5 Cost-Saving Virtual Entertainment Ideas

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Virtual events on their own already save money. Companies no longer have to worry about travel costs or hotel accommodations for guests and keynote speakers.

They can also welcome a larger audience since everyone is attending remotely. But virtual events still require some form of entertainment to keep attendees engaged throughout.

Oftentimes, an online event can feel impersonal or isolating. With no in-person interaction, it can be difficult for the group as a whole to bond.

But entertainment provides an opportunity for folks to feel at ease. Incorporating fun games can not only provide a break from the conference itself but can also help foster a sense of community.

While COVID-19 restrictions are easing up, virtual corporate events will likely continue to occur. So brainstorming virtual entertainment ideas now will only help you plan for your next virtual event.

Below are some options that will keep your guests entertained. And these options will also help you stay within your budget.

See Related: 5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Virtual Speaker for your Next Virtual Event

#1. Game night

Game night is a great way to get all attendees involved. And they can help break the ice for guests to get to know one another.

5 cost-saving virtual entertainment ideas

Online Office Games

Online Office Games is a 90-minute event that you can attend. It is facilitated by world-class hosts and is optimized for fun and team-building.

Hundreds of organizations have used this service to get attendees engaged at their virtual events. With an impressive roster of games, it is important to note that this is not a free service.

Instead, this option is ideal for a host who wants the entertainment to take care of itself. Online Office Games can extend your virtual event with more team-building exercises.

And the host of the games will also provide an online Zoom room in which to play. This service works for all group sizes.

So no need to worry whether your virtual event is too big or too small. Online Office Games will be equipped to handle whatever you throw at them.

Their price varies on how many participants there are. So if you’re willing to spend some of your budget on high-class entertainment, this could be the option for you.

But there are plenty of free games that you can facilitate yourself. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, keep reading to check out some of the most popular games for virtual events.

Lightning Scavenger Hunts

This interactive game splits attendees into groups. Together, they create a list of items that they then have to find around their homes.

Below is an example:

  • Something red
  • A family photo
  • Your favorite mug
  • Something warm
  • Favorite magazines
  • Most recent book you read
  • The last gift you received
  • A movie you just watched
  • Tickets to a show
  • Your furry friend

Once guests have gathered their items, they can share them on-screen to earn points. Typically, this allows for attendees to share personal stories and make friends within the group.

At no cost, this party game can get teams to connect with one another. And as a social event, it will certainly be one to remember as everyone darts around their own house.

Conference Call Bingo

Bingo is a game that most are familiar with. And playing it over Zoom with your remote team could make for a fun social event.

Start by making a Bingo game board. Below are some examples of what you can include on your board:

  • Someone drops from the call
  • “Sorry, I was on mute”
  • Dog appears on screen
  • “Can everyone see my screen?”
  • Meeting finishes on time
  • “Sorry, who is speaking?”
  • Someone compliments your background
  • “Thanks for joining us”
  • You hear a cat meow in somebody’s background
  • A family member walks through

Distribute the game board to coworkers before the call. Then they can track their progress, making the video call a social event as well.

These two game tips are a fun way to play while getting work done. While these ideas may be free, they’re certainly rich in making your virtual event an exciting evening.

#2. Comedy show

Laughter is the best medicine. And it’s also a great way to get companies feeling more like united teams.

Make your conference exciting with virtual entertainment

Hire a professional

Professional comedians will vary in cost. But you can guarantee you’ll get a stellar show that leaves the whole conference laughing.

Comedians know how to engage an audience. They can create a fun and jovial atmosphere even when attendees call in from remote places.

As a form of entertainment, comedy is generally a cheaper option. After all, you’re only hiring one professional as opposed to several.

Overall, a comedy show will help boost energy levels at your virtual event. The show may be pre-recorded, live, or even a hybrid of both.

But ultimately, virtual comedy shows are guaranteed to bring people together. Additionally, you can encourage audience members to drop tips throughout their set.

Their performance may fit within your budget. But your guests can also help cover any gratuity cost.

Improv night

Hiring a professional comedian might require too much money out of your budget. But there are other ways to infuse comedy nights into your virtual event.

Improv nights help you save money while getting attendees engaged and on their feet. As a fun activity, below are a couple of examples of games to try.

Rhyming Fools – Set the scene by giving a description of a situation. An example might include a “divorce hearing,” or “kindergarten interview.”

Then choose two to four attendees to act out the scenario. But they must make sure that all of their lines rhyme with one another.

To Your Right – Have each person pick an object to their right. Then encourage participants to make up a story that incorporates that object.

The story can be short. The point of the game is to get attendees to be creative with their surroundings.

One Word Story – Pick an order for attendees to go in. Then create a title such as “What No One Tells You About Unicorns.”

Have guests tell the story one word at a time in the order you assigned. By the end, you should have a pretty interesting version of the story you started out with.

