Planning a Successful New Year Corporate Party in Arizona

Planning a Successful New Year Corporate Party in Arizona

Throwing a New Year party is a great way to recharge your team and giving it the new impetus for the next year.  However, a corporate event is a synonym for boredom in the dictionary of many employees. As an organizer, it is your job to dispel such perceptions. You have to make sure your event look and feel less formal and more of a New Year bash. Nonetheless, you still need to be diligent to make sure it doesn’t turn into a frat party either.

By striking this challenging balance, you can make your New Year’s corporate event a success. Also, this success will be long-lasting. The employees who will attend this party are going to wait for the next year’s bash. If you are an Arizona-based business and want to organize a tempting New Year event for your team, then read on. We are going to discuss things that will tone down the formality of the event while adding more fun to it but without tarnishing its core identity of being “corporate.”

The Venue Should not Be a Hotel

Hotel ballrooms and conference halls have an inherent formal feel to them.  There are strong chances that having your corporate New Year bash inside a hotel will make it stale. It would be better if you pick an open-air venue. It looks and feels less formal.  You can also opt for some unconventional options like a hangar. Hangars are, in fact, a better option than an open-air venue. Its enclosed construction makes sure your event doesn’t get affected by the overwhelming cold of a December evening.

Make it Less Informal Through Drinks and Foods

You can also make your New Year Corporate party more interesting, engaging, and less formal by choosing the menu carefully. For instance, order more drinks per head than a regular corporate event. However, don’t go overboard where people start binging on drinks as if it is a happy hour. Remember, you don’t want your event to turn into a frat party.

Also, choose the side dishes and main course that doesn’t need peculiar cutlery and table manners to consume. By offering foods that one can only eat in an informal manner, you can change the entire ambiance of the event. Wings, fries, burgers, pizza, lasagnas, sausages, etc. are a staple in informal food menus for your New Year’s corporate event. You can also add Middle Eastern and Indian dishes to the menu to simultaneously make it interesting and less formal.

Entertainment Should Set the Mood Accordingly

There strong chances that the majority of your staff would belong to Generation X and Y. So, make sure the entertainment, primarily music, at the event should be in accordance with their test. If EDM is a popular genre among guests, then it should be played. Electronic music will also suit the upbeat mood of a typical New Year bash.

From arranging a hanger to taking care of catering and entertainment of the event, Scottsdale Private Event Venues will make sure your New Year Corporate party becomes a resounding success.

Are you Negotiating for the Right Things for F&B?

Are you Negotiating for the Right Things for F&B?

I have found that when I ask colleagues why they are attending a meeting, I get answers like, networking, education, etc. But when they return and I ask how the meeting was, they usually start describing the food and beverage events.

Ergo, food and beverage is important to the success of your meeting.

People generally remember only the very bad or the excellent events they have attended. Never want to be remembered for bad events (skimpy food, cheap booze, tacky theme, etc.). You don’t want to be in the middle where the event is promptly forgotten. You want to be remembered for the fabulous events that attendees talk about for years.

I can still remember the incredible Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple of Doom event that was held in Boston at a PCMA conference in the early 90s. And, I still shudder when I remember a certain conference with an outside buffet in the direct sun in Miami – with mayonnaise-based salads and cream pies – and where the waiters were actually eating off of the back of the buffet as we were selecting our items from the front.

Catering is usually the largest budget item for most meetings. Yet, it often comes last in the planning process. I have had planners tell me that catering is a “black hole.” They don’t know what is negotiable or how to negotiate. Catering is not one-size-fits-all. Everything about each event is unique.

One thing to consider is soft costs vs hard costs. A hotel cannot sell you a bottle of wine for $20 if they paid $25 for it, but they can usually recommend a less expensive wine. Soft costs can be rental charges, because the hotel does not have to outlay cash.

I asked James Filtz, a Convention Service Manager at the Sheraton New York (Starwood), what is most negotiable in catering. His answer: “The contents of a menu. Often times if a customer comes to me and wants to swap out items, or create a custom menu I am happy to oblige. It is much easier for me to get approval from leadership to do this than discount a menu.”

Cheryl Sgovio, Director of Catering and Convention Sales at the Thomas & Mack Center/Cox Pavilion/Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas agrees. Cheryl says, “Menu selections. We will work with every client to customize a menu that best suits their event.”

So, what is least negotiable? Sgovio says, “Minimums. We have to be sure and protect the space we are holding and ensure it will be offset with either a high enough food and beverage purchase and/or rental.”

Filtz says it is, “Labor fees and service charges. I work in a unionized property and our collective bargaining agreement drives these fees. I have no way not to pay for them.

Written by Patti Shock

Patti Shock on Linkedin

More Personalization, New Destinations

More Personalization, New Destinations. Last year’s results could have been an anomaly. The latest data just in from the annual incentive travel survey by MeetingsNet and the Incentive Research Foundation, it looks like we’ve got a trend on our hands: Budgets are coming back!

“Overall this year’s survey again shows a banner year for incentive travel, with budgets expanding and programs growing,” says IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “Planners continue to find ways to meet attendee demands for authentic, unique, personalized experiences. By targeting new destinations, expanding their use of mobile, highlighting merchandise experiences, and helping attendees give back.”Asked about their 2016 incentive budgets overall, most planners reported budgets that are stable or that have grown over 2015.

