A new year is just around the corner. And while we may have been holding hope for a total return to normality this holiday season, fact is — we’re just not there yet.
The truth is, we’re still muddling through the impact of the pandemic. And like it or not, it is still affecting our social calendars.
For safety reasons, in-person events may be a no-go for your clients and prospects this holiday season. But, health concerns aside, a lot of us have simply changed our outlook on events post-pandemic.
In fact, a UK study found that nearly 45% of adults are enjoying the reduced pressure to socialize during lockdown. The pandemic has made us re-evaluate how we spend our time, and who with.
So when it comes to asking your customers, prospects or even colleagues to spend their precious holiday season socializing at your event, making it virtual is just one way to increase accessibility and boost your chances of securing their attendance.
And if you’re really going to rock the holiday event scene, you’ll need some awesomely engaging, virtual holiday party ideas for work events. The good news? It’s easy to plan and host fun remote, holiday-themed events everyone on your list can enjoy.
As an event marketing ace, you already know the very real impact social events can have on your revenue. And because of that, the best virtual holiday party ideas follow the same basic principles.
But with so much going on in Q4, is it really worth prioritizing a virtual event just for the holidays?
In a word: Absolutely.
Here are five major reasons why it’s important to celebrate online, proving that planning a virtual holiday party is 100% worth your time:
Now that we’re clear on why virtual holiday parties still matter, it’s time to dive into some virtual work holiday party ideas your customers won’t want to miss.
Now that we’re officially years into Covid’s unwelcome emergence (and the subsequent boom in virtual events), it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced some level of Zoom-fatigue.
But over the last 24 months, marketers have revamped their virtual event tools to raise their game and blow Zoom-based events out of the water with innovative virtual team holiday party ideas.
With the right virtual corporate holiday party ideas and a bespoke virtual event platform to help bring it to life, you can deliver a much-needed dose of excitement to your annual event strategy.
Let’s check out five awesome holiday party ideas that will help you figure out how to host a virtual holiday party sure to wow your guests, plus the programming features to use to make sure your next virtual party leaves a lasting impression on your attendees.
We know we said no more Zoom-quizzes but when done well, gamifying your virtual holiday party can make it a winner.
(And honestly, is it really the holidays without a little competition? 😉)
Card games at Christmas, the dreidel spin at Hanukkah or the cracker tombola at Diwali — games are a tradition that play a role in almost every holiday celebration. And virtual events are no exception.
Whether it’s a classic trivia night, an office who’s who, or a team-building treasure trail, engaging virtual holiday party activities featuring a little competition with some mega prizes is are a surefire way to increase engagement and have a little extra fun this holiday season.
🌟 Features to fuel your festivities: Use breakout booths for team collabs, the exhibitor space for revealing answers and the resource center to directly download quiz content. You can even invite team captains on stage to share their answers.
Competitions and game-based events make an excellent virtual holiday party! Use interactive polls and chat to make it easy for attendees to cheer each other on.
The holidays are a great opportunity to share your wins from the year. And done right, they’re also an excellent way to broadcast your brand story and make it memorable.
But when it comes to tooting your own brand horn this holiday season, keep in mind that hosting a virtual event is a lot like directing a show. For a five-star review, you’re going to need a Netflix-worthy production your customer will actually care about.
Keep content fun and engaging over product-based and salesy.
(Think: Sharing your founders story 🥰 vs. your latest product release 🥱.)
Combine company and customer appreciation wins with big-picture announcements on your brand’s vision and all the awesome traction you made this year. And of course — make sure everything from your registration page to your swag bags are beautifully branded.
Because with 74% of event attendees agreeing that branded event marketing experiences make them more likely to buy, harnessing the holidays to tell your brand story isn’t just a cracking customer experience, it’s a revenue producing strategy.
🌟 Features to fuel your festivities: Nail branding with a fully customizable platform that’s bespoke to you, with the ability to share live and pre-recorded content, access resources on demand, and chat to experts, colleagues and other attendees seamlessly.
Got a healthy event budget? Tired of sitting behind a screen?
If you’re among the many people missing the splendor of in-person events, this next idea could be for you. After all, you want activities, connection and experiences.
And you can bet many of your customers and colleagues are in the same boat. So if you’re ready to kick it up a notch, a more exclusive and experience-driven holiday event or virtual gala could be just the ticket.
Here are some ideas to help you nail it:
🌟 Features to fuel your festivities: Guide attendees through the event with different tracks, using booths for a more personal feel (cocktail classes, wine-tasting, gift-swapping) and an exhibitor space for that community feel (live band, guided tour).
Smartling hired The California Honeydrops to play a full live set to get attendees out of their seats and dancing in their living rooms. 🕺
Networking is the second most common reason for joining virtual events.
So why not make networking an event in and of itself?
The holiday season involves a lot of (often involuntary) socializing. Work get-togethers, family shindigs, dinners with your friends group. It can be fun, for sure — but it can also be hectic.
While your customers may want (and need) to network, finding time in their busy social schedules to actually do it is pretty impossible. Until now.
With virtual networking parties you can bring the schmoozing to them. 🥂
Depending on your event goals and theme, try tailoring the event to make it easy for folks to join.
For example, if your theme is joy and humor, you could invite your attendees to a virtual ugly sweater luncheon where they can take a break from their busy day-to-day, sit back, and share a laugh.
If delivering a catered lunch is off the table budget-wise, try sending out a simple Starbucks gift card (hello, pumpkin spice lattes), custom mug and hot chocolate kit, or a heartfelt handwritten card.
And for more virtual networking tips, be sure to check out these crucial pointers from event marketing insiders.
🌟 Features to fuel your festivities: Schedule fireside chats, set up booths for speed-networking, create polls, open group chats and enable direct messaging.
If getting boardroom buy-in is tricky, events that have a focus on pipeline velocity or customer retention may be an easier path to signoff.
And with the right approach, there are ways of towing the line between a holiday party and a sales-driven summit.
The key? Keep it intimate and exclusive.
By narrowing your attendee list to your top 10 or 15 key accounts, you can curate a more personalized virtual experience and focus your holiday party on going all out with a smaller group of attendees.
Consider bringing on a VIP panel of customer thought leaders to share their biggest takeaways from the year, and offer predictions for what’s next.
For something this exclusive, you’ll want to consider intimate fireside chats, meaningful 1:1s, and expert roundtables or Q&As. If it feels organic, why not make it a joint learning experience with a product-related workshop to guide them through?
Make it about the future. Make it about your solutions. But above all, make it more than that by providing an intimate white-glove experience that engages your attendees at every turn.
🌟 Features to fuel your festivities: Fewer attendees = increased engagement. Schedule those 1:1s ahead of time. Gather Q&A questions in advance. Let attendees choose the fireside chat topic. Personalize each journey from start to finish.
With holiday party type chosen, the next stage is nailing the planning (and avoiding any major pre-event pitfalls).
Here’s a quick checklist to help you nail it:
There are a ton of options out there to help you keep your customers, employees, and friends entertained virtually this holiday season.
But without next-gen engagement tools, any virtual event is bound to feel like a forced alternative to the in-person festivities we’re used to.
Position your event at the top of your attendee’s social calendar this year with an accessible, high-energy and unique virtual concept.
And no matter which path you choose for your virtual holiday party, remember to have as much fun as possible. Because now more than ever, a little celebration is exactly what we all need.