How to get guests to engage during your event

At Eventa we organise lots of corporate events all year round and we always get people asking us for event hosting tips. Recently we had a venue ask us “How do you get people to enthusiastically partake in activities during your events?”

Well getting people to participate and interact during an event can be quite tricky (even professional party planners can find it tough sometimes!) as any type of “forced fun” is usually met with reluctance. However it’s not impossible, so if you’ve done the event budgeting and you’re currently planning an event that requires some audience engagement then there are a few things you need to do…

Allow people to play

Games, people love them. So if you want lots of engagement during your event (and you have money in the budget) then why not set up some games for people to play? Naturally check with the venue first before you start planning but if they are O.K. with it then go mad! You can do all out and book something like laser archery or set-up actual game booths like a Wii or retro arcade racing games. Or it could be something less extravagant like indoor bowling or a coconut shy.

Arrange conversation starters

If you can’t have games then go for entertainment instead but if you want people to get talking then make sure you book entertainment that’s unique, quirky or different; that way people will feel excited and start conversations surrounding what they’ve seen. So think operatic drag singers, fire eaters, unusual dancers or magicians.

Give your guests a task

This is one of the easiest and most cost effective things to do. For example, this can be anything from a quiz, scavenger hunt or a general challenge. The best thing to do is to make this optional so people can choose to participate or not. Worried no one will? Incentivise them with a prize and you’ll see people involved in no time! (For example, one of our favourite parties is our “Murder Mystery Party” where guests try and solve a murder in between courses.)

Mood setting music

If you don’t like the idea of performers or games then at least make sure you have mood setting music. A live band is best but at the very least get a DJ to play some music in the background. Mainly because an event without music might as well be a conference about boredom, not the effect we think anyone wants from their party! At the very least, music can get people dancing which in itself is a form of interaction that you don’t have to encourage.

What to budget for… company parties

So you’ve been given a budget for your company party. Excellent, however staying within that budget can be quite hard, especially if you want to book a larger than life party that nobody in your company is going to forget any time soon! So what do you do? Settle for something mediocre? Or go over budget and suffer the wrath of your boss (even though they were really impressed with the party at the time.)

Well with some clever planning – hopefully neither! You’ll have to trust us: it is possible to book a fantastic company party without going over budget, admittedly it’s far more cost effective to book through an events agency (like Eventa) because if you plan to book somewhere expensive and in demand like a London Christmas party then it can be tricky to put together the kind of event you want during peak festive season.

So if you plan to book your own party from scratch then here are a few tips from us that you need to consider…

Decide on a date

This is a huge consideration as the date of the party affects everything from the price to the availability. Fridays are normally the most expensive date to book as everybody wants the weekend to recover (for example, Friday the 20th would be the most expensive date to book in 2013.) So make sure you keep that in mind when you decide on dates. In fact, we suggest having two dates in mind before you start ringing around – just in case.  Another thing to consider (if you want to save the pennies) is to have a Christmas lunch rather an evening meal, as they will be less in demand and more reasonable price wise.


Naturally keep your budget in mind when booking a venue and don’t pick a venue you know is going to be expensive. Another thing to consider is space, now it may seem obvious but you’ll be surprised how many people forget this. Don’t book a venue that’s too big or too small for your party. Also if you plan to decorate yourselves and hire entertainment, then make sure you inform the venue before booking/buying any of these as some places won’t allow certain entertainment/decorations (fire eaters for example!)

Food & Drink

This is normally a priority for most companies (particularly the drinks part!) so make sure you split your budget up and make plenty of room for this! Obviously most people prefer an open bar but if your budget won’t push that far then you can allocate drink tokens (which is what most of our clients do) so employees still get a free drink but they are limited. Also if a sit down meal is going to push your limits then maybe consider having canapés instead of a full sit down meal.


If the party is in a venue that is hard to get to or if you’re worried about people getting lost (or heaven forbid drink driving!) Then maybe budget in minibuses to get people to and from the venue.

