Download the Guide The holiday season is a time full of festivities, cheer, and celebrations. But for event managers of restaurants and other venues, it can also be a time of chaos — and even dipping sales. Luckily, businesses can work to balance out any declining sales with semi-private and private event hosting. Check out these curated statistics, expert quotes and tips to keep in mind before you launch into holiday party-hosting mode. By the Numbers Roughly 4 in 10 businesses aren’t prepared for the holidays. Approximately 61 percent of restaurants notice a decline in patrons during a seasonal holiday. However, in 2015, holiday restaurant sales were up 8.1% from the previous year. What the Experts Are Saying “First, be flexible. The holiday’s are a special time for everyone and you want to make the guests you are hosting feel like they are having a special holiday party experience. Secondly, customization — add value to your venue by offering something unique and different from the venue down the street. Lastly, be relatable. Just because an inquiry may not have the budget right now to host their event in your space does not mean they won’t inquire again about a different event. Be understanding and friendly so that they will come back to you.” –Christiané Jones, event and social media manager, Broken Spanish “Craft unique, quality holiday catering and décor packages. Clients love creative touches that they don’t have to plan themselves. And if you put together quality packages, you won’t be reinventing the wheel for every event. Also, find special touches that highlight your venue’s features and set the stage for magical moments. For us, that’s café lights strung throughout the venue that accentuate the exposed brick and original wood features of our historic 1912 building.” –BreeAnn Abel, office manager, Terminus 330 Tips for Successful Holiday Events Offer incentives for booking on a weeknight Consider offering a discount or extra add-on for hosting events during the week. Keep party sizes manageable for your staff An understaffed soiree is a recipe for disaster — monitor guest count and staff accordingly. Have fun with food and drink options Play with themes and special dining options, like buffet-style dishes and seasonal cocktails. Offer transportation information for those drinking Make it clear that there are available options to those drinking and offer to call car services. Don’t forget about your regular patrons Accommodate regular patrons by posting any special holiday hours in advance so they can plan accordingly.