It’s well known that an important part of any conference is the chance to interact socially. Activities such as happy hour and creative workshops allow people to relax, chat and help build teams. Gamification can be used to build fun and games into any event that you are hosting and enhance the experience of your attendees. Surprisingly, there are a number of virtual options available to support you in spicing up your event with FUN and GAMES!
Emulating happy hour in the virtual world is possible! Event organizers can save a great deal on the costs of catering, while still providing an enjoyable and worthwhile experience for your attendees. Offering activities with food and drink can aid in team building, attendee engagement, and in strengthening ties with partners and clients. In recent years, several companies have begun recreating the happy hour in the virtual world. By infusing gamification in your event, your attendees can earn points to gain access to an exclusive Happy Hour session or incentives.
Some of the activities or incentives include:
- Cocktail kits featuring spirits, mixes, and garnished ingredients can be shipped to attendees. Everyone can participate in a mini-lesson led by an expert mixologist and then break off into smaller groups to network. Be sure to provide nonalcoholic versions;
- Ship attendees a customized treat box full of snacks. The boxes can be customized to suit your theme – for example, if you usually meet in New Orleans, Cajun treats would be a great idea;
- Some city tasting tours deliver dinner for two from 3 or 4 different restaurants, show stories of restaurateurs and their cuisines via video link, and have a guide leading attendees around the sites a city has to offer. This is not only enjoyable for attendees, but it also helps support local businesses who have been hard hit recently; and,
- Selections of cheeses can be delivered, with a virtual fromage expert to guide the class.
One fun way that many event planners have brought networking into their events is with food! For in-person events, a large portion of networking comes during the meal breaks. With virtual events or virtual content, that became a bit more complicated, however; there have been amazing activities that have brought this dining networking experience into a digital space.
Here are just a few examples of companies that provide classes and tours revolving around food and drink:
Wolfgang Puck Catering will give your team the opportunity to take a class from one of the world’s most famous chefs. Their virtual, interactive cooking experiences feature several of the catering company’s chefs, including Wolfgang Puck himself. They provide premeasured and hand-packed ingredients which can be delivered to participants in the continental U.S or are available for pickup in major US cities.
Local Food Adventures offers virtual ice cream socials for private groups of up to 500 participants. Participants each receive an ice cream box that includes the ingredients needed to make their own Rocky Road ice cream.
City Brew Tours has a variety of interactive craft beer experiences. Their ‘National Brewery Tour’ virtually transports up to 1000 guests to four breweries across the United States in real-time. The tours have experienced guides, are 100% live, and are fully interactive. For special guests, they can deliver tasting boxes filled with beer, cheese, chocolate, smoked meats, and more!
These are just a few examples of the many virtual culinary experiences available. Check with your local restaurants, distilleries, etc to find out what’s available, support your local businesses, and provide your team and associates with a memorable experience!
As we close out May and Mental Health Awareness Month it seems fitting to discuss ways to incorporate mindfulness and wellness into your event space. This will offer a different kind of break for your audience. Some companies that offer classes for virtual events include:
Love & Asana – offers yoga programs that can accommodate up to 500 participants. “Yoga is a great way to break up hours of content by offering attendees ways to move and relax without separating from the event,” says Tiffany Lord, Virtual Yoga Coach & Founder. “[My] sessions can be customized to complement the theme of your event so the yoga feels cohesive with the program. In virtual yoga sessions, attendees can release tension from sitting all day, get in a quick workout with a Power Vinyasa Flow or meditate for a mental reset so they’re more focused and productive during their sessions afterward. Virtual workshops on stress management and mobility can also be helpful educational components for attendees and offer a ‘bonus’ in the event program to address physical and mental health.”
YogaHub offers on-site wellness sessions along with live or prerecorded virtual and hybrid options. Sessions can include anything from yoga and meditation to nutrition, coaching, and fitness. YogaHub can accommodate groups of any size for both virtual and in-person sessions, with rates starting at $295 for a single 60-minute live virtual class for up to 50 participants.
Meditation House has 15 to 60-minute Mindfulness Meditation classes for events. Each session is a live class – not pre-recorded – and is led by a professionally trained and certified instructor. Meditation classes can be booked for groups of up to 1000 people.
An alternative to these companies could be to partner with a local agency or instructor to facilitate a mindfulness session, instructor led brain break or other meditation oriented seminar. Your attendees will return to the program refreshed and re-energized!
Many companies offer art workshops, with all of them working to ensure that every participant enjoys the session, regardless of their skill level. Workshops can include material kits, along with live instruction. Crave Workshops is one example, who offers a variety of media to play with. There are also often many art groups or organizations that may be local to you that would be able to partner to provide art workshops or raffle prizes for your attendees.
As we most recently have seen with the success of the Van Gogh Exhibit incorporating art experiences into your event is a crowd pleaser and will surely do wonders in leveling up any event you host.
Interactive team-building games are a great way to get everyone working together. It’s now possible to get away from the whiteboard and really do something creative. Virtual escape rooms create a series of rooms for a team to travel through, solving puzzles in order to escape. Some popular escape room games are Black Noir and Lost In The Arctic. Virtual murder mysteries – such as Blood, Gold, and a Night of Jazz – can work for both online and face-to-face settings. There are also companies that provide a range of team-building activities. One of them – Virtual Team Builders Co – provides a master of ceremonies, trivia contests, bingo, and other contests.
Although partnering with others to provide unique gaming experiences within your event, there are also creative ways that you can incorporate gaming on your own! Some examples we have seen some of our clients use are:
- Scavenger Hunts: Incorporating hidden content within images or even videos can be a fun way to engage not only a virtual audience, but in-person attendees as well, especially if you are looking to bring together BOTH audiences.
- Trivia: An oldie, but a goodie! Trivia can be a way to not only bring fun to the event but also ensure your attendees are actively engaged in sessions or workshops as they can answer trivia questions throughout the event.
- Bingo: This is a game that many brought into their in person events, with participant cards that you can get stamped or signed as you visit various locations. Easing this into the virtual world is just as simple! Participants can earn marks on a virtual game card as they visit locations and engage with other participants.
- Leader Boards: One of the most popular uses of gamification we have seen our clients use is assigning point values for various activities and engagements and as your attendees earn points they can track their status on a leaderboard
When it comes to leveling up your event with fun experiences the possibilities are unlimited!