With a little imagination and creativity, even those on a strict budget can pull off a memorable holiday staff party.
Print & Go GuidanceBy Genni Burkhart
Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working primarily from home tripled from 9 million to 27.6 million people, giving way to a boom in "zoom parties" and virtual events. In 2022, the in-person holiday office party makes a triumphant "big" return, albeit with a leaner budget and smaller gatherings.
Using the top event and party trends for 2022, we'll explore how to make your holiday event budget stretch for the most unique celebration - whether it's virtual or live.
2022 Party Trends Are Intense
Non +Plus Ultra (NPU), the company that hosted Meta's 2019 extravagant Game of Thrones-themed holiday (year-end) party, stated at protocol.com that some of the largest tech companies are holding primarily in-person holiday parties this year. Still, they're only half the size they were pre-pandemic.
While Meta is downsizing and consolidating its workforce, which could explain its toned-down approach to holiday parties in 2022, some companies are going over the top. According to NPU, one company asked for an ice rink and juggling lessons for its party, while another client is spending upwards of seven figures on three separate parties.
Based on marketing research from AdAge.com, immersive activation is the biggest and best event trend in 2022. Immersive activation means transforming an entire space using LED and 3D projection mapping technology, themed fabrications, interactive experiences like an ice rink, and problem-solving challenges such as escape rooms and scavenger hunts. Immersive activations encourage guests to interact through a fully enveloped sensory experience.
Go Big on a Budget
While an ice-skating rink and projection mapping technology might not be in your holiday party budget this year, there are ways to replicate these trends for a unique office party that encourages team camaraderie and puts your 2022 holiday party at the top of the "Best of" list for years to come.
- Think Theme and Decor. Many of these immersive experiences take advantage of trending themes based on pop culture. For example, Meta did a Game of Thrones year-end party; others include James Bond, The Nutcracker, and Alice In Wonderland. Look to your staff for what some of their favorites might be and if a (tasteful) theme would add welcome spiritedness to your holiday party.
- Encourage Interaction. It doesn't take a seven-figure budget to create a fully immersive environment for party guests. You can hire some of the help by renting party props such as a giant snow globe, a Santa's workshop escape room, or holding the event at an indoor sports center that comes with an ice-skating rink, skydiving, virtual golf, foam pits, and trampolines. You can even rent a giant "human claw machine" where guests strap themselves into a harness and plunge themselves into a playful pit of presents. Who knew? Hopefully, that one comes with an operator's manual. Other ideas include live music, progressive dinner parties, and scavenger hunts.
- Don't Forget Food and Drink. Let's face it, the star of every holiday party is the merriment of eating. However, you can take this up a notch with live cooking, interactive food stations, and local food truck favorites.
Yes, You Can Be Interactive and Virtual
With the help of a virtual meeting, you can still plan scavenger hunts, themed parties, virtual cookie exchanges, art, comedy, and team competitions. For that extra touch, you'll need to plan and send out packages to party guests in advance. Party packs can include decorations, costumes, prizes, food, and agendas for the virtual party events that will take place.
While holiday party trends in 2022 might cater to more intimate numbers, the objective is clear: all-out fun! Gone are the days of party wallflowers standing side-line on the dancefloor and hovering around punchbowls.
The options for immersive, interactive parties are truly endless based on budget. From unique lighting to 3D technology, amazing party rentals, and all-out "adventure venues" that immerse guests in a complete sensory experience, the objective is to have fun and show your staff how truly appreciated they are while not breaking the budget.
Author: With over 12 years as a published journalist, editor, and writer Genni Burkhart's career has spanned politics, healthcare, law, business finance, technology, and news. She resides on the western shores of the idyllic Puget Sound where she works as the Editor in Chief for the Incisor at DOCS Education out of Seattle, WA.