LAUNCHING THE NEW 2019 PARTIES
INTERVIEW WITH OUR MD
1ST MAY 2019 //
We talk to our Managing Director, Richard Longhill, about launching the new 2019 parties and designing our theme sets…
WE’RE NOW COMING INTO MAY – WHEN DO YOU START THE PLANNING PROCESS FOR THIS YEAR’S PARTIES?
Ha! A question I get asked a lot… When we just had the one Christmas party venue back in 2008/09, we’d take the first half of the year off! Nowadays things have changed a bit and we’re on the go all year. The planning for this year’s parties started towards the middle of last year when we started to look at provisional themes. And then in January we’re straight into menu tastings, wine selection and tweaking the look and feel of a few things, all ready to get the new websites launched and brochures to print by March!
WHY DO YOU LAUNCH SO EARLY IN THE YEAR FOR CHRISTMAS?
It’s a simple case of customer demand – we’ll have guests contacting us in January wanting to book tickets! We have to politely explain we need a few weeks to get over last Christmas! A few years back we’d sell most of our tickets in September / October. Now it’s June/July and by September we’re pretty much sold out.
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE THEME NAMES?
Sometimes they just come to you, other times I’m scraping around for weeks trying to think of a name! ‘Zulu Sundance’ is one of my favourites – I love the name and the African theme is truly enchanting. It’s being rested this year but will be at our Liverpool venue in 2020.
HOW DO YOU VISUALISE WHAT THE THEME SETS WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE VENUE?
I don’t! We’re very lucky to have a superb creative and construction team that come up with the look and feel of the new themes. I’ll often have to deliver the bad news that we don’t have a £10 million budget and need to reduce down the scale a little! I normally spend some time with the theming team at the venues the previous year when we walk and talk through what’s worked and what can be improved on. When you’re hosting up to 2,500 guests per night at our larger venues, it’s important to make sure the guests flow through the venues efficiently, at the same time as making sure the venues look amazing.
DO YOU USE THE THEME SETS MORE THAN ONCE?
Yep, we build our theme sets with multiple years use in mind – They are so expensive these days that we need to get a few years use out of them! A new theme set for one of the big venues will take around 6 months to build from having final CAD plans signed off. We build most of the pieces in our own workshops here in Lutterworth and they are then transferred to storage units if needed. And other bits – such as a run of 10 metre tall African trees – we need to hire in!
Thanks Richard – we look forward to seeing the new 2019 brochures in the next week or two.