Have you ever wondered how many Santa Claus impersonators there are in the U.S.? We spot them everywhere throughout the holiday season. From shopping malls to charitable events to family photo shoots, finding a bearded man in a red suit is commonplace. Considering this saturation, you may or may not balk to learn that organizations secure around 20,000 Santas each year.
Being Saint Nick is no easy feat. It requires a particular look, demeanor and skills. This puts pressure on employers to find the best Santa for their budgeted dollars. And it can be a daunting, time-consuming process. The same is true for all holiday event staff. From shopping greeters and product samplers to technology demonstrators and actors, the holiday season is filled with the need for temporary event staff. If you have yet to secure talent for the fast-approaching holiday season, you should do so now.
Securing talent as early as possible helps ensure your access to the best, most experienced individuals in the pool. Additionally, you’ll have time to educate them on messaging, brand goals and all event aspects. After all, even “Santa” can use training on etiquette, like “how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure.”
If you’re planning to execute a holiday marketing event, learn how the right event staff can bring jolly to your customer base and prosperity to you.
Who Needs Holiday Event Staff?
The holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s when businesses want to show clients their appreciation. It’s when retailers compete for purchases with sales and incentives. It’s when we, as consumers and neighbors, get into the giving spirit. And it’s these situations and more that require holiday event staff.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports an increase in 2016 holiday spending of “3.6 percent to $655.8 billion.” To prepare, retailers will bring in “between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers.” But how will they ensure the workers are busy serving increased customer traffic and ringing up sales? In its 2016 Retail Holiday Planning Playbook, NRF says, “Unique experiences are increasingly on the list.”
Event and experiential marketing are helping brick-and-mortar stores maintain their livelihood and soar above the rest. And despite holiday frenzy, two in 10 shoppers attended in-store events “during Holiday 2015, and sales increased because of it.” Fifty-eight percent of attendees made purchases!
To boost your sales, it’s important workers be free to perform regular duties during the event. So leave it to your holiday event staff to greet shoppers and alert them of specials. They can also manage contests and giveaways, offer samples, give product demos and more. These additional efforts create excitement, drive sales and build loyalty.
Online retailers wanting to make this personal connection should consider a pop-up shop. They’re also effective for traditional retailers wishing to capitalize on another popular area’s increased traffic. Holiday event staff can assist with both logistics and customer service to make the effort an easy one.[Tweet “Retailers must offer “unique experiences” to get their share of $655.8 billion in holiday spending.”]
Competition is steep at the holidays among stores and even within them. If you have a product you wish to sell, don’t sit idly by waiting for it to happen. Get out and let consumers know all about your brand.
Proven types of brand promotions can include brand ambassador events, mall promotions and street teams. Take advantage of increased shopping traffic in any of these scenarios and add a product demonstrator or sampling team. The right holiday event staff can execute any type of brand promotion with great success, bolstering year-end sales and creating lasting relationships.
Entrepreneur tells us, “A holiday event gives your business an opportunity to create intimacy and reserve a moment with your customers. When you invite customers to a special event, you’re building relationships the old-fashioned way–with personal, face-to-face contact.” Maximize this crucial time through use of holiday event staff.
Professional talent can welcome attendees, serve as emcee or DJ, provide unique entertainment or manage games and contests. These individuals help guarantee a good time and allow your team to focus on guests or other tasks. They can also contribute to your year-end bottom line when trained to give new or existing product demos.
Much of this advice can also apply to charitable events held in the “Giving Season.” This is the time “between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day” when people donate “about 24 percent of their annual total.” Help your cause become theirs when you host a memorable occasion with holiday event staff.[Tweet “”Create intimacy and reserve a moment with your customers” when you host a holiday event.”]
5 Considerations for Hiring Holiday Event Staff
The truth is any organization wanting to host a standout event needs holiday event staff. The trick is to ensure you have the best, most appropriate people to represent your organization, store or brand. Use the following checklist as your guide when hiring event staff.
Does your product demonstration call for particular knowledge or a certain professional background? So staff need to be able to lift heavy objects or stand on their feet for several hours? Are you looking for individuals who can sing Christmas carols or wow executives? Put your event under a microscope to identify the exact skills you need from event staff in order to be successful.
If you cater to children, you likely want event staff who are bubbly and fun. On the other hand, high-end retailers and brands may prefer more demure behavior. Make sure your event staff exude the personality representative of your organization or brand.
Thinking about the two examples highlighted just above, you likely don’t want event staff with visible tattoos and multiple piercings. These individuals, however, may be perfect for a brand or retailer with an edgier perception. Choose talent who blend seamlessly with your appearance and brand values.
It’s important you know if anything in your event staff’s history poses an issue to your event. For example, retailers shouldn’t hire individuals convicted of theft. And any organization should be weary of those with a violent past or present. Run necessary checks for your business’s safety and that of your guests. Also, a simple Google or social media search on the staff you want to hire can tell you volumes – and it only takes a few seconds.
Do you know that by dictating your event staff’s schedule, talking points and appearance you eliminate the ability to hire them as independent contractors? It’s true, and it’s why you must hire these individuals as W-2 employees. In doing so, you minimize liability associated with the work they perform and your risk of having to pay fees and fines related to employee misclassification.[Tweet “Minimize your event marketing risk this holiday season and hire event staff as W-2 employees.”]
How to Secure Holiday Event Staff
Now that you know the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of holiday event staff, you may be ready to begin your search. Many marketers post ads via Craigslist and job sites to attract applicants. But the best way to maximize your ability to be successful may be partnering with an event staffing company for the best, most effective individuals. Plus, as a staffing partner, the agency manages the staff, takes care of HR related tasks, and allows you to focus on your own core responsibilities.
An established event staffing company has a varied talent pool of people with varied skills, experience and proven effectiveness. The best agencies will hand select staff based on your needs and screen them again for quality assurance. Some will even coordinate training and test retention to make sure these individuals are ready to interact with your customers and guests.
Partnering with an event staffing company will not only take these critical responsibilities off your plate. It will help ensure it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year for your customers and your company.
Every year, EPS helps marketers execute high-impact holiday events with our wide-ranging event staffing services. Learn how we can help make yours a joyous occasion for everyone!