A well-executed virtual event sparks connections and inspires attendees, regardless of where they’re logging in from. A boring event? Well, we all know how those turn out — your survey email goes straight to SPAM or your event recording goes unwatched.
Mastering the art of virtual events is key not only for experiential event planning professionals but for marketers as well. If you want to engage virtual attendees, you’ll need a creative vision, a powerful live streaming platform, and the right virtual event idea to get started.
So without further ado, here are 31 internal and external virtual event ideas to engage your employees and attendees.
Reinvent the virtual event playbook
Learn from leaders at Hubspot, Zendesk, and Edelman on how you can level up the event experience.
Learn from leaders at Hubspot, Zendesk, and Edelman on how you can level up the event experience.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event takes place exclusively online. From conferences, festivals, award ceremonies, live sports, and faith-based live streams — virtual event ideas can range from quick virtual meetings or webinar sessions to multi-day experiences.
The beauty of virtual events is that they are cost-effective and without physical limitations. With online events, marketers don’t need to stress about occupancy rules, printed materials, furniture, swag budgets, or astronomical bar tabs.
As long as you stay focused on engaging your audience in a meaningful way, you have full creative license to make your digital experience perfectly tailored for your brand.
Check out our complete guide on how to plan and host a virtual event.
Team entertainment event ideas
As the work environment becomes increasingly remote, leadership teams have to remain creative in planning employee engagement activities. According to HubSpot’s 2022 Hybrid Work Report, 40% of remote team members miss connecting with colleagues spontaneously. So take a look at these seven virtual team entertainment options and start planning your virtual event today.
1. Movie screening
Everyone watches movies at home, but rarely do we get a chance to watch movies with coworkers and friends. A virtual movie night or screening for your team offers a nice change of pace from your typical virtual work events.
Stream a film in a virtual group setting where people can watch and chat about the movie together. Make the experience even more interactive by hosting virtual gatherings before and/or after the screening to discuss the film.
2. Music concert
Nothing beats an in-person concert, but great musical performances can transcend virtual spaces. And it’s probably easier than you think to live stream a music concert.
This year’s Coachella festival was available for virtual audiences through one of six separate live streams. So if concert-goers weren’t able to make it out to the desert (or didn’t want to pay $5 for a bottle of water), they can still enjoy their favorite performers’ sets.
You could even include a dance party or karaoke to shine a spotlight on team members and bring your musical event to a whole new level.
3. Theater performance
It may seem daunting, but a live theater event can be a unique, attainable way to offer virtual entertainment to your audience. Theatrical video guru Jim Glaub recommends pre-recording the performance you’re going to live stream. A second or two delay can interrupt an acting or musical beat, so streaming a previously recorded live performance is your best bet.
Not sure where to start? Talk to acting teachers and colleges in your area to get connected to great live theater performers.
4. Museum visit
While most of us would prefer to travel the world to check out famous museums, it’s still pretty great to view art collections from afar. As live streaming services have improved, remote museum visits have become a real possibility for sharing entertainment.
There are great museums all over the world that offer virtual experiences. Use Google Arts & Culture to put together an online tour for your team, and they can discuss the world’s greatest works over coffee.
5. Casual party game
Murder mystery and other types of casual games translate well to an online environment because they don’t require many game pieces. But they do require audience communication!
Learn the rules of Werewolf and teach your employees how to “survive the night” in this virtual game. You can serve as moderator or designate a team member to keep the game running.
6. Sporting event viewing
There are a few key dates every year all sports fans have circled on their calendars. From the Super Bowl to the World Cup, these types of important matches are best enjoyed with others. And if attendees can’t be at the game in person, watching along with fellow fans can make it more fun for your audience.
Hosting a virtual sports-watching party can be a great way for team members to enjoy the camaraderie of rooting for their favorite teams in a virtual setting.
7. Dinner party
Another way to kick back and relax with your colleagues and teammates is with a remote dinner party. Everyone eats, and you don’t necessarily have to have a set “menu” if you host a virtual dinner event, so it’s a natural way for employees to get together and connect.
