UK Businesses Embrace Lavish Corporate Events to Entice Workforce Back to Office

Amidst the strains of rising living costs, the corporate events and parties market is flourishing as companies strive to rekindle connections with their staff.

In the face of ongoing challenges related to the cost of living in the UK, businesses are showing a surge of interest in corporate parties and social gatherings. This trend, as highlighted by recent data from Poptop – the premier corporate party booking platform in the UK, raises questions among experts about the potential recovery of the events market. With the lucrative Christmas party season imminent, the robust post-COVID return to corporate bookings prompts industry observers to wonder if the events sector is on a path to full recuperation.

The Remarkable Ascendancy of Corporate Parties Few sectors have felt the economic upheavals of recent years as acutely as the events industry. After nearly two years of near-total hiatus due to COVID, the corporate and private events domain began witnessing signs of revival, only to be dampened by high inflation and the escalating cost of living. Yet, amid these uncertainties, one niche of the events industry is thriving. Poptop, an online events marketplace, analysed data from 423 of its corporate clients and identified a staggering 68% increase in corporate bookings and staff gatherings compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The nature and timing of these thriving corporate events have evolved since the COVID shutdown. Buffet catering and bartender services saw a decline of 40% compared to 2019, while categories focused on “family-friendly” events such as BBQs, children’s entertainers, and magicians experienced an almost 100% surge in corporate bookings. Events are now often arranged on short notice, with corporate get-togethers frequently scheduled just weeks or even days prior to the event itself. In the midst of this volatile market, what is driving the flourishing of the corporate events sector?

Adopting Novel Approaches in Workplaces The meteoric rise of remote and hybrid working over recent years, initially out of necessity and later driven by employees seeking a healthier work-life balance, is no secret. However, many companies are keen to reintegrate their workforce into shared office spaces. Prominent business leaders like Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and James Dyson have expressed reservations about hybrid working schemes, possibly indicating a shift in sentiment among senior management.

Nevertheless, the reality is that UK workforces need to be enticed back into physical office spaces on a full-time basis. Some HR departments view this as an opportunity to showcase the value of the corporate environment. Family-themed events that unite the workforce and impromptu events for employees are powerful reminders that the office represents more than just managerial oversight. It offers a chance for employees to break free from the isolation and digital fatigue of remote work, enabling them to forge personal connections with colleagues – an element nearly impossible to replicate through virtual meetings.

Prioritizing Employee Well-being At this juncture, it remains to be seen whether this corporate charm offensive is truly driving workers back to the office. Nevertheless, these fresh corporate events offer an added advantage to both businesses and their employees. The challenges of the past few years have undoubtedly taken a toll on employee well-being and overall business productivity. Additional corporate events and team-building activities can significantly and durably improve employee happiness while rejuvenating overall team morale.

There’s also an external benefit to consider. Astute sales teams are realising that clients are equally eager to step away from their screens, making standalone networking events a golden opportunity. In a landscape saturated with online marketing, in-person events offer a chance for businesses to stand out, establishing lasting connections in the process.

A Bright Future for the Events Industry Whatever the driving factors behind this surge in corporate bookings, its impact on the broader events sector is substantial. Confidence within the industry is steadily growing, showing no signs of abating. Thanks to the corporate market’s resurgence, the events industry appears to be solidly back on its feet.

“In 2023, we’ve seen corporate events and parties explode in popularity. While hybrid work has become a go-to for many companies, business leaders are looking for new ways to keep their team members engaged with the company values, motivated and to encourage communication between them. We are not different – with almost all of our team members working “hybrid”, we are seeing a huge opportunity to gather everyone together for fun and engaging events. It’s a great chance to share all the recent news, discuss the company goals and just really have some fun together!”

Eugene Shestopal, CEO, Poptop UK

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