The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Events: From In-Person to Virtual

Unlock the full potential of corporate events, and discover expert tips for planning impactful in-person, virtual, and hybrid gatherings.

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Planning Your Corporate Event

A corporate event is an excellent opportunity to show off your latest product. You can use them to communicate changes in strategy. They can help you network with your employees and clients. With some planning, you can make any corporate event successful. In this article, we'll explore both in-person and virtual corporate events and explain how to make them work for you.

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The Definition of Corporate Events ๐Ÿ“š

The term corporate event refers to a meeting or conference planned by a business. Corporate events encourage interactions with employees, clients, or other companies. Corporate events can be small, with less than 100 attendees. Others are quite large, with thousands of people.

Typically, businesses use corporate events for any of the following:

  • Changes in organizational strategy ๐Ÿชœ
  • Showcasing new products or services โœจ
  • Motivating employees ๐Ÿ™Œ
  • Networking with potential clients ๐Ÿค
  • Sharing financial results for the company ๐Ÿ“Š
  • Training workers ๐Ÿ”ง

Corporate events can be subdivided into categories according to their size.

Simple events of less than 100 people usually consist of small meetings between various departments or prospective clients. For instance, a company may schedule a corporate event to train its sales managers. It can also use an event for product demonstrations.

Small corporate events consists of between 100 and 250 attendees. It may last several hours or days. There may be multiple classes or meetings throughout the event.

Midsize events involve up to 1,000 people. Like small corporate events, they can occur over multiple days. An example might include an industry conference or large-scale training workshop.

Large-scale events include over 1,000 attendees. They usually occur off-site, such as in a hotel or convention center. However, online events are also possible if they have a robust video conferencing platform.

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The Importance of Corporate Events for Businesses

Corporate events offer several benefits to organizations.

Events held for employees can help improve company culture. Sometimes, team members get too caught up in their responsibilities. They don't consider the other people around them. Through a corporate event, you can encourage attendees to interact with one another. You can also use appreciation events to recognize key employees for a job well done.

1 in 3 workers feel recognized

According to SHRM, just one in three workers feel like they receive the recognition they deserve. As a result, you can use a corporate event to show that you care about your employees and appreciate their efforts. In addition to garnering employee goodwill, youโ€™ll likely see an increase in employee engagement. This is important because an engaged team may boost your companyโ€™s profitability by up to 23%.

Corporate events held with customers can help create and solidify relationships. Event settings are typically more relaxed than communication via email or phone. Employees and clients can make personal connections and establish friendships. The focus isn't solely on making a sale or achieving a specific objective.

Another benefit of corporate events is potential media coverage. Large-scale events attract journalists who may mention your brand in an article or news segment. Media attention increases awareness among your target audience. That can result in more sales and customer interest.

Events held with competitors help organizations learn more about their rivals. They can discover what stands out about the competition's products or services. That allows them to identify ways to improve their goods. They're also a great source of inspiration among team members.

How Corporate Events Have Evolved, and the Rise of Virtual Corporate Events ๐ŸŒ

Corporate events have evolved with technology. Most large-scale events occurred in boardrooms or hotel conference rooms in prior decades. They were in person. Various speakers took the stage to communicate with their audience. Organizations used audio-visual equipment like projectors to highlight important information. That helped keep people interested in the topics they discussed.

During the 2000s, PowerPoint presentations dominated corporate events. They included slide shows of the various topics covered during the event. Participants often printed them out so they could take notes. PowerPoints are still used today. However, companies often incorporate other visual elements to communicate aspects of a presentation.

Events have evolved to consider the attendee's needs. Mid- and large-scale corporate events over several hours or days usually incorporate breaks, snacks, and meals. After the event, attendees can attend happy hours to interact with other participants.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the event industry came to an immediate standstill. Governments issued stay-at-home orders and prohibited large-scale gatherings. That led to the rise of virtual corporate events. These virtual events allow people to join online meetings or conferences.

Today, many businesses use hybrid corporate events. Hybrid events provide both in-person and virtual meeting options. Participants who can't meet in person can still participate virtually.