The mood is not quite as giddy as it was last year when almost 54 percent saw increases (and half those increases were more than 10 percent). For 2016, planners whose budgets are up (about 38 percent of respondents) are typically working with modest— and more sustainable—increases. “The austerity measures and cautious optimism of the post-re­cession era is finally receding from budgets,” Van Dyke says. “The pendulum is now swinging toward program re-investment, giving planners the resources they need to create incentives with a lasting impression.”

 Change in 2016 Incentive Budgets Increased significantly (more than 25%) Increased moderately (11% to 25%) Increased slightly (6% to 10%) About the same (5% to -5%) Decreased slightly (-6% to -10%) Decreased moderately (-11% to -25%) Decreased significantly (more than -25%)

Our Culinary Skills rock!

Our Culinary Skills rock!

Our Culinary Skills rock! VNS has corporate event planning and catering that presents incomparable event capabilities. Our desire is to provide you and your guests with a flawless culinary experience highlighting sustainability produced, inventive and luscious menus. The highest caliber of service in our industry, trend setting design and attention to every detail.


At VNS we always tailor-makes our menus to suit your imaginative, organizational and budgetary requests.


More than a catering company. We have a culinary team focused on delivering experiential events for a clientele who have seen it all. Let our team bring to life your next corporate event. Our amazing team is equally at home planning a wedding as a corporate event.

Our catering, food styling and event production services include

Creative menu design with sophisticated, innovative cuisine
We provide custom tailoring of buffets and plates as well as bar accessories
Liquid refreshment synchronization
Novelty kitchens
Provision guidelines, timing and coordination
Exceptional trained service staff that are professionals
Creating the perfect custom menu for your event that will be talked about for years is our specialty. Chefs are well versed in food allergies and preferences; vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

We are known for our locally produced food. We have a strong relationship with our purveyors, from farmers to bakers, to cheese makers. Our focus is on the freshest, most seasonal ingredients available. Our team is constantly connecting seasonal and local foods with innovative menu ideas. From our food presentation to beautiful table designs, we will help capture your vision for the perfect event that will impress your guests and make you shine

Whether you are celebrating a corporate anniversary or hosting your annual company party, let us make you look good. From casual to upscale, our corporate catering division can create an event that reflects the caliber and style of your company.

If you need interactive games, entertainment, live music, or out of the box ideas for a unique celebration – we are here to help. Santa Barbara Catering offers one stop shopping and can coordinate all of this for you.

The next time your company needs to plan a memorable corporate celebration or corporate meeting, look to our event planners to bring your vision to life.

We would love to start planning your custom menu!



New Ways to Design Business Events

New Ways to Design Business Events 

From business conferences to other industry events, planners are getting creative in layout, technology, and even swag bags

To stand out in a competitive event landscape, fresh ideas in room layout and seating options can create better environments at traditional meetings and conferences. Here are some ways to give new life to business-focused events.

Choose a design concept early and clearly articulate what makes it unique

“The challenge is to come up with something new each time and to make these events look different,” says Dea Lawrence, chief marketing officer at Variety. Variety plans some 40 events each year, and in November introduced StyleMakers, an event held with sister publication WWD that honored creatives in the acting, design, and beauty worlds. Lawrence says her team needs to be able to distinguish how the event differs from past efforts or competing affairs, “especially in L.A. where there’s so much competition around these events.” Variety’s senior manager of event marketing, Jasmine Abghari, created the design for the event.

Select a venue suited to new design ideas

At Quartz’s the Next Billion: New York, held in November at the Conrad New York, planners were looking for opportunities to brand walls, ceilings, floors, and other surfaces, says Maggee Dorsey, event manager, head of operations, for Quartz Events. Try to use a venue’s architecture and existing elements to amplify our brand versus pop-up signage and obtrusive signage,” she says. “We try to pick venues and locations that allow us to continue that immersive design experience. We want to create environments that are seamless and easy to experience.” “Not every business conference or meeting needs to be classroom or conference style,” says Michele Wilde, director of conference services and event sales at the Breakers Palm Beach.

Use design to meet guests’ technology needs

Quartz’s row of seating for laptop users made sense for the digital media brand. “We know our attendees have multiple devices—iPads, computers, cell phones all at the same time. It gives our attendees who do need to be working at the same time . … It’s also wonderful for press.” Visually encouraging guests to stay connected also reinforced the event’s digital goals. For the first time, the event had its own Slack channel, and moderators incorporated questions posted there in discussions. Users of the event’s live stream also could pose questions.

Create a sense of theater

Does a DJ booth belong at a corporate event? At the StyleMakers event, planners placed it on the main stage. “Events are like theatrical experiences,” Lawrence says. “How do we keep it theatrical and keep it entertaining? How do we keep it in the mood of the event and keep them engaged? People in the entertainment industry are jaded. They’ve seen the best of everything. … The music is always important because it creates the theme of the day.

Provide dedicated space to keep conversations going

Quartz sought ways to change up the traditional Q&A format. “We want to keep our content on the main stage on track and focused on the message,” Dorsey says. Instead of running mics or subjecting the entire room to someone’s long-winded question, the speakers moved to a dedicated space after their presentations and took questions from attendees. The result, Dorsey says, is that speakers felt more relaxed answering questions while the attendees had a more personal experience with the speakers.

Use design to maximize value for sponsors

WWD created custom content for presenting sponsor Mercedes-Benz that later populated a dedicated website. High-profile guests such as actresses Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, as well as fashion designer Zac Posen appeared in videos. They talked about what drives them to be successful. The website features the same branding and colors as the event. “It’s a great example of native advertising done very well,” Lawrence says. “It is intrinsic and organic to the conversation we were having at the luncheon that day.”


By Beth Kormanik #Bizbash