After years if not decades of throwing lavish Norwegian Christmas parties for their employees, downsized oil companies are also cutting back on the traditional parties known as julebord. The loss of the lucrative parties also means more big losses in the hotel and restaurant industry.
Among companies dropping their julebord this year is FMC Technologies, which in the past has treated employees to elaborate dinners, drinks and entertainment including such popular acts as Madcon and CC Cowboys.
The reason, according to FMC, is “the demanding market situation,” reports state broadcaster NRK. The company is cutting staff and decided to cut out the julebord as well, to save money. With colleagues forced to leave, some employees may not feel much in the mood for partying anyway and companies face an ethical dilemma. It simply doesn’t feel right to spend a lot of money on a big party.
National employers’ organization NHO now fears some hotels in the Stavanger area, already faced with a major downturn in overnight stays, may go bankrupt. The julebord season is an important revenue enhancer, and the cutbacks will be hard for many hotels to swallow.
Hotels in Bergen also report little interest in julebord bookings and lower budgets among those who are booking. “Those who are hosting parties are spending less money per guest,” Nina Askvik, hotel director at the Radisson at Bryggen in Bergen. “The situation in the oil branch is serious. The hotel branch is looking for new markets.”