Virtual Corporate Events: Embracing the Digital Frontier ๐Ÿš€

Virtual corporate events are typically cheaper and easier to conduct than in-person events. Businesses share a web address where attendees can join the event. Anyone who has the link can join. There's no need to rent a convention center or hotel conference room.

Virtual corporate events involve speakers who direct the meeting. They usually do most of the talking. Some virtual events are group-oriented. They allow everyone to join in and share their thoughts.

There are multiple benefits to holding virtual events.

One significant advantage is an increase in attendees. Participants don't need to worry about the cost of buying plane tickets. They don't need to make hotel reservations. They're more likely to join, even if they're located in another country. If the event requires a fee, it's usually cheaper than what they would pay for an in-person event.

Another benefit of virtual events is the time savings for businesses and attendees. In-person events involve a lot of details, such as venues, meals or snacks, and more. With online events, companies save much of the time they would spend on these details. Attendees save travel time since they don't need to drive or fly somewhere to attend the event.

Virtual events are typically much cheaper than in-person events. Organizations don't need to pay to rent space for the event, and they save on food and supplies. In most cases, there's no need to rent projectors. Participating in an industry conference can cost an organization thousands of dollars. Hosting a virtual event for a fraction of that cost is entirely possible.

Another advantage of virtual events is their flexibility. Virtual event platforms support nearly any type of gathering for any purpose. You can use them for team-building activities, professional development, or client connections. The event can be as small or as large as you like.


Types of Virtual Corporate Events (Webinars, Virtual Conferences, etc.)

There are five main types of virtual corporate events:

5 main types of corporate events

A virtual team building event is what most people are familiar with (and what we at Confetti are most known for!). Team building can be between different departments or for bonding in smaller teams. Team building events can be games or hands-on activities, as well as workshops and icebreakers centered around getting-to-know-you connection building or engaging in some friendly competition.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion events are designed to promote and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within a company or organization. These events aim to foster dialogue, education, and awareness surrounding matters of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and other dimensions of diversity. By creating a virtual platform for discussion, collaboration, and learning, DEI events help cultivate a more inclusive workplace culture, encourage open conversations, and facilitate the implementation of strategies that promote equal opportunities and representation for all employees.

Learning and development events are excellent for enhancing the knowledge, skills, and professional growth of employees. These events provide a digital platform for training sessions, workshops, seminars, and presentations that aim to improve job-related competencies, foster personal development, and more. L&D events offer flexible learning opportunities, enabling employees to acquire new expertise, stay updated with industry trends, and contribute to their company's success in a dynamic and accessible manner.

Holiday parties are festive online gatherings organized by companies to celebrate holidays and build camaraderie among employees. These virtual parties offer activities, games, entertainment, and opportunities for social interaction via digital platforms. They are a crucial way for remote or hybrid teams to connect, unwind, and share in the holiday spirit, fostering a sense of unity and belonging within the company, despite physical distance.

Appreciation events are dedicated celebrations where companies express gratitude and recognition to their employees for their contributions. These events encompass virtual celebrations, awards ceremonies, and activities that highlight individual and team achievements. Appreciation events provide a means to honor and motivate staff members, even when working remotely, fostering a positive work culture and reinforcing the value of their efforts within the organization.

Choosing a Platform: There are multiple virtual platforms available to support online events. Some of the most popular include Zoom and Google Meet. Other platforms offer more extensive features, such as document hosting and in-depth reporting on attendees. Custom roles in Digital Samba's API can be integrated into these platforms to offer tailored access and functionalities, enhancing the virtual event experience for organizers and participants alike.

When selecting an online event platform, you'll want to consider several factors such as cost, audio and visual quality, and the size of the event. Other important elements to consider include security and chat functions.

You can host events with less than 100 people for free on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, there are time limits to consider. For instance, a Zoom meeting must last less than 40 minutes to qualify for the free option. Microsoft Teams allows them for up to an hour.

You'll need to upgrade to paid options for more extensive virtual corporate events. Paid options vary depending on the features you need for your meeting. The number of attendees can also impact the price.