Decorations & table arrangements

Most of the time the venue will have its own decorations and table arrangements, however if you want your own then make sure you put aside some decorating money from budget. This may seem excessive but as an agency we always try and encourage some company branding at a corporate party as it helps with company morale.

Music & Entertainment

You don’t have to go for the whole DJ & disco thing if you don’t want to (as that normally costs extra) but a party without music is just a conference. So don’t forget to provide some tunes for your event! Entertainment is also a good choice if you really want to go all out, but we only really recommend this option if you have a large budge and/or are booking a shared party.

Optional: – Security & Event management

By no means necessary but still rather nice addition to any company Christmas party! These features normally come included when you book a corporate event through an agency. However if you’re concerned about things going wrong at the event and you don’t want to be the one who deals with it, then it may be best for you to get some external help. This help can come in the form of event managers who will oversee that things run smoothly, to security who will ensure that no external gate crashers get in and that there is no trouble caused during the course of the evening.

Having a corporate party? Why a live band will rock your event!

Guest Post from our friends at Alive Network – Online Live Music & Entertainment Booking Service. 

In today’s economic climate, it’s not enough just to give your clients or employees a ‘nice’ corporate event – you need to wow them, entertain them and energise them about your event, your products – your company.

And all this at a time when corporate entertainment budgets are being squeezed and value for money is so important.

Sounds impossible right? Well…

A live band is one of the best ways to inject enjoyment, energy and fun into any corporate event. A live performance by a professional or function band is so much more than just music; it’s a great show packed with songs everyone knows and loves, and a shared experience that guests can enjoy and talk about for weeks afterwards.

There’s an energy to live music you just don’t get from recordings, and it has absolutely nothing to do with volume or stage size. The best corporate function bands can delight a roomful as easily as they can thrill a large marquee or ballroom, and it’s all down to what they play.

The best UK corporate events bands have the experience, professionalism and imagination to create a show that suits your audience and guests. By playing the most famous tunes by top artists from the 1960s to today’s number one hits, everyone knows a song or two, from the youngest whizzkid in IT to the most senior of board members. And with so many international artists and globally-loved songs to choose from, your foreign guests or delegates will always feel part of the party!

As a result, performances by live bands for hire are also great ‘levellers’ – you’ll find guests of all ages up and dancing given half the chance, and those just relaxing and watching will have their feet tapping or be humming along.

If at this point you know your CEO/manager/MD is sooo not going for this, here’s a thought. A live band doesn’t have to play pop or rock. So get around them by suggesting:

• A jazz band to entertain during drinks on the terrace of your conference hotel
• A soul band for a smother, cooler class of entertainment after a long day of work?
• A Rat Pack singer and big band playing a set that exudes sophistication for a dinner of top execs and management?
• A swing band or a salsa band to get absolutely everyone up and dancing?
It’s as simple as that, so next time you’re given the task of organising the corporate entertainment, why not rock the party with some of the UK’s best bands to hire. Your guests will love it, your colleagues will love it, and you’ll get all the praise and glory for having booked them. Job done!


Alive Network ( is the UK’s largest live music and entertainment service, with over 4000 experienced musicians, bands and groups on its books.

The office Secret Santa doesn’t have to be a present buying minefield

As Christmas begins to creep up on us (I noticed DFS have started mentioning Christmas in their adverts, before we know it that Coca Cola advert will be on our screens), all that comes with the festive period starts to cloud your thoughts. With so much to consider, arrange and worry about, the last thing you probably want to be thinking about is what to buy a work colleague. Yes, I’m talking about the office tradition that is Secret Santa! As if the office Christmas party wasn’t enough huh?! Some people may find this a daunting and draining experience, but it doesn’t have to be!

First of all you’ll find out who you’ve got in the Secret Santa draw. For some people it feels like a lottery where there are only losers, but take just a few things into consideration and you’ll be able to unearth a present no matter who you have to buy for.

Type of person, how well do you know them?