And although you don’t have to provide a menu or recipes, it can be fun to follow a general “theme” like “spicy” or “favorite family meal.” Then teammates can share their recipes if they choose, or your company can sponsor the meal from a local restaurant.
Team professional learning event ideas
In 2021, one-fifth of trade shows were organized as virtual events — so it’s not only possible to do so, but it’s also a popular option. A virtual professional learning event is a great way to keep audience members and employees engaged.
8. Fireside chat
A fireside chat is a great virtual event idea to host for employees. Achieving the “fireside chat” format can be as easy as setting up a live stream broadcast for your team.
Industry thought leaders and motivational speakers are two great options for leading a presentation on an interesting topic.
While a lot of options on this list are meant to spark connections and build teams, we also want to share virtual event ideas that can help you turn work necessities — like training and onboarding — into more engaging (and fun) events.
A great example of an engaging training event comes from the global coatings company Axalta. They wanted a modern way to reach their nearly 13,000 technicians without relying on decade-old in-classroom teaching practices.
“Organizing our training videos by teams or topics — all quickly searchable and on a stunning branded homepage — helps us shorten ramp up time and connect with teams at scale.”
Steve Hamaday, Virtual Training Manager, Axalta
By going virtual and streaming their training sessions, Axalta reached a much larger audience and presented information in a more fun and engaging manner than in the standard classroom setup. Use video to stream training content and help reach your global workforce.
10. Recruiting event
Why not turn your team-building activities into recruiting events? Put together a list of virtual team events to identify the most relevant ones to engage prospective employees. Options can include lunch-and-learns, hackathons, or panel discussions hosted by your team.
When setting up a recruiting event, encourage team members to bring friends or past colleagues. Many companies like to invite prospective employees to a team gathering or two to help everyone get a feel for the company and culture fit.
11. Digital summit
Virtual summits are an effective way to promote your brand and build a greater audience. We’ve seen great examples from Facebook’s F8 Refresh event and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Loyal fans of brands tune in year after year, so these digital summits can become trending events. However, it’s not just all talking heads and PowerPoints. Look for ways to leverage breakout sessions, group networking, and other activities to excite your streaming audience.
12. TED-inspired Talk
While hosting a virtual event for your audience is a great way to keep them engaged with your brand, it can also be the perfect opportunity to establish yourself as a true subject-matter expert in your relevant field. Perhaps the best way to do this is by hosting your own TED Talk-inspired keynote or webinar presentation.
If you can host a local TEDx Talk, do that — but setting up a TED-style live stream is the next best thing. When a key member of your team can show a strong understanding of your industry, it can help you develop a loyal audience.
13. Online conference
Translating a physical conference into a digital one can be user-friendly — with the right tools. Using Vimeo, ClayShare, a popular online pottery studio, was able to pivot from a physical conference to producing an online event in 10 days. With the right idea, the right conferencing resources, and the right virtual platform, your organization and exhibitors can follow suit.
Team social learning event ideas
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s a good idea to push the social element of your virtual events. As Gallup research shows, those in “highly engaged workplaces” show 41% lower absenteeism and 21% higher profitability.
Hold a virtual learning event for your team and audience members and provide them with an interesting environment in which to socialize.
14. Mixology class
A typical mixology class involves alcohol, but you can certainly tweak the recipes for non-alcoholic drink options! Invite a trained bartender to teach your team how to make the perfect bespoke cocktail or mocktail.
A mixology class provides a fun activity for attendees while giving them a space to get to know one another. Plus, once they’ve completed the class, you can have everyone hang out virtually and chat about their favorite recipe.
If you’re looking for the perfect mixology experts and pricing information, check out the BIPOC-owned Hella Cocktail Co, which uses Vimeo Create to produce their own recipe videos and content in-house.
15. Book club
If you’re looking for an event series for your staff, a virtual book club is a great option. Book clubs combine individual reading with engaging collective discussions and commentary. A club can meet every week or month, depending on the group’s preference.
16. Fitness class
Just because you’re joining a virtual event from your home office doesn’t mean you can’t break a sweat. Virtual fitness classes inject wellness and fun into your organization’s content programming.
