5 tips for a great staff Christmas event

5 tips for a great staff Christmas event

You may be wondering if it’s worth hosting a Christmas event for your staff this year. It’s already November and everything will be booked up. It’ll be expensive. Doesn’t everyone hate the Christmas party anyway?

We’re here to change your mind, make it a breeze to organise and help you make it a great success.

Christmas parties or events are primarily a way to thank your staff. They may not all look forward to going, but they’ll likely feel unappreciated if you don’t organise any kind of event for them.

Parties also offer a safer space for your team to bond, and enjoy getting to know each other. Work friendships are crucial in maintaining employee morale, so grab as many chances to cultivate these as possible.

People let their guard down out of the office (especially if alcohol is involved!), and you might just get some more honest conversation about how your team is feeling if you chat in a social setting.

If you’re in a bigger organisation, there’s also an opportunity to get to know colleagues you might not work closely with or know that well. This might sound daunting to some, but you could just meet your new work best friend while you bond over the Christmas pudding!

Plus, Christmas parties can actually be really fun if you do them right. (We promise!)  

So if we’ve convinced you to hold a party, how can you make it a success?

1) Use Helm Tickets!

We had to start with this one. Of course we’re biased, but using Helm Tickets really can help your event run more smoothly. We used it for our own Christmas party, and having grappled with unwieldy spreadsheets in a previous job, it was a refreshingly simple way to record who had RSVP’d and what they wanted to eat. It also means all the information is in one place and everyone can check what they ordered instead of bothering you about it!

You can use our ‘additional options’ feature to ask for any extra information from your guests you might need, e.g. food or drink preferences, medical information, or even who they’d like to sit with!

You can also embed the ticket sales into your internal staff website, or intranet, making it easier for staff to find it.

And you can mark your events as private, so there’s no worries about having anyone you didn’t invite turn up.

2) Think about who your colleagues are

This’ll probably be easier if you’re a smaller company, but think about your company culture and the people you work with. Do you have people with family commitments who need to be home at a certain time? Do you have a lot of non-drinkers? Do you have people with specific dietary requirements? (There’s nothing worse than being left hungry at a Christmas party because you’re a vegetarian and they took you to a steakhouse!)

Here at Helm we’re a bit unconventional, so we knew our office party had to be something with a bit of a difference. We love the ocean, good food, and a dancefloor (or some of us do!) and we’re based in Britain’s Ocean City, so Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium seemed an obvious solution. Matching people’s interests to your plans will make people look forward to it, rather than try and make excuses not to attend.

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3) Consider how best to spend your budget

Ideally you’ll always have a budget for a Christmas party, even if it’s a small one, as it’s a great way to show staff they’re appreciated. But it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Once again, we’d suggest thinking about what’s important to your team – for example, they might not care about the location, as long as you buy the drinks, or they might prefer you to splash out on a better location but are happy to buy their own food. This decision may also be dependent on where in the world you are, of course, as some cities are decidedly pricier than others!

If you use Helm for your event, you can ask employees to pay when buying a ticket, or add separate prices to meal and drink options and easily check who has paid and who to chase!

Of course, you can also offer free tickets through our platform, as we’re flexible for whatever type of event you’re hosting.

4)  Consider the little details

The best events we’ve been to are those where everything has been thought through and is personal to your team. This will obviously depend on the nature of your event, but it’s easy to add some small but individual touches.

Larger companies who can stretch to exclusive hire of a place can go all out, but even smaller organisations can put some thought into seating plans, table decorations, the playlist or even party favours. Your team will appreciate the effort you’ve put in to make it more relevant to them.

5)  Think outside the box!

Maybe your Christmas party doesn’t actually have to be a Christmas party at all. As we recommended in tip 2, think about who your colleagues are and what they’d actually enjoy doing. What sort of atmosphere do you want to create?

Not everyone is keen on eating turkey, getting drunk or dancing ‘til dawn, so why not consider Christmas craft making, an off-site activity day, or even something more traditional like carol singing?

If you’d like to organise your event through Helm Tickets, please click here.

Happy planning!

Christmas, Festive, Business

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Buzzwords: SEO

Whether you’ve overheard someone speaking about the Internet of Things at a conference or your go-to news sources are putting ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ in every sentence, trends and emerging tech can become commonplace quickly.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at one of the most common buzzwords: SEO (or ‘search engine optimisation’). Here are some simple explanations and tips. SEO – once understood – can increase and support the success of your marketing and sales strategies.

