Corporate events do not have to be stuffy or boring. Whether you’re a corporate event planner or an HR professional trying to gather ideas for your annual holiday party, we’re here to help by sharing some of the best entertainment ideas for a corporate party. Happy reading!
Find a Unique Venue
Your venue sets the tone for everything. For starters, you cannot book other vendors or entertainers until you know the day, time, and location of your event. In addition to the basic protocols of event planning, booking your venue also creates the opportunity to set the scene and create a backdrop for the rest of your vendors and entertainers. This is why finding a unique atmosphere is your best bet, and here are a few ideas:
Rent avenue with a rooftop view
If you can find a rooftop venue that will accommodate your guests, we recommend booking it as soon as possible. The Rooftop Guide says this about renting a rooftop space:
If you are looking for a great way to celebrate a special occasion, such as a birthday, graduation, or an anniversary, a rooftop bar or restaurant can be an excellent choice. They can also work well for professional functions. Whether you rent out the entire space or you simply reserve a table, there are a lot of reasons that rooftop settings can make an important night genuinely memorable.
The Rooftop Guide also shares the top five reasons:
- The view: These settings tend to have a light, airy feel, especially if they are open to the outdoors. Even when these types of structures are enclosed, they are generally designed in such a way with large windows that you feel as though you are outdoors. Yet another advantage is that talking about the view itself can be an easy icebreaker, which is vital if you want to make your guests feel at home and encourage them to mingle.
- The cost: Renting out many rooftop bars and restaurants for a celebratory event can be surprisingly economical in some cases because you may have the advantage of having food and drinks available at the venue, so you don’t have to arrange for a caterer.
- Enjoying the Sky: Whether it’s a night sky full of stars, a dramatically stormy day, or a beautiful sunset, being able to see nature in all its glory while you’re comfortably sheltered and enjoying great food and drink can be a unique experience.
- Festive feeling: Maybe it’s the association of being up high with penthouses and luxury, but these venues have a way of making you feel as though you’re on vacation even if you’re still in your own town.
- Versatility: A rooftop bar or restaurant offers a lot of possibilities for the progression of the evening. If this is a business event, you could go from a presentation to cocktails to a sit-down meal. If it’s a more social event, there might even be the capacity to include a band or a DJ and dancing.
Escape the City and Go Outdoors
Many companies host a traditional company picnic, which is a great way to get to know attendees and their loved ones (if they are invited!). A slight alternative to a company picnic is to host a company field day where attendees will work together to complete physical and mental challenges and tasks. Another option would be to escape the city and head to an outdoor space to host your corporate event.
If guests are music lovers, you can book a corporate event band and host an outdoor concert. We’ve heard that cloud-based software company, SalesForce, provides attendees with entertainment, food, drinks, swag, and special guests, plus a change of scenery, which guarantees them a successful event year after year.
Book a private yacht
Many corporate events are typically held in a traditional office or hotel setting, but they don’t fully invoke a sense of bonding and celebration. Companies are now aiming to switch it up and create upscale experiences for their guests, and we’ve heard of several companies looking into booking private yachts for their events. Most yacht rental companies provide a dedicated event planner and catering, so it’s possible to cut costs or labor (or both)!
Rent Out an Old Castle
Renting an old castle may seem odd for a corporate event setting. Still, many planners and photographers use these historical venues for photoshoots, weddings, and corporate events when they want to bring a rustic and regal feel to the event. You can usually rent a castle through your local municipality or an app called “Peerspace.” Renting an old castle is probably more appropriate for a smaller crowd, where the schedule doesn’t require many presentations and is more about networking.
Plan Unforgettable Group Activities
After you secure your venue, planning the activities should be the next step. Here are a few ideas for organizing unforgettable group activities:
Organize a Casino Party
Casino parties have long been a staple for many corporate events. We’ve had the privilege of working with several companies that kick off their corporate event by hosting an informal “casino night” reception, or the planner may opt to close the event with a more formal casino night where guests dress up and enjoy live entertainment while gambling. Some companies are against using real money to gamble, but the presence of disco balls, live music, a blackjack table, and great hors d’oeuvres will always be a win.
Release Guests’ Hidden Talents
Karaoke anyone? Karaoke has been one of the most effective engagement tactics for all types of events. Most people love music and enjoy hearing their favorite songs, and a crowd or group of people who are comfortable with performing (and possibly embarrassing themselves) means a good time.
If you do not want to host an official karaoke section, you can talk to the DJ or live band in advance and ask them to encourage guests to come up and sing along. This may get the rest of the guests in the mood to perform later.
