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HGEM finds majority of workplaces still unsure about booking Xmas parties

Based on a recent consumer survey, Guest Experience Management expert HGEM found that less than a quarter (21%) workplaces were planning a Xmas party, however it is a significant increase from last year, when that figure was only 4%. 

Over half the workplaces (55%) remain unsure and could be adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach due to any potential new restrictions. In terms of personal safety, 89% of consumers are ready to party this Xmas, which is a 17% increase on last year. 

Within the group of consumers who are ready to party, there are varying levels of confidence. Almost half of consumers (49%) are happy to go to any venue, as long as safety measures are in place and the prevalence of that sentiment hasn't changed much in a year (47% in 2020).Over a quarter of respondents (28%) are not worried about Covid safety at all, (an increase of 11% from last year), and a small number of customers (12%) don't mind taking part, as long as they know the venue well (a 4% increase from last year).Sadly, 11% of consumers still don't feel safe enough to take part in any social gatherings, though that figure, unsurprisingly was much higher last year, when more than a quarter (28%) expressed they wouldn't feel comfortable going to a Xmas party.

Confidence has also increased in relation to going out in larger groups, as 2 out of 5 respondents (39%) have no upper limit on group sizes from a safety perspective, whilst 17% prefer group sizes of up to 30 people and over a quarter (28%) consumers would like to limit the party to 20 people. Almost a fifth of consumers, however, still prefer to keep numbers under 10.

The survey also reveals that most consumers (82%) expect table service. It’s least critical to Gen-Z (18-25) age group (62%), and most important to customers aged 46-55, as 89% expect table service. To avoid hassle on the night, 67% respondents would like to pre-order food and drinks. Of those who’d prefer to order on the night, 21% would like to order from a waiter, whereas 12% would expect to be able to order through an Order & Pay app. 

When it comes to choosing Xmas venues, ‘meal quality’ is the most important factor when it comes to decision making. The second priority this year is ‘safety’. Unsurprisingly, last year ‘safety’ was the top factor, followed by ‘meal quality’. Consumers voted ‘location’ as the third, and ‘new and exciting place’ as the fourth most important factor when it came to choosing their Christmas venue. ‘Entertainment’ polled last, which supposedly is a ‘nice to have’ rather than a priority of consumers this year.

Consumer confidence is recovering well, as HGEM’s Covid Safety Tracker indicated an average score of 7.9 out of 10, the highest it’s been since tracking began in October 2020, when the average score was only 7.07. 

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