December is typically when staff enjoy a cocktail of office Christmas parties, festive team lunches and client drinks, followed in the New Year by vows of abstinence and resolutions to hit the gym. The calorie counting may have to be delayed this year, however, due to a rise in companies holding their annual celebrations in January.
The Christmas party has been making a comeback after the corporate belt-tightening that followed the financial crisis. But venues and event organisers say that there has been an increase in bookings outside the premium party period, with the season starting earlier in November and stretching into January.
Christmas bookings at Twickenham Experience, which manages events within Twickenham Stadium, are up 40 per cent on last year, including a 66 per cent rise in January bookings. The Concerto Group, the biggest events organiser in London, has seen an 8 per cent year-on-year increase in clients choosing to wait until January for "end of year" celebrations.
While a shortage of venue space in Aberdeen is causing Roselle Events to organise "leftover" Christmas parties for oil and gas companies, some businesses elsewhere are delaying events for the cost benefits. Gary Peters, managing director of Evolve Events, said that companies can save between 10 and 15 per cent on venue hire and catering costs. "If it's planned well, you can get more bang for your buck in January, and be more strategic," he said.
The Manchester-based events organiser Taylor Lynn Corporation (TLC) is also working on January events. "An event in January allows us to rebadge it as a 'thank you for 2013', but also to introduce company plans and visions for 2014 – more of a New Year, new vision event," said TLC's managing director, Liz Taylor. TLC has always planned parties in the New Year for those who are committed to working during December, such as retail teams and emergency services, but its January bookings rose by around 10 per cent last year and have increased by another 12 per cent this year.