Invite a Motivational Speaker to Inspire Your Guests
Motivational speakers are great additions to any corporate event. The reasoning behind hiring a guest speaker may vary based on the goals or theme, but there are tons of experienced, engaging, and entertaining speakers who will align their messaging with your overall goals. To start, think about how you want attendees to feel during and after the event. What are the key messages and takeaways? Is this a holiday party or networking event, or is your company launching a new product or service? These elements will make a difference in how you approach your event entertainment, keynote speaker, and overall event. Settle on your theme and goals, then begin to research to find speakers who would help to push those goals forward.
Hire a Magician or Mentalist
A magician isn’t just for kids – adults enjoy entertainment surprises and a rabbit coming out of a hat every once in a while. If you need to fill a block of space during the event, you can hire a magician or mentalist to perform a set to either kick off the event or help transition from one “heavy” session to another.
Live Band or DJ?
In order to make your corporate event a success, music is a must. You can hire a band or DJ to perform throughout the event or during the “party” section of the event. The benefit of hiring either entertainment act is that you have a built-in emcee, and the music will serve as a soundtrack for the event. Just remember to start looking into the band or DJ at least six months before your event – the most professional and experienced corporate bands are sometimes booked 1-2 years in advance.
Say Cheese at the Photo Booth
A photo booth is a great way to allow guests to capture fun moments and get comfortable with people who would otherwise be strangers. Photo booths tend to bring out people’s silly and fun side, especially if the photo booth vendor offers props like feather boas, silly hats, and amusing signs. The photo booth industry launched the 360 photo booths a few years ago as well, which have also become a fan favorite.
Create a Game Room Experience
A game room experience could be a nice add-on, especially if you are hosting a more casual event or section of the event. Most of us have a competitive side, and who wouldn’t want the chance to blow off some steam by trying a new game and doing something different with new and old acquaintances? Here are a few ideas for your game room experience:
Organize a Video Game Tournament
Game Planet shares that game developers have begun to devote time to creating more casual and novice-friendly games, and this is perfect if you decide to host a video game tournament. Some guests may be more comfortable with a controller, but others may not be as experienced in gaming, so it’s great to have several types of games, so the game room is inclusive and welcoming. Don’t forget to splurge on hi-speed WiFi to support the gaming experience.
Rent a Golf Simulator
We’ve all heard the saying, “Deals are made on the golf course,” so renting a golf simulator is the perfect mix of corporate meets new-age technology. You can add a golf simulator to the game room, allowing executives to get in a few virtual swings.
Treat Your Guests to an Unparalleled Food Experience
We won’t lie – even as an entertainment company, we know that having good food rivals the importance of having good entertainment. Guests cannot enjoy themselves if they are hungry (in most cases, neither can entertainers and vendors!).
Be sure to have several food options that will not only cater to guests’ tastebuds, but also their restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, allergist, etc…); however, there are still ways to have fun with your food options.
Rent a Food Truck
Your corporate event may include several meals throughout the day or event timeline – continental breakfasts, a cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres, and plated dinners. Adding a food truck option at some point in the event is a fun and casual way to feed your guests and allow them to try a different type of cuisine.
Dine Under the Sea or in the Air
Underwater restaurants and dine-in-the-sky restaurants are luxury experiences that provide excitement for the eyes and tastebuds. Access to these restaurants is limited based on the host city of your event, but we encourage you to do your research to find unique restaurants that are similar so you can offer guests an exciting dining experience.
Offer a Wine Tasting Experience
Wine tasting is an exciting experience that will add a classy touch to any event. If you decide to offer recommendations for off-site activities, connect with a local winery or wine tasting venue and offer a wine tasting experience for guests.
Hire a Comedy Waiter
Hiring a comedian is a great touch to any corporate event. You can hire a comedian to host the event or serve as a waiter during the dining portion of the event. Here’s our take on how to hire and brief a comedian for a corporate event:
Hiring a comedian for your corporate event is a fun and unique way to engage, entertain and lighten your guests’ moods. If you’re planning a corporate event, it may be a challenge to find a way to push business goals and ensure that guests have a fun time. Suppose this is your first time hiring a comedian, or you’re working with a planning committee. In that case, there may be questions surrounding your budget, the type of comedian you choose and their comedic style, and whether having a comedian is appropriate for your event.
In order to address these questions when you book your comedian, you must have open lines of communication during the vetting and coordination process. At some point, your comedian will need to understand the guidelines and your expectations in order to deliver an outstanding performance. Here’s a handy guide on how to brief the comedian for your corporate event.
One or more of these ideas will help you to plan a grand corporate event and have your guests talking for months to come!
PHOTOS courtesy of MatoliKeel