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7 ways to save on New Year's parties

It's not too late to get a better deal on your party plans.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 11:38AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.

 

New Year’s parties thrown at bars and restaurants typically offer food, champagne and a festive group countdown, but those events typically charge guests much more than the sum of their parts. Landing a good deal on a night of revelry doesn’t have to break a New Year’s resolution to save -- even if you’re buying tickets today.

That’s not to say it will be easy. “Ticket prices always go up closer to the event,” says Mario Stewart, the president of EMRG Media, a New York-based event planning and marketing firm. And the truly big parties -- the ones that boast celebrity guests like Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera -- typically sell out in advance.

 

However, there’s still hope for nabbing a good deal on lower-profile parties, Stewart says. “If people are savvy, there are deals to be made,” he says.

 

Here are seven ways to score a deal on your New Year’s Eve festivities:

 

Use promotional codes. Your first step for landing a discount is to track down a promotional code. Party promoters will sometimes offer a special discount to members of their e-mail list. If you’re not on a promoter’s list, try searching online for codes. Just type into a search engine the name of the event space, the phrase “New Year’s Eve” and “promo code.” This method landed us a 10%-off discount on all tickets at 49 Grove in New York with the promo code KATWALKVIP. (Note that for some parties, such as those offered at Joonbug.com, the promo codes are no longer active.)

 

Go with friends. If you have several friends in tow (typically about 10), you may get a price break or other incentives, such as a table, bottle service, a complimentary ticket or a discount across the board, says Stewart. “If you’re willing to go the extra yard and speak to a representative, you can (sometimes) get the good deal,” he says. But be warned: Call the event production company, not the venue.

Many clubs and event spaces typically rent their facility out to promoters or event production companies for the evening, says Jon Gabel, the CEO at Joonbug, an event production company in New York. “We have 1,400 promoters that have Web sites to offer their people tickets. We have 300 concierges to offer tickets to all different parties,” says Gabel. “No individual club is going to be able to garner all of those resources for just their party.”

Seek off-peak tickets. If you’re willing to forgo the traditional midnight toast, you can purchase so-called 12:30 tickets. Essentially, these allow partygoers entrance after midnight at half the price or close to it, says Gabel. “It is basically the same as a general admission ticket, but you can’t go to the main room until 12:30.” In the case of Capitale, an event space in New York, revelers can purchase these tickets for $95, rather than the general admission price of $175.

 

Skip the niceties. A number of parties include dinner. But if you want to save some cash, skip it. For example, a ticket with a meal on New Year’s Eve at Hollywood’s Les Deux will set you back $85. Without a meal, the evening’s price tag is just $60, says Barak Schurr, the president of ticketing at Track Entertainment, an events production firm in New York.

 

Share. You might also consider sharing bottle service with another group of partygoers. “It has become fairly common to partner up with others,” says Deborah Porter, the CEO of Creativity Made Fresh, an event marketing boutique in Las Vegas. “Not only will doing so improve your chances of getting in, you’ll also share the costs,” she says.

 

Barter. If you’re not in the sharing mood, consider trading services. One of Porter’s clients recently agreed to hand out New Year’s Eve event tie-in gifts that her company makes in return for a discount on bottle service and being allowed to bypass the line. But if, say, you dabble in photography or videography, the event producer may be willing to squeeze you in for free in return for event photos, she says. “This exchange could land you discounts, preferential service or better seating,” she says.

Seek out other savings. If inexpensive New Year’s Eve party tickets don’t pan out, try making up the difference in other ways. “The big savings will be on related travel costs, like hotel rooms,” says Barbara Messing, the vice president for deal-tracking site Travel-Ticker.com. For example, the average price for a hotel room per night is 3% lower than it was at the end of 2009 -- a figure already heavily discounted from a year earlier, according to Travel-Ticker data. “Plus, this year you’re more likely to get extra perks like spa and dining credits to sweeten the deal,” she says. “It’s a great chance to make your New Year’s Eve celebration about more than just the party.” (For other New Year’s travel discounts, see our story).

 

Related reading at SmartMoney:

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