December 16, 2013

Client Interview: Planning London’s Most Renowned NYE Events

Bourne & Hollingsworth have been running a selection of London’s most prestigious events for several years and New Year’s Eve parties are something of a speciality for them. This year B&H are running three separate themed events, each of which are expected to sell out as usual.

The Blitz Party, The Dark Circus Party and Prohibition 1920s will be the places to be for the cool kids of London come December 31st 2013. But how do they make these renowned nights such a spectacle on the most pressurised night of the year? Bourne & Hollingsworth’s Andria Stirling was kind enough to share her experiences and advice on what it takes to lead London’s elite into the New Year with style.

How does organising New Year’s Eve events compare to others?

“I think the main thing we’ve learnt is that planning is everything. NYE is a really big night and we’ve worked very hard over the past few years to build a database of people who trust us not to ruin their most important night out of the year. This means that we can’t screw up – so every eventuality has to be accounted for, every single member of staff must know what they’re doing, and you must always have more staff booked than you need as there will always be a couple who call in sick.”

What do you plan for midnight? What works well?

“Depending on the party, we’ll save the headline act to manage the countdown to midnight – for example at the Blitz Party you’ll have the main band on each stage doing the countdown which will end with the confetti guns going off and the band launching straight into Auld Lang Syne. We always try to make sure that even small rooms have a managed countdown so that people don’t miss out.”

How do you keep the momentum going after midnight?

“Typically, once the countdown for midnight is complete, then the headline act will launch straight into their performance, whether this is live music, a really amazing aerial trapeze act or a cool DJ.”

What works better – an “all inclusive” ticket price which includes an open bar, or a normal entrance free and charging for the drinks?

“We raise the price of our entrance ticket and this simply reflects the cost of staff and performers on NYE. We don’t include drinks in our ticket prices but we also never raise the price of drinks for NYE, so you’ll still be able to drink cocktails all night without feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of. In addition to this, we spend 6 months making sure that our NYE parties are bigger, better, more packed with entertainment and fun than anything we’ve ever done before – we’re constantly trying to better ourselves – and this means that people really get value for money.”

How do you price the event with so much going on?

“We look at what other people are charging, how much our suppliers and entertainers are charging and align our prices to reflect and account for this.”

What’s the perfect time to start selling/promoting for maximum ticket sales?

“It feels like it changes every year. We’ve found over the last few years that people have got better at planning what they want to do for NYE in advance and typically start buying tickets in late November, with the bulk of tickets being sold in the middle part of December. In terms of promotion, we find that starting too early is pointless, so tend to send out our first mail-outs in the second week of December.”

Are there any entrance management challenges specific to New Year’s Eve events?

“Guests for NYE parties are far more likely to arrive on time so we have to work hard to limit the length of queues at the door. We do this by releasing batches of tickets with different entrance addresses as well as emailing guests prior to the event with this information again. Although this isn’t fool proof it really helps in getting people through the doors as quickly as possible. Another really important factor in helping this is making sure that your staff on the door are cheerful, helpful and polite. A guest who needs to wait for 5 minutes to get in to a party is far less likely to let this affect them if the first person they meet is welcoming, friendly and cheerful.”


Thank you so much to Andria and to Bourne & Hollingsworth for sharing their wisdom with us. We hope you can learn a thing or two from them – any further questions or comments of course feel free to drop it in the section below or tweet us @ticketscript.

By Dominick Soar