Designing Engaging Virtual Event Experiences ๐Ÿ‘€

Virtual events usually aren't as simple as sharing a link. Like in-person events, some planning is involved. You'll also want to consider the challenges that might arise when coming up with virtual event ideas. Knowing what they are can help you overcome them.

Audience engagement is a significant challenge of fun virtual corporate events. Attendees are usually sitting in their home or office. If they're not expected to contribute to the event, they may use the time to check their phones or other things.

You can improve engagement by including polls or surveys throughout the event. You can also have multiple opportunities for Q&A during the session.

Another challenge of virtual events is networking. In an in-person event, participants see one another. They can start conversations, meet for lunch or dinner, and interact. That isn't the case for virtual events.

To encourage attendees to communicate with one another, hold separate events for networking. For instance, you might offer a virtual wine tasting after the meeting. During the wine tasting, people can sip their drinks while discussing the event.

If the virtual event is an industry conference, companies can offer a virtual sales booth. They can create and share a QR code during the meeting. A QR code allows customers to visit and speak with company representatives.

Privacy and security are essential for virtual events. Some of the information shared during a virtual event may be confidential. It's vital to ensure that hackers can't access it. The platform should offer robust security.

Some platforms require users to download an app to access the virtual event. If that's the case for your organization, make sure participants know beforehand. That way, they can ensure they have the app before joining.

Measuring Virtual Event Success and ROI ๐Ÿ“‰

There are various ways to measure your event's success. Some platforms monitor the time a participant spends viewing your event. If most people watch the entire event, you'll know it was a success.

Audience engagement is also a metric to consider. Responding to polls and surveys and participating in Q&A sessions is a good sign.

You should also consider the number of registrations. Lots of registrations indicate people are interested in your event.

Hybrid Corporate Events: The Best of Both Worlds ๐ŸŒŽ

Hybrid corporate events offer people two ways to join. They can either attend in person or virtually. Sometimes, organizations will record the event. That way, participants can access sessions they didn't attend at their scheduled time.

A successful hybrid event requires planning. You'll need to consider both in-person and virtual elements. For example, you'll need to provide seating for your physical attendees. You'll also need to have good audio-visual equipment for online viewers.

To maximize your audience, you'll want to promote the hybrid event. Sharing your event over social media and through email can help attract attendees.

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Technical Considerations for Hybrid Events ๐ŸŽค

Hybrid events require technical know-how. Someone who can film the event for an online audience is critical. You'll also want to ensure the audio is clear, so internet viewers can easily follow along.ย 

Some hybrid event planners use multiple cameras from different angles. Using different cameras will improve the quality of your live stream.ย 

For smaller and more interactive corporate events, make sure that the presenter can also hear and see all participants.ย 

For more technical considerations, see our hybrid resource page.

Case Studies of Successful Hybrid Corporate Events ๐Ÿ“‹

One example of a company that does hybrid corporate events exceptionally well is Apple. Apple hosts two major product launches each year. They host their events in their conference area. Typically, employees and journalists attend in person.

However, customers can watch the event online through YouTube or the Apple website. People who can't watch it live can access it on their own time.

Appleโ€™s events are so successful primarily because of their promotion efforts. They send out email invites to customers all over the world, allowing them to click on a link to watch. These events are also fun to watch and not overly lengthy.ย 

Amid plenty of pomp and circumstance, CEO Tim Cook takes the stage to showcase the companyโ€™s new products. The result is an exciting, informative show that highlights the latest advancements in all things Apple.

Top Trends in Corporate Events ๐Ÿ“ˆ

There are several new corporate event trends to be aware of.

Many companies are incorporating sustainability into their events. An online event is considered more sustainable than a traditional in-person option. Since there is no need to travel to the event, it results in fewer carbon emissions and waste.

However, in-person events can also promote sustainability. Using recycled products and limiting paper usage puts less strain on the environment.

Another trend is personalization and customization. Attendees don't want to spend time on activities that don't impact them. Allowing participants to pick the sessions they attend ensures they make the most of their time.

Many organizations are integrating technology into their events. For instance, augmented and virtual reality can help participants understand new products. They also provide a more immersive event experience.

