handwritten thank-you notes that highlight specific contributions made by each staff member. If you’re in the dark about how to reward employees, consider running a survey asking staff what their preferred spoils are. (For simplicity sake – not to mention the budget –  give people a few options, such as an extra day of leave, a bottle of their favourite tipple, or a spa, online shopping or meal voucher.)

Create a sense of anticipation in the run up to the event
In the weeks leading up to the end of year function, send out countdown emails or messages to guests. As well as details like the venue, time, and dress code, include little ‘sneak peeks’ of what they can expect. If the event  (or parts of it) are a surprise, you can drop hints in the form of riddles or clues in the days leading up to the event, with prizes offered to the person who can figure it out ahead of time.

Facilitate engagement with an event app
If you want to avoid guests checking out of your event as they scroll mindlessly through their phones (we’re all guilty of this!), and encourage them to engage with the event at the same time, an event app is the answer. From keeping guests up to date with event info and sending out last-minute reminders, to tracking event mentions on social feeds, an event app instantly elevates the attendee experience while providing you with a seamless way to collect RSVPs and communicate with guests.

Determine your stance on alcohol consumption and notify guests beforehand
A booze-fuelled party might be one person’s idea of a good time but can alienate others. There’s nothing wrong with a glass or two of fizz to celebrate camaraderie and teamwork, but the last thing anyone wants to witness is an inebriated colleague twerking on the dance floor at 2 am. Have clear cut-off times and limits in place to avoid any awkward scenarios and run-away bar tabs. On that note, make sure that there are plenty of soft drinks available for those who prefer not to indulge, or consider having a ‘dry’ event.

Consider smaller events that cater to specific preferences
Organising an event that delights every single guest can be challenging, to say the least. An alternative to a company-wide function that has to cater to myriad requirements is to hold several smaller events that are tailored around the preferences of like-minded people. A day at the spa might be just the ticket for some guests, while others might prefer a night of fine dining. 

If you need to plan a year-end corporate function but aren’t sure where to start, we’d love to assist. Our event management solutions can be tailored to your needs (and won’t break the bank.) Find out why leading brands like Red Bull, Facebook and more trust us to create memorable events. We’d love to hear from you!

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