Virtual fitness classes can run the gamut from yoga and pilates to kickboxing. Since many of these virtual fitness classes already exist in the world, consider reaching out to your favorite host to sponsor an employee well-being event tailored for your audience.
17. Wine club
When considering which virtual event idea is right for your brand, it’s important to keep in mind your goals for engagement. Do you want your virtual event to be a one-off gathering to help promote a new product? Or do you want to build consistent engagement with a target audience?
If you’re looking for a good virtual event that can be turned into something that happens consistently throughout the year, consider hosting a virtual wine club. There are plenty to choose from online in which you can have subscribers pick their favorite blends from across the globe. Once they get their choices in the mail, hosting a weekly or monthly virtual wine club where participants connect online to discuss their favorites can be a great way to build consistent engagement.
Team parties and celebration ideas
It’s important to have fun in the workplace. In fact, 81% of employees at companies considered “great” (according to Great Places to Work criteria) described their work environment as “fun.”
Consider the following virtual events when planning your next team party or celebration.
18. Awards ceremony
One of your best bets for a fun and rewarding experience is hosting a virtual employee awards ceremony. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like a little love for their hard work?
Have fun with it! If you want to amp up the virtual experience, set a dress code in advance. Try rolling a virtual red carpet with employees dressed to the nines, or stay casual with food and drink pairing suggestions to complement the evening. And for an added level of engagement, consider including prizes like gift cards or other easily deliverable reward items.
19. Wellness party
Digital fatigue and employee burnout are increasing concerns in the remote working world. That’s why wellness and mental health programs are a popular trend for internal teams. It’s important to recognize that digital fatigue is real and that taking breaks to focus on employee wellness is crucial.
One way to keep employees fresh and engaged is by throwing a virtual wellness party. Think lunch-and-learn sessions, yoga or meditation classes, and fitness challenges. They don’t have to be specifically “wellness” themed to focus on refreshing your team, but it never hurts to encourage team members to relax and take some time for themselves.
20. Comedy roast
A word of caution for this idea: only attempt an internal virtual comedy roast if your team feels comfortable! Set ground rules, talk with your leadership, and — if the organization agrees — open the floor to some *appropriate* and *lighthearted* jokes.
You could even go the route of the “honey roast.” During a honey roast, speakers make sugary sweet jokes about their colleagues instead.
21. Happy hour
This is a pretty straightforward icebreaker option that’s always a classic. Hosting a virtual happy hour is one of the tried-and-true ways to let your team virtually relax and hang out. These events should be free-flowing without set agendas.
However, it never hurts to plan out some fun games to try out while your team is unwinding. Here are some helpful virtual happy hour ideas to try out at your next online gathering. And make sure to let your staff members know to join in with whatever type of drink or snack they enjoy!
22. Holiday party
Holiday parties are a staple of corporate work life. From Halloween and New Year’s to winter and spring holidays, it’s always fun to find an excuse to have a party.
Live stream your event and consider hiring some live entertainment or hosting a costume or decorating contest. Bonus points for sending a swag bag or a set of gifts to your employees the day of the event.
23. Digital gala
If your brand is a nonprofit, association, or public institution, you may want to consider bringing attendees together for a virtual gala. If you’re considering different virtual fundraising ideas, virtual galas are a great way to attract advocates, thought leaders, and donors to support a cause.
Check out an online fundraising platform like Givebutter, integrated with Vimeo. These tools can help you collect donations while broadcasting your live stream.
Team challenge ideas
Remote work can cause your employees’ collaboration to weaken and become more siloed, so it’s critical that you create virtual events that require teamwork and communication. These are some of our favorite options.
24. Gaming tournament
The growing transition to a hybrid lifestyle has taught us a lot of things, especially that there are more ways to engage than IRL — like with video games. Gaming (and gamification) has become more accessible and entertaining with the growth of live streaming.
For your next virtual team-building activity, try hosting a virtual video gaming tournament where staff members can log on and play together. You can also host popular gamer streams, where your audience members and employees can watch along in real time.
25. Social media challenge
Creating and/or participating in a social media challenge is a fun way for teams to bond virtually.
