Evaluating Holiday Party Venues in Santa Cruz—Asking the Right Questions


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Late nights at the office, copious amounts of coffee, and dozens of deadlines. These three things are often all-too-familiar aspects of your end of the year work crunch. The holiday season is a notoriously busy time in most workplaces in Santa Cruz and across the nation. Not only is everyone working hard to prepare for some much-needed time off, they’re also trying to wrap things up for the current year and start setting plans for the next one.


Luckily, this is also the time of year for holiday office parties [<–link to Corporate Holiday Party Themes and Ideas piece when live], which gives us all a chance to unwind and relax with our co-workers while we celebrate the festive season. Of course, planning a holiday office party can be a lot of work on top of all you have to do. You have to find the venue, choose a menu, send invites, and figure out all the little details. The planning process doesn’t have to be time-consuming, though. If you choose the right holiday party venue in Santa Cruz, the party plans will come together in no time. The key to holiday party planning success, however, is asking the venue right questions. So, I’ve compiled a list of key questions to ask when finding the perfect venue for your holiday shindig.


Questions to Ask Holiday Party Venues in Santa Cruz


  • Does the venue have availability on the date you desire?


I know this seems like given, but many people get caught up in asking about all the little details right off the bat and completely forget to ask this important question. And since your time is especially valuable around the holidays, you’ll want to determine this at the beginning of the conversation so that you can cut it off if there is no availability.


There’s only a small window of weeks for holiday parties (usually mid-November to mid-December), so venues book up quickly. Or, if you can be flexible, ask what dates are available and keep them in mind if the venue seems like a good fit at the end of the conversation. Be mindful that some venues in Santa Cruz close during the winter months too.


  • Will the venue accommodate a company of your size?


The guest list for your holiday office party will largely determine what venues are and aren’t appropriate. You don’t want all your coworkers to be packed together too tightly, and you certainly don’t want the space to be so big that it feels empty. Just make sure you know how many guests you are expecting so that you can tell the venue, as they’ll be able to give you a good sense of whether or not their venue would be a good fit size-wise. If the venue is too big or too small, be sure to ask for recommendations for other venues in the area that would work. The event venues in the Santa Cruz area are a tight-knit community and they’ll give you some great suggestions.


  • How private is the venue?


If having a privacy is important to you for your holiday office party, make sure you ask whether your company will have exclusive access to the venue, or if there will be other events going on at the same time.


I always find that exclusive venues make for the best team bonding, as guests won’t be distracted by other things going on around them. This way, they’ll be able to focus on the festive party you worked so hard to plan. Plus, the party will likely feel more special if they have a whole venue to themselves. Private venues are also great because the staff will be focusing 100% on you, meaning that things are more likely to run smoothly.


  • Does the venue come with a coordinator to help with the planning?


A designated event coordinator is one of the most valuable aspects of any venue. Some venues will set you up with an experienced coordinator to help with your holiday party as soon as you book so that they can help you during the planning process and on the day of. This will save you so much time and stress, and I highly recommend making sure your venue includes a coordinator in the price—especially at this busy time of year.


  • Is the venue easy to get to from Santa Cruz?


If you are looking at venues outside of the city, you’ll want to make sure that it is relatively accessible to your guests. Is it easy to drive to? Is there parking? If the answer to these questions is no but you really like the venue, ask about renting transportation like buses for your employees to get too and from the party safely. Sometimes, these secluded, quiet, private venues are worth traveling to because they really help your employees unwind by giving them a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and the chaos of the office.


  • Does the venue offer all-inclusive holiday party packages?


Piecing a party together around the holidays is especially difficult because a lot of vendors, like caterers, planners, and equipment rental companies tend to be booked up. When this is the case, you spend a lot of time searching for and calling vendors, only to find they aren’t available.


All-inclusive venues, on the other hand, save you the hassle of coordinating things yourself, because all the big ticket items are included in the price. While the cost of all-inclusive venus can seem lofty at first glance, once you understand the cost breakdown you’ll see that they have great value. Plus, the time you’ll save by booking an all-inclusive venue can be spent organizing the staff gift exchange or planning fun, festive activities.


  • What kind of food and beverages does the venue offer?


Not all venues have on-site catering, so it’s important to know this before you book the venue because you may have to bring in off-site catering. If on-site catering is available, ask about the catering packages and flexibility they offer. If you have coworkers with dietary restrictions or special diets, like vegan or vegetarian diets, you’ll want to make sure that the venue can accommodate them.


Be sure to ask about beverage options too, because not all venues have liquor licenses. If you want to have alcohol at the party, you may need to get your own license before the party.


  • Does the venue have a list of party vendors to create a festive environment?


Most established venues will have a preferred vendors list that you can use a resource for booking all the additional services you need for the holiday party, from a DJ to play Christmas music to decorators who can help create a winter wonderland. Be sure to ask, as it will save you loads of time in the planning process. Plus, you know the vendors will have experience working at the venue, which means they are bound to do an amazing job.


A Festive Party for a Hard Working Staff


Once you’ve asked all these important questions, you can make a fully informed decision and choose the venue that best suits your vision and your busy schedule. For no-fuss, simple planning that doesn’t have you staying at the office late into the evening and leaves you time to do your Christmas shopping, choosing an all-inclusive venue with on-site catering and a personal event coordinator is your best bet. While you can’t necessarily take shortcuts on your other work at the office, you can with holiday party planning. And the best part is, the party will be even better for it.


With all-inclusive packages and pricing, personal event coordinators, and on-site catering, Kennolyn could be the perfect, exclusive venue for your holiday party. To find out how we can help you plan your festive celebration, contact us today.


Image source: Unsplash user Andrew Knechel







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