Virtual events can be so much more than webinars and meetings.
September 2, 2022
Creative virtual event ideas can liven up any kind of virtual event.
By now, just about all of us have experienced one kind of virtual event or another, and it’s no secret that this has led to a lot of burnout. Now that in-person events are back on the rise, many might shy away from virtual ones. But virtual events are still relevant to our lives, whether as a complement to in-person programming or as their own event. As we know, virtual events are accessible to a far wider audience and provide the flexibility of participating from almost anywhere.
Virtual events come in all shapes and sizes, so how to make them stand out is going to depend on what kind of event you’re hosting. Here are some ideas to inspire you as you plan your next virtual event, whether it’s a fun gathering for a social club, a corporate retreat, or anything in between.
Social Virtual Event Ideas
One of the best things about virtual events is that they can easily bring people together, no matter where each participant is located. Here are some virtual event ideas that can help unite virtual teams like work groups, school classes, interest-based clubs, and more.
Trivia night - There’s a ton of flexibility around a virtual trivia night, including themed trivia, the format used, and how the host interacts with the players. To keep it intimate, have your group members play against each other, individually or in smaller teams, in an internal forum. Another fun option is to have everyone play as a single team in a larger public trivia event. Either way, it’s a great opportunity for working together.
Getting-to-know you scavenger hunt - Use a virtual scavenger hunt format that includes clues and rewards based on team members’ interests, fun facts about them, and anything else that will help them understand and get to know one another better. This can be an event in itself or a fun pre-meeting icebreaker.
Movie night - A virtual movie night is a great chance to kick back and relax while also bonding with your group. Everyone can start the movie at the same time and text or chat online throughout the film. Plus, no one has to share their popcorn!
Bring your pet to work day - In the world of remote work, an especially fun virtual event idea is a meet-and-greet with some of your four-legged “coworkers.” Everyone on the team can bring their pets to the virtual meeting or, if their pets are not the kind to run to the spotlight, team members can go on a “safari” to find their furry friends in favorite hiding spots.
Coffee break - A classic, easy way to connect. Some fun twists to consider: mailing some goodies ahead of time so you can all share the same snacks, or having everyone join the get together from their favorite local coffee shop.
Business & Corporate Virtual Event Ideas
Any of the virtual social event ideas mentioned above can be great for coworker and professional team bonding. But what about events that are actually business-focused? Corporate virtual events can be a powerful tool for innovating, connecting with customers, and increasing your brand awareness. Here are some great virtual event ideas that really, ahem, get down to business.
Internal hackathon ideas - Formerly the realm of computer programmers only, now hackathons are used by all sorts of organizations, and many of these sprint-to-solve-a-problem events are virtual. An in-house, mini, virtual hackathon (which lasts only a few hours as opposed to the traditional 48 or so) is a great way to inspire employees to think outside the box and innovate. Your company’s next big idea might just come out of this vivacious virtual event!
Awards ceremony - Recognizing hard work and accomplishments can go a long way when it comes to employee satisfaction. Virtual company award ceremonies can bring everyone together to celebrate success and recognize each person’s unique value.
Fundraiser - Raising money, even for the most inspiring causes, can be a real challenge. Virtual fundraisers expand your audience so that your nonprofit can maximize the amount of donors who contribute. Many donors are asked to give to a number of causes, so make sure your virtual fundraising event idea is one that stands out and motivates giving.
Training - Virtual training sessions for employees aren’t a new concept, but actually having a virtual training event in which employees interact with each other and the facilitator can make for a much more engaging, effective training experience.
Holiday party - Business holiday parties often have a reputation of being predictable affairs with too much sugar, too many drinks, and not much else. Taking these gatherings online provides an opportunity to incorporate fresh virtual holiday party ideas that can really spread cheer and create wonderful memories.
More Fun & Entertaining Virtual Event Ideas
Audience certainly matters when considering which of your virtual event ideas to go with, but there’s nothing wrong with going for fun first and foremost. Here are some fun virtual event ideas that are sure to get your participants smiling.
Escape room - Whether your team must beat the buzzer to virtually “escape” a mad scientist’s lab, a secret army bunker, an eccentric billionaire’s office, or another imaginative setting, it’s sure to be a lively team building opportunity.
Murder mystery - Like an escape room, a murder mystery party is a virtual event idea that allows your participants to work together and use their problem solving skills in a unique context. Add a whimsical theme like an 80’s prom or tropical paradise for a fun dichotomy between the macabre and the delightful!
Virtual city or museum tour - When considering fun virtual event ideas, think about one of the biggest advantages of the virtual space in general: it opens up the world. Live tours of city landmarks, museums, and more are available online, allowing your whole team to experience them together without the cost, time, environmental impact, or logistical challenges that come with physically traveling to sites across the globe.
