Christmas: Behind the scenes in the hospitality industry
December 20, 2016
For most people Christmas begins when the festive party season starts and the family get-togethers begin to get booked in diaries – with the finale coming on New Year’s Eve. Then you have the people who work in hospitality for whom Christmas is the whole year round! Often, hospitality management is planning the following Christmas before the current one has even begun. Hotels like ours are planning their menus and themes, whilst retail stores will be sourcing their stock and deciding on their special offers.
For the hotel industry, Christmas party preparations kick off early
Come the second week in January in The Chichester Hotel, it’s time to sit down and organise the brochure for the next Christmas. We’ll go through menus and discuss what worked last Christmas and what could be improved. What can be done to make the Christmas puddings even better? Tasting them once (or twice) again before making any decisions, obviously!
Booking the band and planning the advertising
The whole process of planning, designing and printing the Christmas brochure can take up to six months as people’s tastes, trends and opinions change. For example, should we put a snowman on the front page of the brochure, or a picturesque snowy scene of the hotel? Decisions, decisions!
We also look at booking the carol singers for Christmas Eve and the band for New Year’s Eve, getting it all in the diary nice and early to make sure we don’t lose our favourites to someone else!
September is the month that Christmas planning steps up a notch
Then starts the process of booking Christmas; contacting people who came the previous year and people that enquired but couldn’t make it – perhaps they couldn’t book the night they wanted last time so we give them the chance to make an early reservation. However, what we find is who wants to think about Christmas in February or March? So we often have a quiet period after the initial bookings are made while Christmas falls to the back of people’s minds for a while.
Then September arrives before you know it and it is all hands on deck; sourcing the Christmas crackers, replacing the decorations and booking a company to install them, not forgetting the hiring of staff to make sure we’re not shorthanded at the busiest time of the year!
Secure your Christmas booking in advance – it saves last minute panic
When October comes we start to see people in slight panic mode (don’t worry we’ve all been there before); calling to book their special Christmas party night, often for a Friday or Saturday night, which is when everyone wants to book for! (Hint: Book nice and early to avoid disappointment).
Then payments start to come in and confirmations are sent out. Late October is when the outside lights go up – and we just hope that all the bulbs are working, otherwise you have to find the broken link like you do at home. We all know how much fun that can be!
Christmas decorations to get the entire hotel into the festive spirit
We reach November and by now Christmas day is all booked up with New Year’s Eve not far behind! The first party of the season is almost here so decorations are all put up inside, the big switch-on takes place outside with our own famous general manager of The Chichester Hotel – there’s no Kylie Minogue or X-Factor winner here unfortunately!
Common favourites for our clients and corporates at Christmas parties
When the first Christmas party arrives, the disco is ready to play all the favourites – Slade, Wizzard and Wham! We see ladies turning up in beautiful dresses that they’ve dieted hard for all autumn, and men in their smart wear or Christmas jumpers – wishing they could wear jeans and trainers. It’s a three-course meal and then onto the dancefloor and of course the drink. How many mulled wines does it take before you hit the dance floor!?
The final Christmas curtain falls…
Before you know it, Christmas is over for another year. Staff are shattered after a hectic festive period, running around and vowing to kill the next person who plays a Christmas song!
By this point the decorations are looking a little worse for wear, Brussels sprouts are being found in the beams of the Chichester Suite, and balloon whizzers are being found in the Essex Barn’s timbers. But it’s all part of the fun of Christmas in the hotel business. We love it, and we hope you all have a great time this year.