Although there are a lot of different aspects of SEO and sometimes there are unanswered questions, generally, SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply: it’s flagging your website as being relevant to your target market. You want your website, blog or event page to appear to those who are searching for your sector.

SEO is the process of enhancing your online presence to organically improve your ranking on search engines.

Often misunderstood, a variety of factors can affect search engine rankings, but on a basic level, a search engine decides the order in which to list pages based on how relevant it believes the content is for the searcher. This could mean the page has plenty of keywords relating to the query or that a number of external links are included, suggesting the page is trustworthy and that information is appropriately researched.

SEO sites Search Engine Land and Column Five collaborated to create a really helpful infographic for understanding the different components of SEO. The periodic table below splits SEO into ‘On the Page’ (factors you control on your website, e.g. content, alt-text on images, internal links) and ‘Off the Page’ (how your website appears to outsiders, i.e how trustworthy and popular it is. This could include backlinks from other websites and shares on social media). The table also ranks different processes and behaviours that positively or negatively affect a website’s SEO ratings.

As well as key information you can add to your blog or website to improve your ranking, there are also several behaviours that can decrease your ranking. Attempting to ‘cheat the system’ to appear higher on Google will be detected by the search engine and your website will be banned from results. Actions that could lead to a ban include ‘cloaking’, which refers to showing the search engine a different page that users see.

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Don’t:
Overuse keywords

‘Keyword stuffing’ is the practice of jamming keywords repeatedly onto the page, in the hopes search engines will decide the page is extremely relevant…

Search engines are more intelligent than that! There’s no ‘magic number’ for the number of times your keyword should appear on a page – it depends on much text there is. On our blogs, Yoast’s SEO plugin suggests that 1-2% of your copy is your chosen keyword. The freemium tool will guide you on optimising your content for SEO. For context, this blog is [x words] long and ‘SEO’ is found [x times], this equals a keyword density of [x%]  

Don’t:

Fill your page with ads

Search engines will know! Not only will ads distract from your message but search engines can detect adverts, which will negatively affect your ranking.   

Do:

Use Headers

Choose some keywords to target and use them in the page title, link and in headers throughout. Don’t overuse the keyword but including it in relevant headers and titles will improve your ranking as search engines will know the content throughout the page is relevant.

Do:

Secure your site

As well as content being important, search engines will also look at the ‘architecture’ of your site. Is it mobile optimised? Does it load quickly? Importantly, is it secure? If you’re selling tickets to an event, it’s important that customers trust your website. Our ticket embed is secured by SSL, so any transactions will always be secure. Not everyone understands web safety, therefore it can be really beneficial to secure your site with SSL. It’s really easy to do and costs very little, check out our blog on SSL certificates.

5) Use your team’s outside hobbies and talents

Hopefully, we’ve provided you with a simple way of understanding what SEO is and how it can greatly improve your brand’s visibility. Plus, by using Helm Tickets as your ticketing platform, (particularly utilising our embed tool which includes backlinks and keywords), you’ll quickly improve your own SEO ranking.

Create an event, embed on your website and start selling in minutes!

SEO, Business, Google

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5 reasons to use Helm Tickets for your Christmas events

We love Christmas at Helm Tickets, and we’re thrilled to be the chosen platform for so many of your Christmas and New Year’s events. Like Santa, we know our organisers have lots to prepare for the big day, and we want to make this as easy as possible. So, if you’re still wondering why you should use us for your festive event, wonder no more.

Here are 5 reasons you should:

1) Get paid BEFORE your event!

At Helm, you will receive your ticket revenue monthly, even if your event hasn’t happened yet. We never make you wait for your payment. We’ve run events ourselves and we know how helpful it is to have money upfront to pay deposits, staff, catering etc. This helps your cash flow and makes running your event easier for you, which is our aim in everything we do. Just think of us as your own little elves.

2) Simple, fair and transparent pricing.

We don’t believe in confusing or unfair pricing systems, so we charge one single percentage amount for our booking fees. We don’t tie you into contracts or plans, we don’t charge extra for any of our features, and we don’t have any hidden fees or charges. Ever. Leaving you with more money to spend on all those festive treats!