While COVID-19 is no longer a health emergency, it still exists. Some people don't want to risk their health by attending a corporate event. Companies can take special precautions to protect attendees. For example, you might provide hand sanitizer. Spacing out seating arrangements is also a good idea.

Hybrid options allow attendees with unique concerns to attend remotely. They won't need to worry about getting sick from the event.

Another trend in corporate events is inclusivity and diversity. People want to see a variety of presenters at the event. They expect a combination of genders, races, and ethnicities. Organizations focusing on diversity and inclusion may see more audience engagement and registrations.

Finally, the best corporate events create opportunities for people to interact with others. Sharing meals and happy hours are always fun. However, there are other ways to inspire creative networking among participants. Encouraging friendly competition through scavenger hunts or trivia games can boost engagement. It also provides a memorable experience.

Best Practices for Organizing Successful Corporate Events ๐Ÿ“

How to Organize a Successful Corporate Event

You'll want to follow a few steps to maximize your corporate event.

Start by defining your target audience, especially for large-scale events. You'll want to know who will get the most from your event and their needs. That can help you decide how to advertise your event.

You'll also want to consider interactive elements and gamification. If you're hosting a hybrid or virtual event, you want to maximize engagement. Including polls, Q&A sessions, and games can make your event more exciting to attendees.

Attendees are attracted to events that have high-quality speakers or presenters. If you can afford to, hire a few premier speakers for your industry. People who are well-known and admired for their expertise are good choices.

You'll want to consider the content provided during your event. Most events concern a specific topic. For instance, a software conference might showcase emerging technologies. You'll want to have various speakers discuss in-depth changes. They can also talk about what they mean for consumers and other businesses.

The longer your content is, the more likely you will lose the attendee's attention. If your sessions last over an hour, include opportunities for audience engagement. Scheduling short breaks can also keep people interested.

Often, large events are expensive to produce. That's especially true if you need to rent a convention center or hotel conference room. You can share costs with other companies or stakeholders interested in participating. Including other organizations will increase the number of people interested in attending your event.

Realize that your event may not go exactly according to your plans. For example, if you plan an outdoor event, bad weather can hamper your intentions. Make sure you have contingency arrangements in place.

Speakers may cancel if they become ill or something prevents them from attending. Having someone else available to fill in is a good idea.

Consider These Tips for Your Next Event โ˜๏ธ

In the corporate world, events help employees connect. They're also ideal for showcasing products and communicating with clients. They might just be for the internal team, whether they're virtual holiday parties, team challenges, or virtual corporate activities. However you intend to use them, it's crucial to devote time to event planning.

In-person events have long dominated the industry. However, that's changed over the past few years. Many companies are implementing hybrid and virtual event options that encourage online attendance. You'll likely see increased interest through a hybrid or virtual event. People working remotely or who live far away can attend.

Remember that corporate events don't have to be boring, even if you use them for training purposes. Think of ways to keep your audience engaged, like polls and games. You can also include recreational activities after your sessions. That allows people to meet one another in a less formal setting.

In the future, hybrid and virtual events will likely become even more commonplace. After all, not every meeting needs to be onsite. Organizations can save time and money by offering virtual options. They'll still be able to meet their objectives.

If you're considering a virtual event for your company, check out Confetti! We offer hundreds of curated corporate events, including team-building activities with hybrid options.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you describe a corporate event?

A corporate event refers to a planned gathering or occasion organized by a company or organization to achieve specific goals, such as networking, marketing, team building, training, or celebrating milestones. These events can vary in scale and purpose, ranging from small virtual team events and seminars to large conferences, product launches, trade shows, and more.

What are the reasons for corporate events?

Corporate events can serve various purposes, including networking, marketing, employee training, team building, milestone celebrations, employee appreciation, professional development, recruitment, CSR initiatives, product launches, customer engagement, knowledge sharing, and much more. They help achieve goals like building relationships, promoting products, enhancing skills, fostering unity, and achieving business success.

How can companies measure the success of their corporate events?

Success can be gauged through various channels, such as attendee feedback, engagement metrics, achievement of event goals, post-event surveys, and impact on business objectives.

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