While it might feel silly to copy the latest TikTok dances from teen influencers, once your employees get out of their heads, they’ll probably have a lot of fun doing it. But there are also plenty of great non-dance social media challenges that don’t require much more than a smartphone to participate in.
26. Digital scavenger hunt
Feeling creative? Invite your employees to a virtual scavenger hunt or virtual escape room style of game.
Write (or aggregate) clues that participants can use to complete virtual tasks and find objects in this online game. Use breakout sessions and breakout rooms to let your teams gather and figure out how to get to the finish line first.
Another way to engage your employees is with online trivia! Trivia is a classic both in a pub and at home. Plus, a virtual trivia night can be just as easy as hosting one in person. If you want to elevate the experience for your guests, try hosting it as a game show.
Attendees have the option to join virtual trivia games alone, with a small team, or even with groups of people scattered across the globe. If you’d like to find out more about hosting virtual trivia nights for your team members, check out Geeks Who Drink — they offer plenty of options.
28. Photography contest
Gone are the days of lugging around tons of equipment. Smartphones can give anyone the power to shoot stunning photographs. Let your staff members show their skills with a photo contest.
Check Instagram for photo challenge prompts. Or try opening up submissions for a virtual photography contest you create from scratch. You can even host a virtual gallery and have an awards ceremony to top off the event.
Customer nurturing event ideas
Not all virtual events will be created and produced for company employees. You can put the same creativity and effort into customer-nurturing events! Read on for some ideas to get you started.
29. Morning show
Here’s a question: how do you support your customers online? Zendesk answered the call and created a live streaming series called the Zendesk Morning Show that aired biweekly to more than 170,000+ global clients.
Virtual video events can be a great way to level up your customer communication and retention strategy. Think of how to bring the most relevant content to your customers, and use tools like private internal links and review tools in a video library to build out your comms.
“With Vimeo, we launched a bi-weekly live show for global customers, during a pandemic, in just weeks, not months. We managed the whole process on the Vimeo platform, collaborating remotely with our team and agency, and going live multiple times a week, in several languages.”
Alvin Mudun, Senior Web Product Manager, EMEA, Zendesk
30. Cooking class
A virtual cooking class might be just the trick to engage customers while adding a little *spice* to their day.
Send a recipe to your attendees in advance, or ship a box of ingredients to their door (if it makes sense for your budget). Stream the culinary class and leverage Q&A, chats, and polls to engage your amateur chefs. Encourage your guests to share their final results on social media, use an event-specific hashtag, and mention your organization.
31. Networking events
If your company is looking to project a more professional experience for those in the corporate world, a virtual networking event can be a smart option. Virtual networking is a great way to engage potential clients and introduce yourself to prospective new hires as a recruiting tool.
Use your own team members and in-house SMEs to help plan the content for and host the event.
Virtual events FAQs
Still wondering how you can spice up your virtual event? We’ve got answers to the most frequently asked questions on virtual event ideas.
What events can be done virtually?
Well, to begin, all the 31 events listed in this article can be created and produced virtually. With the right idea and virtual event platform, you can turn almost any in-person event into an online *event*.
How do you make a virtual event fun?
The best way to add some fun to your virtual event is with engaging activities. Even if you’re presenting a straightforward webinar or training module, take advantage of the engagement tools you have at your fingertips: chat and messaging, reactions, surveys, polls, and more.
How do you attract people to virtual events?
If you don’t already have a built-in audience — like employees or clients — for your virtual event marketing efforts, there are four ways to get them in the “door”:
- Optimize your promotional content for search to boost inbound traffic (and hopefully sign-ups).
- Use email marketing to reach potential leads.
- Build interest with a “sneak peek” of the virtual event.
- Work with your presenting sponsors (if you have them) to cross-promote the event.
Virtual events are here to stay
Virtual events are engaging and powerful mediums to connect people across your company and around the world. We hope these 31 fun virtual event ideas help spark your imagination for your next virtual event.
As more and more brands look to the best virtual events as effective ways to reach internal and external audiences, consider what professional video tools, tricks, and resources you can leverage to take your content to the next level.
Published July 2021, updated May 2023