By Becci Thomson, business development manager at The O2
When it comes to booking the company Christmas party, you are immediately faced with two choices – a Christmas party package which more often than not is themed around ideas such as an Alpine Ski resort, Victorian Christmas and so on, or a bespoke package, which often brings with it spiralling costs.
Christmas party packages are incredibly popular and are designed to take some of the stress out of organising a Christmas party – choose a venue then select the level of package that suits and much of the hard work is already done for you. The problem, however, lies in the fact that the choice and variety of packages on the market is particularly limited. The Christmas party market suffered during the recession and although levels are looking similar if not exceeding pre-recession levels, many venues are still cautious of placing too much emphasis on the Christmas party package and there is a tendency to ‘reuse’ packages each year.
At The O2, we are always looking to push the boundaries and when it came to deciding on our offering for 2016, we knew we wanted to do things differently.
Live experiences are in demand and events and experiential have seen significant growth within the creative industry, which grew by 8.9% in 2014, and is now said to be worth £84.1bn. We identified a gap in the market to bring the experiential, immersive experience and Christmas party package together with the help of creative event production company Theme Traders.
We questioned to what extent guests really engage with Christmas party packages in this day and age, and the consensus was not to the level that they could be. Guests are looking for more – the Christmas party is a time for celebration and to reward staff for a successful year so the event itself needs to be something that they are excited about and looking forward to.
The result: ‘Party in a Pear Tree – The 12 Days of Christmas’, a seasonal experience like no other. Set over three floors in our superclub Building Six, the evening will push the limits of every guest’s imagination and immerse them in a completely different world, which features among other things a gold ring gypsy fair with games including a tin can alley, sparkling fountains and French hen stilt walkers, a UV party room filed with drummers drumming and neon painted faces, and the tunnel of love where guests were encouraged to hang wishes, share secrets and pick delicious sweet treats.
Our intention is to show that there is significant scope to transform and re-imagine Christmas party packages. As with anything, it only takes one person, one venue or one company to try something new before starting a trend that could potentially transform the Christmas party market as we know it.