Bonus: 7 Ideas to Enhance Audience Participation at your Next Virtual Event

#3. Dinner party

Build community through a virtual dinner party

Just because your conference is remote doesn’t mean you can’t still all have dinner together. Food is one of the greatest ways to bond people, so why don’t introduce that bonding into your virtual event?

As host, you can choose a theme for the night. Then pay attendees a stipend to purchase the food. Your theme could be “pizza” or “comfort food.”

Or, you can encourage guests to pick their favorite local restaurant. That way, folks can share their local restaurants and cuisines in groups with one another, even if only virtually.

As for your savings, you can easily cap the price of what folks choose to buy. They can always choose to spend more than the stipend you provide.

But overall, you’ll still be saving on what you would pay for an in-house meal together. As is, meals from different restaurants will already start the conversation for you.

Additionally, you can have everyone cook the same dinner. Have the team decide on recipe ideas beforehand.

Then send employees either a list of ingredients or a meal prep box. On the call, you can prepare your meals and enjoy them together.

This option is more likely to save you money. Since you’re paying for ingredients alone, your savings won’t have to worry about paying tips for the price of a takeout service.

As a cost-effective option, this evening of virtual dinner will also encourage a night of storytelling. Maybe even include a happy hour in your dinner party to make it even more interesting.

#4. Karaoke

Host a karaoke night at your next virtual event

Karaoke is another great way to make your virtual event unforgettable. It is a great social space for employees to get to know one another.

And it encourages guests to take risks and join in the fun. Hosting virtual karaoke is also a perfect example of how to save money while still providing entertainment.

Gather song requests from attendees. Maybe even ask your friends what their favorite karaoke version songs are.

You can use the online platform Watch2Gether to sync everyone’s streams. Create a YouTube playlist of your karaoke songs.

Then designate group numbers and solo songs. Team members can join in the music at any time.

And they’ll also get to watch their coworkers sing their hearts out. As a free online platform, Watch2Gether is a great resource if you’re looking to save money.

It will ensure that everyone’s video at the conference will play at the same time. But if you’re more accustomed to Zoom, you can still host a karaoke night.

Queue up your YouTube video playlist and share your screen. And be sure to check the box that says “share computer audio.”

As far as free ideas go, karaoke is sure to be a fun hit. Don’t be worried if only one person or two decides to get up and sing.

You can bet that others will still sign on to watch. And what better way to share music and take a break from professional events than through karaoke?

#5. Wellness session

A wellness session may seem counterintuitive when it comes to entertainment. But taking just a few deep breaths can help attendees feel more engaged with the virtual event itself.

Take a break from your virtual event with a wellness session

Guided meditation

For guided meditation, you don’t have to hire a professional to facilitate. In fact, plenty of online sites offer free meditation videos to help you save some extra money.

Share your screen with this video playing. Allow attendees to engage in self-awareness and improve their focus overall.

You can even incorporate journaling into the session as well. While not a form of entertainment, meditation refreshes the mind.

Virtual events can sometimes feel exhausting. But with a mindful break, guests can better engage with the following events.

If you have some money to spare, consider mindful gifts to give out to those who participate in your wellness session. Below are some ideas to give your guests some incentive to try mindfulness:

  • A month-long subscription to a meditation app
  • An aromatherapy diffuser
  • Meditation candle
  • Guided meditation books
  • Essential oils

A wellness session at your virtual event can do more than you think. It shows guests that you are invested in their well-being.

Many virtual events will try to pack in as much as they can. But you can set yourself apart by taking a step back with mindfulness.

The option to include wellness sessions is also kind to your savings as well. So give it a try at your next event and see if it helps attendees remain more focused.

Online fitness class

Another way to boost energy and focus is through exercise. Try offering an online fitness class during your virtual event.

Exercising in a group promotes accountability. In this way, it is actually a great bonding exercise.

Consider your team’s physical capabilities when choosing a workout. Make sure it is an accessible event for all.

And encourage colleagues to cheer one another on. Like any bonding exercise, this means taking a bit of a risk.

But this event will also ensure that attendees remain engaged and connected. It might seem like a strange option but it will certainly make your event memorable.

It’s showtime

Virtual events don’t have to be stuffy and boring. They can be exciting and entertaining with the right ideas in mind.

There are plenty of cost-effective ways to bring entertainment into your event as well. So don’t be afraid to try out these ideas above or search out others that seem like they will fit your company.

The main focus of corporate entertainment at an event is to keep attendees engaged. Virtual events require another level of connection since in-person communication is not an option in remote settings.

You know your clientele best. So if some of these ideas feel like they fit the bill, give them a try at your next event to spice things up.

You can find that new connections are made between coworkers. These interactive activities nudge guests to step out of their comfort zones.

And with that, they themselves provide the entertainment. There is value in both hiring professional entertainment and encouraging your attendees to step up and entertain one another.

But both are meant to foster a sense of community and belonging. Good luck at your next virtual event. Hopefully, these tips will get your guests up on their feet and ready to party!

Keep Reading: Who Invented Stand-up Comedy?

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular comedian, magician, and virtual speaker.