With the 2020 holiday season in full swing, things are looking different in every aspect of our lives. From school to family to work, COVID-19 has affected everything. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to grow and maintain your business, which is ever important in these economic times. If you are looking for ways to show your existing clients you appreciate their business or to attract new clients, the holiday season is the perfect time to do it.
As companies are finalizing their holiday budget spends and making plans for 2021, they have an opportunity to be a valuable resource, and one way to do that is through hosting a holiday party. In 2020, corporate Thanksgiving celebrations and holiday parties and will definitely be different but what is not different is using networking to connect with clients.
If you are looking to revamp how you host your annual holiday party or just looking to start a new tradition with a virtual holiday party or socially distanced one, we have a roundup of tips to enable you to host an event your clients won’t want to miss and that makes an impact on both your bottom line and holiday experience.
Plan Ahead To Make It A Success
In 2020, planning is even more critical. With all sorts of shipping delays and technology issues, a virtual event requires just as much planning as an in-person event. Fallon Carter, a Los Angeles-based event planner and hospitality expert, says, “I treat virtual events the same as I would a live event. Start with the guest experience we are looking to create … and then work backward from there. Each decision matters and even more so now that we are behind a screen.” If you are busy homeschooling and running your business or just looking to take the load off your shoulder, an event planner may be a great way to put together a successful event for your clients while not adding stress to your already hectic schedule.
Curate A Food Experience
Food is an essential part of any holiday gathering, and that looks very different in 2020. From meal kits to food delivery, you definitely have options for entertaining your clients and creating a curated food experience. Kevin Miller, CMO of The Fresh Market, says, “Just because we have to celebrate virtually this season, does not mean you have missed out on all the great holiday food. The Fresh Market can help bring the party to you with their range of holiday meals and party platters to fit gatherings of all socially distanced sizes.” Your local grocer or farmer’s market are other great places to get fresh and unique premade foods delivered to your client’s doorstep.
Don’t Forget Your Employees
Many employees are missing connecting with people both personally and professionally. Involving your employees in your virtual holiday party plans is a great way to boost morale and ultimately boost your bottom line. Carla Eustache of Style Perfect Events suggests you celebrate employees as outlined, “For each employee, give them a turkey and gift a turkey to a local nonprofit in their honor. Also, gift employees with a Visa, Mastercard, or Amex gift card to shop for groceries or whatever their need is. For engagement, have employees share their favorite turkey recipe on a company Pinterest page and encourage them to try a new recipe and interact, comment, and upload an image of their Thanksgiving turkey or day after dish using leftover Thanksgiving turkey.”
It’s Still About the Ambience
Whether in-person or online, your clients and your time are valuable. Gail Johnson, a celebrity event planner based in Atlanta, loves creating a mood for her events, and she says you can do this “Put together a music playlist of your favorite artist or organize an after-dinner movie watching event with a live chat play-by-play commentary.”
Part of the experience is to make sure to keep your clients and guests engaged; Johnson reminds us to follow this rule: “Remember, to make sure everyone participates, keep the call to the allocated time and enjoy your virtual holiday!”
Show Your Support While You Show Your Appreciation
One of my favorite things about the holidays is gift-giving; whether it is a hostess gift or a party favor, gifts are a great way to stand out among your clients. As a Black-owned business, I am making a conscious effort to support as many Black-owned businesses as possible and suggest curating a basket of some of your local favorites or industry-specific items. Here are a few of my favorites for a foodie inspired client gift basket:
- Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen: Food and Family Lore from the Lowcountry Book by Sallie Anne Robinson
- Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing Book by Jerrelle Guy
- Bowman Vineyards Hot Pepper Jelly
- Taste of Satira Gullah Geechee Fish Fry
- Taste of Satira Gullah Authentic Seasoning All Spice
- Taste of Satira Gullah Garlic and Herb Seasoning
- Sage & Larger Herbal Bath
- Gullah Postcards
- Basket decorated with handcrafted napkins by Marigold Living – Countryside Napkin Chevron Indigo (not Black-owned)
- Holy Spirits! Charleston Culture Through Cocktails Book by Cocktail Bandits, Taneka Reaves and Johnny Caldwell
- Bowman Vineyards Scuppernong Cider
- Bowman Vineyards Muscadine Grape Cider Blush
- Bowman Vineyards Raw Honey
- Gullah Postcards
- Basket decorated with handcrafted placemats by Marigold Living Naaz Placemat & Marigold Living Anna Placement (not Black-owned)
The holidays will look very different this year, but one thing remains the same: the importance of great hospitality and making meaningful connections. Through curated food, thoughtful planning, and creative gifting, you can use your 2020 holiday party as a way to connect with your clients, grow your business and show your employees your appreciation for them while also finding time to enjoy yourself and celebrate your successes and triumphs for the year.