Virtual holiday parties have surged in popularity due to the pandemic, providing a safe and convenient alternative to in-person gatherings. These online events break geographical barriers, allowing loved ones to celebrate together regardless of location. With interactive games, virtual gift exchanges, and personalized virtual spaces, participants can enjoy immersive experiences. Moreover, virtual parties promote inclusivity, accommodating individuals with mobility constraints. By reducing travel, they also contribute to a more sustainable approach to celebrating the holiday season.
According to Eventbrite's Inside Look report (source: Eventbrite blog), the growth of virtual holiday parties in 2020 was staggering. Their data revealed a significant increase in attendee engagement: 28 times higher by June 2020 compared to January. By November, this number had further escalated to 34 times more than the beginning of the year. The report also highlighted that over 75 million attendees registered for more than one million virtual events on the platform. Generally speaking, in the business world, virtual corporate trainings have been increasing and companies are pushing this format. Moreover, a global consumer survey conducted by Eventbrite and YouGov found that 47% of respondents from Australia, the UK, and the US agreed that online events are a suitable alternative to in-person gatherings.
Virtual events have also marked the start of new experiences. It is the case of immersive technology, which has revolutionized online events, offering transformative experiences for participants, as discussed in the Eventbrite blog article on Sansar (source: Eventbrite blog). Sansar, primarily known as a music venue, has proven its versatility for various event types. Notably, the platform partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to recreate museum objects virtually, providing people with the opportunity to visit during the closure of the physical building. These examples highlight the power of immersive tech in transporting individuals to engaging virtual environments for rich and interactive experiences.
Benefits of Virtual Events
Virtual events offer several positive points and benefits. Firstly, they provide flexibility and accessibility, allowing participants to join from anywhere at any time. Secondly, virtual events often experience higher attendance compared to in-person gatherings. Lastly, online events have a reduced environmental impact, contributing to sustainability efforts by eliminating the need for travel and reducing carbon emissions.
According to a survey conducted by EventMB (source: Bizzabo blog), in 2021, 93% of event professionals had plans to allocate resources for virtual events. This highlights the growing recognition of the benefits associated with virtual events. Notably, virtual events have the potential to generate more leads and revenue compared to in-person events. When the pandemic necessitated lockdown measures, a significant 60% of event professionals successfully pivoted to hosting virtual events, adapting to the new landscape and embracing the opportunities presented by online platforms.
There is also a sustained popularity and acceptance of virtual events even in the post-pandemic era. Virtual events, remote companies businesses, virtual team-building activities are some examples. Based on a survey mentioned in the Vimeo blog (source: Vimeo blog), an overwhelming 72% of participants anticipate attending the same number or even more online events once in-person gatherings resume. Additionally, according to a study by the University of Michigan mentioned in the Forbes Communications Council (source: Forbes), virtual conferences have significantly lower emissions compared to in-person gatherings. The AirMiners virtual conference conducted in May 2020 served as a case study, demonstrating a remarkable 66-fold reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to an equivalent in-person event held in San Francisco.
Holiday Party Ideas
Here are four virtual holiday party ideas along with their concepts, tips, instructions, and suggested tools/platforms to enhance the experience
Viirtual Holiday Decorating Party
Gather your friends and family on a video call and decorate your homes together. Share decoration ideas ahead of time, encourage everyone to get creative, and provide step-by-step instructions for DIY crafts. Use video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet to connect, and create shared Pinterest boards for inspiration.
Virtual Karaoke Night
Host a fun karaoke session where each participant takes turns singing their favorite holiday tunes. Create a playlist with popular holiday songs, set the festive mood with virtual backgrounds, and encourage guests to dress up. Use karaoke apps like Smule or Singa and video conferencing platforms with screen-sharing capabilities for a seamless experience.
Virtual Wine and Cheese Tasting
Arrange a virtual tasting experience where everyone can sample different wines and cheeses while learning about their flavors. Provide a list of suggested wine and cheese pairings, recommend local vendors for purchasing the items, and engage in discussions about flavors and preferences. Use video conferencing platforms with screen-sharing capabilities and explore online wine and cheese delivery services.
Virtual Painting Party
Host a painting session where participants follow step-by-step instructions to create holiday-themed artworks. Choose a simple painting design suitable for beginners, provide a list of required art supplies in advance, and offer guidance throughout the session. Utilize video conferencing platforms with screen-sharing capabilities and explore online painting tutorials or instructional videos.
These ideas provide an opportunity to connect, celebrate and boost morale while having fun and creating lasting memories!
Planning and Hosting Party
When planning and hosting a successful virtual holiday party, careful attention to detail is essential. From setting a convenient date and time to selecting the right platform and tools, each step plays a crucial role in creating a festive and engaging virtual experience for your guests.
- 1. Set a date and time that works for everyone:
- 2. Consider time zones and availability: Poll guests for preferred dates or offer multiple options.
- 3. Choose the right platform and tools: Research and select a reliable video conferencing platform and ensure it has features like screen-sharing and interactive elements.
- 4. Send invitations and communicate with guests: Use email or online invitation tools to send out invites. Include the party details, such as date, time, and platform link and encourage RSVPs to get an idea of the expected number of participants.
- 5. Provide clear instructions and guidelines: Send detailed instructions on how to join the virtual event. Explain any specific technical requirements or recommended settings. Outline the agenda and expectations for participation.
- 6. Prepare and test activities and games: Plan interactive activities, such as trivia, virtual scavenger hunts, or themed quizzes. Test the activities beforehand to ensure they work smoothly.
- 7. Create a festive atmosphere and dress up: Decorate your own space with holiday-themed decorations and share virtual backgrounds or filters to add a touch of holiday spirit.
- 8. Handle technical issues and troubleshooting: Have a backup plan in case of technical difficulties. Provide troubleshooting guidelines or a dedicated support contact. Remain calm and flexible if any technical issues arise.
Emphasize the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and creativity throughout the planning process!
Virtual holiday parties have become increasingly popular, offering a safe and convenient alternative to in-person gatherings. These online events have broken geographical barriers, enabling loved ones to celebrate together regardless of their location. With interactive games, virtual gift exchanges, and personalized virtual spaces, participants can enjoy immersive experiences. Furthermore, virtual parties promote inclusivity by accommodating individuals with mobility constraints. They also contribute to a more sustainable approach to the holiday season by reducing travel and minimizing carbon emissions. As we navigate the post-pandemic era, virtual events are here to stay, offering unique opportunities for connection, creativity, and celebration.