Las Vegas Sun

April 17, 2014

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Office Christmas parties a casualty of economic downturn

Add another economic downturn victim to the list — the holiday blowout party.

Many businesses across the Las Vegas Valley scaled back on their party plans this holiday season in an effort to save money.

At JMA Architecture Studios in Summerlin, the original plan to rent a ballroom at a local hotel for a catered dinner with a live DJ was scratched.

But the company still managed to have a good time — JMA Chief Executive Thomas Schoeman hosted a party with about 80 guests at his home in The Ridges on Dec. 6.

“We probably spent a third of what we normally would,” said JMA’s Chief Financial Officer Carl Von Hake. “It cost us about $12,000 as opposed to $30,000 or $40,000. I think we had more fun, too.”

The JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Summerlin, a popular spot for businesses to rent out party space, reported a 10 percent reduction in holiday gatherings this season compared to last.

“We expected it because there has been contraction in the economy,” said Carmen Rubino, director of sales and marketing. “The good news for us is that we’ve had a lot of our repeat clients re-book.”

Companies can reserve four ballrooms at the JW Marriott, as well as restaurants such as Spiedini Ristorante or J.C. Wooloughan Irish Pub.

“Our repeat clients typically schedule at least six months in advance,” Rubino said. “We did see companies tell us they were going to hold back or not do anything this year.”

For some businesses, the importance of a company-wide celebration was too important to give up.

At Prudential Americana Group Realtors near the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Pecos Road, the company went ahead with its original plan and held a holiday party for all its employees at Lake Las Vegas on Dec. 19.

Realtor Dawn Page said Prudential has about 1,200 agents in five offices across Las Vegas and Henderson.

“I’m sure all companies have had to cut back, but our owner really believed in having a holiday party,” Page said. “It’s really important for us to get together and thank everyone for their help throughout the year.”

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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