Bay Lights Blog

Time to Plan the Annual Corporate Holiday Party - Please not a boring old private restaurant room again!

by Rich Goldman

I was the Vice President of Marketing for a big time multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley tech company. I thought my Marketing Team was the best! They always worked hard, long hours & they produced results. So come the end of each year, I wanted to throw them a holiday party that they would really appreciate and remember.

I was lucky. I had a great events team. They were creating events all year round, so they knew what they were doing. Every year around this time, I would ask them to research venues and events that would be great for the annual department holiday party. They would go off and return in about a week with a half dozen options, then present them to me. Some ideas were too expensive, others were just plain boring. (No, I do not want to go to a private room in some restaurant again this year.) Others were really cool but proved out to be just not practical. (No, I do not want to meet at 5 am so we can all take a bus to bungee jump off Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. Well, actually I do, but I don't think everybody on the team wants to do that.) And no, I don't want to go to the movies to see Sex In The City, Part 2. Again.

Finding something to do that is unique, practical, and that most people will enjoy was always a challange. We had 50 people on the team, and typically a budget between $100 and $200 per person, depending on how good a year we had. We had to include the event, a dinner or lunch, trasportation,and some give aways. I like to do physical activities, but not eveyone does. I like sports, but not everyone deos. Some years we had hits that eveyone enjoyed like bussing to San Francisco for dinner and Beach Blanket Babalyon or Cirque de Soleil. More often, we ended up with a boring old private room in a restaurant. I never want to do that again!


There is a unique new local venue that fits the bill just great for a memorable holiday party that most everyone enjoys. Gas Light is a beautiful historical 72' schooner that can host holiday parties for up to 49 people. It's local, and easy to get to at South Beach Harbor in san Francisco, right next to the Giant's ballpark, AT&T Park. It can even sail to you, if you are near a Bay marina. You can do your event dock side or sail out on the San Francisco Bay, to see all the magnificant sites, and even sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. The captain and crew will happily give you all the history of the boat and the Bay sites.There is a large space below decks, just in case the weather isn't co operating. They'll cater for you, or you can arrange your own catering, and there is alcohol availble on board if you want. And all this fits well into the annual budget. This is one holiday party that everyone will remember! 

I'd like to hear from you. Does this sound like your holiday party experience? Are you an event planner? How do you choose the venue for your team's holiday party? Does a San Francisco Bay cruise on a historical schooner sound like an event venue you that would make your list for your holiday party? Please leave your comments!

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