Now you know who you are buying for, but how well do you know them? If they’re a casual workplace acquaintance you may have your work cut out a little bit, but you can still do this!

Take a look at their work desk, if they have a lot of ‘stuff’ then chances are you’ll be able to get away with something simple that will still be appreciated. For instance, a jar of sweets for the office sweet tooth, or a USB drink warmer for the office caffeine addict show thought, time and effort have gone into your gift.

If you’re lucky enough you may get a close work friend in the Secret Santa. I’ll assume you know enough about each other to be able to find a suitable present no matter the price limit.

Is there a price limit?

That leads me rather nicely onto my next hint. If there is a price limit this can make your life a whole lot easier, or even harder. If the limit is a low price, say £10 or even £5 you can probably get away with a fun present. That’s how I’ve always done it, if it’s £5 or under you can definitely go down the joke present route.

The best Secret Santa present I received for under £5 was a gold shower radio in the shape of a microphone, which my better half absolutely loved.

If the limit is a little higher then thought and time definitely needs to enter the equation. Like I’ve already said, a quick look at your colleague’s desk (or even their social media profiles) can provide you with plenty of ideas and inspiration. Hey, they might even have an Amazon wishlist, in which case you’ve struck gold!

Still stuck? Wing it

OK, not the best piece of advice to give, but if you are absolutely stuck just go for it. If your colleagues are a fun loving bunch (like we are here at Eventa!) then you can get away with buying almost anything for your Secret Santa. I’ve been with Eventa for a couple of weeks now but I already know that if Secret Santa makes an appearance that there will be some incredible presents doing the rounds.

No Secret Santa? No problem

Your office may forego the Secret Santa tradition, in which case you’ve got nothing to worry about. However, it won’t be quite as fun for your office come that last day before your Christmas break!

Hopefully these hints and tips will help take some of the stress away from buying your Secret Santa present, and make this time of year more enjoyable no matter who you’re buying presents for!

Planning a Stress Free Office Christmas Party

If it’s your duty to organise the office Christmas party then you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Okay there’s still plenty of time to go before Christmas is here, but for anyone who’s trying to organise numbers, a venue, theme and food you’ll know it never seems long enough! It’s important to make the right impression with a Christmas party so it’s normal to feel a little pressure in making sure everyone has a good time. Whilst a little pressure is a good thing, getting stressed out certainly isn’t so we’ve put together some handy hints and tips to make sure your Christmas party planning doesn’t give you a headache!

Leave plenty of time to prepare

It’s never too early to start and even in October plenty of venues are taking bookings for Christmas parties. It’s much better to start early and have a choice of venues and party packages than to be scrabbling around the week before trying to find somewhere to squeeze in a hundred people! Leaving yourself plenty of time has to be our number one tip in reducing stress. London Christmas Parties are extremely popular and get booked up fast so give us a call today on 01273 225 078 to avoid disappointment.

Know the budget

Nothing’s going to stress you out more than finding out how much you have to spend after you’ve ordered the lobster and champagne starters and the ice sculpture of your boss. Knowing your budget removes a lot of stress because if you talk to a party planning agency they can advise you on different options just by knowing how much you are able to spend. Once you know how much is available for the party you can then work out the theme, food, venue and entertainment options.

Get input from your team

If you’ve been put in charge it might feel like you have to make all the hard and fast decisions about the Christmas party, but remember that everyone will be there to enjoy it so it’s worth taking some time getting input on what people might enjoy. As well as taking the pressure off you to have all the answers, you might also find that they give you some inspiring ideas that you might otherwise not have thought about.

Use a planning company or agency

If you haven’t got the time to be phoning round individual venues, caterers, and entertainment agencies then it might be worth booking through a planning agency to do all of this for you. You still get to choose what type of party you have, where and what theme, but they can then take the pressure and stress of getting everything booked up and confirmed. Most agencies will also have a website that you can look at to choose the different party packages and once it’s all booked you can focus your attention on enjoying the build up to the party!