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3) Sell your tickets through your own website (or grotto).

With Helm Tickets, you can easily embed your box office so people can buy tickets to your event on your own website. This means more direct visitor traffic to your website and your attendees stay on your site for longer, increasing your potential for sales. We bet Santa wishes he had such an easy system for his grotto!

4) Easy to use.

Our platform gives you access to all the features you need, whenever you need them. All our features are available to everyone (elves included) and you only need one account to handle everything to do with your event – no need to sign up for things like separate payment accounts. You can even synchronise your HubSpot and MailChimp accounts with your Helm account, for even easier use.

5) Memberships.

Much like Santa’s naughty or nice list, our unique memberships feature allows you to set up groups for specific things. You can charge a recurring fee to any members you have, and give them access to specific benefits, like free or discounted tickets. This is a great way to boost your cash flow through guaranteed membership income, and it increases the likelihood that people will attend your events. Much like leaving a carrot and eggnog out on Christmas Eve, making people (and reindeer) feel appreciated helps ensure repeat attendance at your events.

We hope this has helped you decide to use Helm Tickets for your festive events. We’d love to have you on board and we’re happy to help with any questions you might have

Christmas, Festive, Business

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5 ways to engage teams in fundraising

5 ways to engage teams in fundraising

It’s Guide Dogs Week this week and here at Helm Tickets we’re raising £2500 to name a guide dog puppy. Fundraising as a company or organisation is obviously great for raising money for good causes, but it’s also a fantastic way to improve your employees’ engagement if you do it right.

Here’s 5 things we’ve learned about how to use charity fundraising as part of your employee experience strategy:

1) Dedicate the time to doing it properly

 It’s really important to show that charity fundraising and corporate social responsibility isn’t just a gimmick. One of our core values at Helm is no gimmicks, and we see this through by dedicating proper time and energy to our charity fundraising at all levels of the company. Senior management are just as involved as everyone else, and no-one is too busy or too important to spare their time. Being socially responsible is really important to us, as individuals and as a company, and it helps us retain our valuable team members when they see that we take it seriously, and their own values align so well with ours.

 

2) Choose a cause that means a lot to your team

We chose to raise money for Guide Dogs as dogs are an important part of our own lives (we work alongside our canine friends in our office) and we’re keen to support blind or partially sighted people to be able to experience the life-changing help that guide dogs can provide. Having a shared passion helps unite us and motivates us to work together to achieve our fundraising goal, which then carries over into our day-to-day work to achieve our company goals.

 

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3) Ask your team to suggest ideas

We’re keen that the whole team is able to suggest ways we can fundraise. This creates buy-in from the team, and makes it so they want to be involved and donate their time and money, rather than having a top-down directive to hand over your well-earned cash because we say so! Plus, this means that they’ll be doing activities they enjoy, so the motivation is already there.

4) Be creative and keep it fun!

We’re a team who likes to break away from the normal way of doing things and have fun in everything we do, so we’ve enjoyed using our creativity to think of quirky and interesting ways to fundraise.

 

For example, we wanted to host a networking event, but with a difference (always!), so we invited local professionals, creatives, and business people to come together to network, but also to meet the guide dogs and their owners and find out more about their vital work, and of course, raise some money to help them. We love dogs, we love events, and we love pizza, so the Puppies & Pizza party was born!

 

By making our event something that we enjoyed and cared about, our team were excited and on-board with our plans, rather than just feeling like it was something they had to attend out of obligation. It was so successful that we’re hoping to run a similar event soon.

5) Use your team’s outside hobbies and talents

For our in-office fundraising, we hosted an auction of promises among the team. We’re a small team, but the promises on offer were well worth bidding for: a digital portrait, language lessons, made-to-order desserts, bespoke playlists and photoshoots, and the offer to do all those tasks you don’t want, like washing up, selling your old stuff or making tea.

 

Discussing what we could offer and what we’d like to bid for encouraged us to get to know each other better, discover people’s hidden talents, and become closer as a team. Even doing chores for others helped us bond with our workmates and encouraged the team to continue that generous culture day-to-day.  

 

We’re making good progress towards our goal and we’re all very excited to be able to name our puppy very soon. Let us know how you’ve got your employees motivated to fundraise!

Charity, Fundraise, Business, CSR

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