Homebrew or mixology - A trendy virtual event idea that involves both creativity and yummy libations is a virtual mixology or homebrew session. After you send your fellow participants the necessary ingredients in the mail, your mixology or homebrew session will be led live by a professional. You and your team are in for lots of laughs, some cool chemistry, and of course, a delicious cocktail or unique beer to toast your success with.
Concert - Like movie night, attending a virtual concert provides an artistic event for your group to discuss and bond over, making it both an entertaining virtual event idea and one that can promote team building.
Unique ways to bring your event to life
Your virtual event idea may sound cool to you and your team, but solid execution is a must-have for making it a true success. Regardless of who your audience is, keep these elements in mind when planning just how to pull off your event in a way that makes a positive impact on your audience and other key stakeholders like sponsors.
Engagement and Gamification are essential to creating a vibrant, successful virtual event.
A non-interactive event can quickly become an uninteresting event, especially given that our patience with poorly executed virtual events has worn thin over the last couple of years. Some of the best ways to ensure audience engagement at your event are below. Make sure the platform you use for your virtual event has engagement features such as:
In-app games and quizzes
A chat that allows for creative expression like gifs and emojis
Breakout rooms and private lounges to keep exciting conversations going
Leveraging sponsorships can benefit everyone involved in your virtual event.
Your virtual event’s sponsors want it to succeed as much as you do, so working to maximize the experience for your attendees, your organization, and sponsors alike will help everyone’s ROI. Some of the ways to highlight your sponsors and help them elevate the overall event experience include:
Virtual sponsor booths - A space for your sponsors and attendees to connect that also allows sponsors to showcase their products and services.
Special networking opportunities with sponsors - For example, offer attendees opportunities for smaller, more intimate chats with a sponsor company’s CEO.
Sponsor participation in panel discussions - For an event like a virtual conference, Include constituents from sponsor companies on relevant panel discussions to share their insights and expertise.
Health and wellbeing activities featuring your sponsors - Whether your virtual event is a big conference or an internal meeting, if it’s more than a couple of hours, investing in a sponsor in the health and wellbeing field might be a win-win. Sponsors can lead activities or provide products that help everyone feel better in the middle of a long day and show that you care about your attendees while giving sponsors another opportunity to be showcased.
Giveaways - Who doesn’t love free stuff? Arranging giveaways with your virtual event sponsors is another way to promote them to your audience. They can also provide your organization with branding opportunities; for example, by having your logo on the sponsor’s product that’s being given away at your event.
Make sure your virtual event has a high production value.
No matter what your virtual event idea is, production quality will deeply affect your attendees’ experience. Glitches happen, but by investing in the right technology and assistance, you can ensure your event’s overall appeal won’t suffer and audiences will remain engaged. Here are some tips to make sure your virtual event’s look and feel are on point:
Offer on-demand and live streaming options - This gives attendees an opportunity to rewatch what was most meaningful to them at your virtual event and gives those who weren’t able to attend the opportunity to catch up on what they missed. Solid live streams and high-quality video on demand are yet another tool to help keep people engaged in your virtual event content, even after the event has concluded.
Offer sessions in multiple languages and at times convenient across time zones - Maximize accessibility to your event by making it convenient for as many attendees as possible.
Include tieredtired ticketingaccess options - Giving attendees the option to choose what content they can access can both allow people with different budgets to attend and also provides an air of exclusivity to your virtual event.
Graphic Design Virtual Event Ideas Showcase your brand through your virtual event’s design.
Virtual event ideas, no matter how creative, won’t be successful if people don’t know about them. You want to get the word out about your virtual event and make sure that potential attendees know who their host is. A couple of things to keep in mind:
Have a hashtag specific to your event - Visibility on social media and giving attendees the opportunity to share their experiences will not only help your virtual event succeed this time, but show a wider audience how great your organization’s events can be, so they’ll have additional motivation to attend the next one.
Make your brand prevalent across your virtual event platform - This is your organization’s virtual event, so the experience should reflect it. When choosing your virtual event platform, ensure that it has the capabilities to customize the visual experience your attendees will have so that it aligns with your branding goals.
Bonus virtual event ideas!
We’ve given you lots of virtual event ideas for creating a memorable, enjoyable experience for your attendees, but there are plenty more out there to consider. Here are a few additional ones that struck our fancy:
Virtual magic and mentalism show
Virtual cooking class
Virtual journaling workshop
Virtual guided meditation
A successful virtual event starts with the right virtual event idea. While keeping your overall event goals in mind, making your next event stand out by being a bit different is a fantastic way to engage your target audience, whether that’s work teammates, industry professionals, or even just a group of friends. So get inspired and get planning!