Companies Shy Away From Holiday Glitz

Lights go out on extravagent corporate parties

If your company is not hosting a holiday party this year, you're not alone.

Hotels and restaurants across North Texas are seeing a sharp decrease in bookings.

And money is not the only reason why, according to human resources consultant Sherrie Elliott. She said public perception is also playing a role.

Take Goldman Sachs, for example. Business Insider reports the company has banned its employees from gathering in groups of 12 or more during the month of December. Goldman Sachs, which has an office in Dallas, doesn't want to give the impression they're celebrating at time when so many people are suffering.

The Fairmont Hotel in Dallas reported its corporate party bookings are down 15 percent this holiday season.

“Every year, we would have major parties in the ballroom,” said Shannah Milstead, a hotel spokeswoman. “Those are the ones that are going to be quiet this year."

Lavish soirees can be seen as bad form in this economy, said Elliott, who wrote the book “Ties to Tattoos.”

“They don’t want to send the wrong message that they are allocating money to the wrong place,” she said.

The Fairmont said it still has hundreds of holiday parties on the books, just less extravagant ones. For example, open bars may now be cash bars, and many holiday dinner parties are turning into luncheons.

“It still gives people the ability to gather, but it lowers their cost,” Milstead said.

Daytime parties can also in other ways.

“If you do something at lunchtime, it doesn’t usually involve the spouses, so that way companies can save as well," Milstead said.

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