The way we live, work, and socialize is a little different these days, to say the least. While some cities are beginning to ease up on regulations and allowing low-risk stores and businesses to open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some experts say we still need to practice social distancing through the summer. That means thinking twice about weddings, corporate events, and so on.
However, while you may not be able to book your favorite event venue right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t still host and attend these kinds of events… as long as you hold them virtually! And fortunately, with so many technology platforms available, it’s easier than ever to do so.
Keep reading as we explore some of our favorite tips for hosting a virtual event, whether you’re planning a special dinner with loved ones, an intimate reception to celebrate a big event, or a professional board meeting for your staff.
Hosting Virtual Professional Events
First, remember that planning a virtual event, whether professional or for a personal celebration, requires just as much planning and care as an in-person event. And if you and your attendees are not super familiar with technology, you’ll want to spend even more time making sure everything is set up for success.
For a corporate event in particular, here are some great tips:
1. Set expectations
If the event is meant to take the place of an annual corporate retreat, or a quarterly meeting where business goals, successes, and learnings are shared, make it clear that it’s mandatory for all of your employees to attend. Plan to promote the event, including the date and time, well in advance, and via multiple methods: send an email blast a few weeks before, then ask managers to follow up in team meetings and during 1-on-1s, and then include a few chat blasts the days leading up to the event, for good measure.
2. Consider time zones
If you have attendees spanning multiple time zones, you may not make everyone happy. But try to find a time that’s easy for most of your attendees. This can be tough even if you have everyone in the same area, too. Many employees are taking advantage of extra time in the evenings these days to spend time with family or explore new hobbies, so consider holding your event during the workday so it doesn’t take up extra time.
3. Select your technology wisely
Zoom is the most popular video chat platform for business functions, while Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger would also work. But keep in mind there are some limitations. On the free plan, you can host video conferences of up to 40 minutes and with up to 100 participants. So if your event will be larger or longer than this, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. Currently, their Small & Medium Business plan allows for 300 participants, and is $19.99 per month and per host.Also, prepare for any tech troubles ahead of time! Once you know which platform you’ll be using, try a practice run with another team member and make sure your video and audio work well.
4. Prepare your content
As they say in the marketing world, “content is king.” And this goes for your events as well, especially so when you’re hosting them virtually! Digital communication can be much trickier than in-person, and there’s nothing worse than logging on to a conference call full of lags, people talking over each other, or unclear messaging. Practice your talking points beforehand, and consider adding a slide deck where you can write out key points, takeaways, or calls to action throughout.
Hosting Virtual Weddings, Anniversaries, and Other Celebrations
Hosting virtual events with your family and friends is a great way for everyone to stay in touch when you can’t see them in person. The ideas are endless and anything you’d do a regular party for is a great option for virtual: kids’ birthday parties, anniversary parties, wedding receptions, graduation parties, or even just a low-key happy hour.In addition to the tips listed for corporate events above (just adjust slightly for a more personal feel!), here are a few more to consider:
5. Send a fun online invitation
Crafting a fun invitation, which can be either mailed or emailed, will build excitement for your event! In the invitation, explain why you’re hosting the party and what to expect.
6. Decorate your space
Treat your guests to a fun background on your video chat! Order decorations online from Amazon or a party store and set them up around where you’ll be sitting—or log in from a handheld device so you can walk from room to room and show off your decor.
7. Plan some games
Since a virtual party doesn’t have the same “mix and mingle” feel as being in person, it’s smart to have a more structured format. A great way to do this is by playing a game together, such as Pictionary or charades.
When You’re Ready to Host Your Next Event
When the San Diego area has been cleared for large events, we’ll be here for you as well! The Vault Miramar features 30,000 square feet of personal and corporate event space and can accommodate guests lists of up to 300 people. It’s a beautiful open space with 22’ ceilings throughout, floor-to-ceiling exposed brick, and a reclaimed-wood stage that’s perfect for your music performers or for speeches.
Hungry guests? We’ve got you covered. The Vault also features a full kitchen with two sub-zero refrigerators, a cooktop, an oven, fryers, and a steamer, as well as tons of bar space for your libations. You can also take advantage of the beautiful weather in San Diego with the large patio right off the main area—including a wood-burning pizza oven, a 20-foot granite bar, and a large grill.
And for the more professional events, our massive boardroom features a granite conference table for up to 12 people, which opens up to a gorgeous zen garden that’s perfect for break time.