Shared parties have become part of the business mix for unique venues in
London.  Initially the product offered
to a client was a higher standard than some of the marquee companies.

However since 2008 it became
obvious that clients were mainly interested in ‘cost per head’ with an average
budget of £80 plus vat.  London Event Venues found it
difficult to compete with large operators such as ‘Best Parties Ever’ and
‘Concerto Group’. Last year when I carried out mystery shopping I was able to
buy a three-course meal in a large venue with unlimited wine, beer and soft
drinks and entertainment for about £60 plus vat in central London.  What a bargain!

I can only think some of the
operators were running at cost last year?

When I first entered the
market of shared Christmas parties in London it was to offer a truly unique experience in one of
London’s top venues with premium wines, catering & entertainment.   As price has become more central to the
decision I no longer operate the shared parties directly but utilise a third
party (Corporate Entertainment) and caterer (Dish) as they can operate on
different profit margins.

It certainly was not a great
year for making a profit from shared parties unless you were very much driven
by volume and very low prices which is a model that has worked for a couple of
operators very well. However with price being driven down, quality of the food,
bar and entertainment can suffer.

Price used to indicate the
quality to be expected, which is no longer necessarily the case.  This is an ideal situation for our clients
IF
they know the suppliers and the quality of the product. If not they need
to be guided by an event professional or use well established venues with a
rigorous supplier list.

Would
you sacrifice quality for quantity when looking for a shared Christmas party venue?

This blog was written on Wednesday 8th May 2013 by Michael Aldridge General Manager of Merlin Events London


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