Great news for people that have been missing the annual company holiday party for the past few years due to budget tightening in a poor economic climate. Holiday events are making a comeback!
With growing signs of economic recovery employers are again warming up to holiday parties.
After two years of cutbacks, layoffs, bailouts and outright bankruptcies, the return of this annual ritual signals that corporate managers are more confident about business prospects and feel a need to invest again in morale, reward and recognition.
In Chicago, IL alone the comeback of company-sponsored get-togethers is providing a year-end boost for the city’s hospitality industry, which was slammed by the recession. Corporate bookings are up significantly from last year at many hotels, restaurants and other venues.
Nationally, 76 percent of employers will hold some type of year-end celebration, according to the Bureau of National Affairs Inc., an Arlington, Virginia-based firm that tracks business practices. That’s up from the decade low of 67 percent last year, though below the peak of 83 percent in 2005. “It really does present a very good idea of where the country is economically at any given point in time,” said Matt Sottong, the bureau’s research director.
But many parties are less extravagant than they used to be. Denis Frankenfield, director of events and catering at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, said companies are trimming the trimmings by offering wine and beer instead of a full bar, or dishing up chicken rather than beef. “Most of our events aren’t doing décor, like flowers,” he said. Still, the Shedd is already 75 percent booked.
“I like the fact that we’re seeing some corporate business, which is what we really lost over the last couple of years,” added Tony Camarillo, senior director of sales and events at Navy Pier, a Chicago tourist attraction on the lakefront. “It’s a good sign, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on it yet.”
Source: Crain’s Chicago Business. Kate MacArthur