Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally time we talk about virtual happy hour ideas. So far on the blog, we’ve been discussing many topics related to virtual events. Our main goals here has been to educate planners everywhere on the subject – and make them realize just how cool and engaging virtual events can be. But today, we’re putting the seriousness aside. After you took the time to learn about mistakes to avoid, how to engage your audience, and sponsorship deals, we want you to think about how to entertain attendees. Yes, you read that right! This means you must ditch the idea that virtual events can’t include entertainment.
People crave connection. And in times like these, where physical separation is mandatory, we need to get creative. The concept of a virtual happy hour isn’t new; you probably attended a handful of them yourself in the past few weeks. But how about taking that experience and implementing it into your own virtual event? The party doesn’t have to stop just because people aren’t allowed to group together. So grab yourself a Cosmo and keep reading for a handful of fun virtual happy hour ideas!
Make Cocktails Together
Alcohol and events have. a tendency to go hand-in-hand. It’s even somewhat strange to imagine a conference where people can’t gather at the end of the day to have a drink together. And as long as things don’t get out of hand, these can be some of the most memorable experiences people take away from an event. So why not try to recreate this in a virtual setting?
A great way to make this happen would be to invite a professional bartender/mixologist. Just like you’ll have the speakers doing their thing from the comfort of their homes, you can have a bartender do the same! This person can host a 30-minute or 1-hour long session in which they teach the attendees how to make a series of cocktails with the things they have at home. Just imagine how much fun it would be to have your audience following a professional mixologist and attempt to make their own mojitos and margaritas. Do you hear that? Yup, that’s the sound of people having a lot of fun together!
Cook A Meal Together
In the same spirit of making cocktails together, you can also have someone cooking a meal in real-time so that the audience can follow. Sharing a meal can be a fantastic way for people to bond and network during an in-person event. Sadly, there’s no absolute replacement for this in a virtual event – but cooking together comes pretty close!
What’s best is that, by the time everyone has their food done, they can sit down “together” and enjoy what they’ve prepared while talking about their favorite part of the virtual event, themselves, the dish, and so much more. These kinds of experiences truly go a long way in re-creating some of the most important aspects of an old school event.
Play Fun Drinking Games…
Drinking games are one of those things that never get old. They’re fun and a good way to get people to lighten up and connect. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you get your attendees to play “Never Have I Ever” – reserve that for the virtual happy hours you do with your close friends.
But there are still entertaining ways to play drinking games that don’t go too overboard. “Two Truths & A Lie” is a good example, and it’s an incredibly light-hearted way of having the members of the audience get to know each other better.
…Or Just Classic Games!
Games don’t need to involve alcohol to be fun! There are plenty of cool options out there of games you can play virtually. For instance, a trivia session is both educational and engrossing. We’ve all had unforgettable nights playing a good old game of Trivial Pursuit, and there are plenty of choices out there to make it work virtually.
Other classics like Cluedo, Scrabble, Uno, Scattegories, The Game of Life, and more are all available digitally, allowing groups of people to enjoy the games they’ve known all their lives in a remote setting.
Put Your Own Spin On Show & Tell
That’s right, Show & Tell is no longer reserved for classrooms! Back in the day, this was a small moment in time that allowed us to show some of our favorite things to our classmates. And maybe brag a little bit about our cool new lizard or a family heirloom that dated back to the Civil War.
Well, when it comes to a virtual happy hour, it can be just as delightful for your attendees! All you need to do is be creative and original with the categories you come up with. It can be anything from “show us your pets and introduce them to the other attendees” to “show us your favorite piece of clothing” or “the favorite picture you took from a place you love”. The possibilities are nearly infinite, and people will get a kick out of showcasing some of their favorite things to each other.
Get Everyone To Follow A Tutorial
In the age of information, there’s a tutorial for everything. And when we factor YouTube into the equation, there’s pretty much nothing keeping you from learning how to build a computer from scratch. So why not take advantage of the fact that people, in general, are familiar with tutorials and seem to enjoy them?
Depending on the goals of your event, you can even tailor the tutorial you choose to complement the overall ambiance. Or you can just make it fun and suggest everyone follows a dance tutorial, a makeup tutorial, or a knitting tutorial. You’ll know your audience better than anyone else, so think about what they’d like to do and see.
Make It A Theme
Themes are great and they make any party an instant success. How many times in your life have you attended social events that had a theme like “The Roaring ’20s”, “Rock ‘n Roll Only” or “Disney Characters”? People get to dress up and take on certain traits from a given character, which tends to make for a pretty fun night.
Well, you can do exactly the same at your virtual event. Not necessarily during the general sessions, but when it’s time to get a little less serious. Suggest a theme that your attendees can make their own – they’ll change into something that fits the purpose, and you can even adopt certain elements of it into the promotion of your virtual event.
Book Clubs Don’t Get Old
A great option to bring attendees together according to their interests is to organize a virtual book club during the happy hour. The brilliant thing here is that you can suggest a handful of different books leading up to the day of the event, and when it’s time to have a fun discussion about it, people can join the virtual room where the book they chose to read will be talked about.
It’s original and a little less risqué than some of the other ideas here, but the spirit of bringing people closer together in the spirit of entertainment is still there!
Hire A Musician/Singer
There’s really no limit to what kind of entertainment you can hire. We’ve already mentioned a bartender and a cook, but we couldn’t put together a piece like this without mentioning what is perhaps the most obvious one.
Music is wonderful, that’s a fact. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most profitable industries and why people flock to stadiums to hear their favorite artists live. So why not hire a musician or a band to give your attendees a little taste of those sweet musical notes? Just because people aren’t interacting, it doesn’t mean they’re not bonding – that’s the power of music for you!
Create An Art Project
On the topic of creativity, let’s consider some arts and crafts. Making art doesn’t have to be reserved to people who’ve studied it for a long time and made a career out of it. More than anything, art is supposed to be fun and a form of expression for those making it.
And suggesting everyone to just take some crayons, paper, and paint to create their very own masterpiece can bring back that easy and light feeling of being a child. No pressure, just a whole lot of fun!
Dance Party (& Other Exercises)
And concluding our list of virtual happy hour ideas is…a dance party! If your attendees aren’t the shy type and already have a few cocktails in them, suggest that they get up and get moving. Just blast some music and let them break free from the soreness they probably feel from sitting down for so long.
Plus, dancing isn’t the only physical activity you can include. Yoga classes, pilates, bodyweight exercises…it’s a great way to promote health, and getting to work out with other people will do wonders for the audience to bond through the pain. The good kind of pain, of course!
Virtual Happy Hour Ideas: Additional Tips & Best Practices
Before we conclude our list of virtual happy hour ideas, we want to leave you with some tips and best practices:
- Keep the rooms small! If you choose the right platform, this means you will have the ability to split people into different rooms, and that’s exactly what you should go for. A maximum of 30 people is ideal to make sure everyone feels included.
- Establish ground rules, especially if there’s alcohol involved. The same behaviors you’d expect from people in a regular event, you expect in a virtual setting.
- Always have someone on your team taking the lead. This person can be in charge of moderating, keeping the conversation going, and again, making sure everyone is being included.
- Don’t forget to have FUN! That’s the whole point of these virtual happy hour ideas, for everyone included.
And that’s a wrap on today’s article! The main takeaway here is that yes, virtual events can be very entertaining. And it’s our job as event planners to promote a sense of unity and closeness during a time when people are feeling extra lonely and in need of connection. So make sure to take these virtual happy hour ideas, make them your own, and create an unforgettable experience for you, your partners, and your attendees.