7 - 8 September 2021, Pan Pacific London

5 key trends and predictions for the 2021 Christmas Party Season

It is still tricky and a little early to make predictions about how companies will approach their traditional end of year celebrations and how this may impact on the booking patterns and demand for Christmas party venues in London. But with a fair bit of early intel from the enquiries our sister company Venue Search London are working on (and a touch of “fortune favours the brave”), here is what a glimpse into our crystal ball is telling us:

Testing, testing, testing

Whilst there remains uncertainty around the use of Covid passports for domestic events, we can be pretty sure that many will carry these for the much-awaited overseas trips, companies may well want to see proof of vaccination or recent negative test to allow their staff back to their offices as part of their Health and Safety protocols. It would surprise us if that policy was not extended to off-site social events, giving all attendees that extra degree of comfort.

The end of the line for the buffet

For decades, the buffet was the staple food service offering of informal dining – most of us will not shed a tear to see the end of the buffet queue – but the current regulations and perceived risks of cross-contamination will finally see the end of this service style. Caterers are still working on the best way to deliver food in informal settings, but we believe that bowl food and well-spaced canape trays will be brought to the fore this Christmas.

More entertainment, but less dancing

For some bookers, the thought of a packed dancefloor remains a distant (and possibly risky) dream.  Whilst many of us will have been to a packed bar, wedding, or nightclub by the end of the summer (and any fears may therefore have subsided), we do predict that some organisers may wish to ease back into their social event programmes with more after-dinner entertainment, maybe a comedy slot or performance replacing the end-of-evening dancing.  We also feel that this will allow a 10pm or 11pm finish, which may be popular with hosts and guests in this extraordinary year.

The return of the Christmas lunch

Keeping with the above trend, and with increasing awareness of the work/life balance and the growing company role and responsibility for wellbeing, we could well see a resurgence of daytime events, which would both reduce alcohol intake and enable attendees to get home at a more reasonable hour. We would anticipate that Fridays will be the favoured day for these events, many of which will include live comedy or other on-stage entertainment.

Mixing business with pleasure

For many companies, the Christmas event may be the first time the whole company is reunited in the same room for two years, and business leaders may well feel that combining a conference and/or internal awards with a lunch or dinner is a more suitable return to social events than the full-on party format.  For evening events, this may lean towards a 3pm start, with the business element leading into a dinner, with a 10pm finish.

A long booking season?

Whatever the chosen London Christmas party format (and whether these predictions are proved right or wrong!), what we do know is that the booking patterns for 2021 end of year celebrations will be like no other.

Whilst some companies have already got events booked due to postponements from 2020 and others are booking now to secure their preferred dates, many decision makers are awaiting greater confidence and clarity in the roadmap dates and restrictions before making a final call on their plans for this December.

Our free venue experts at Venue Search London are ready, willing and able to assist you through this process. Our current advice is that if you are looking to hold your London Christmas party or event on a prime Thursday or Friday date, you do need to start your search soon in order to secure the best venue for you 2021 end of year celebration.

So please do get in touch by e mail or call Venue Search London on 0207 870 9305 and they will send you a shortlist of venues based on your preferred dates, party size and budget.