Really quick before diving into this article — did you see Hopin Events released new branding features, including color presets and custom theming? They're perfect for summer virtual events. Here's one out of the six themes now available in your Hopin Events account —
Sign in to see the other color presets or create your own theme. Go to Setup >>> Branding and you'll find it there.
Imagine you’re sitting on a beach, your toes dipped in the water, a refreshing drink in your hand, and the sun smiling down at you.
Now imagine attending a virtual event in this setting.
Sounds fun, right?
Summer brings a fresh and vibrant feel, making it an ideal time to host virtual events. But, you can't just hope to throw a Hawaiian shirt on a typical virtual event and call it a summer party (although we do love a good Hawaiian shirt).
Just like any event, a successful virtual summer event requires careful planning, creative ideas, and meticulous execution.
As the pandemic has shown us, virtual events can reach a wider audience and provide increased engagement opportunities, all while keeping the costs relatively low. They're like a refreshing summer drink that quenches your thirst but doesn't empty your pocket.
But here's the catch - they aren't as simple to prepare as lemonade. You need the right ingredients and the perfect recipe.
In this article, we'll take you through a few innovative strategies to plan a remarkable virtual event during the summer. These strategies will serve as your guiding light, helping you transform your ideas into an engaging and impactful event.
From summer themes to charity tie-ins, we will explore ways to infuse the summer spirit into your virtual event, ensuring a memorable experience for your attendees.
So grab your sunglasses, put on your sunscreen, and let's dive into these sizzling hot strategies that promise to make your virtual event the coolest destination this summer.
Themes can make your event memorable and unique. They improve the mood, increase engagement, and help unify the community that’s there. But it is not just about spelling out a theme and hoping it sticks - you need to make sure it is all encompassing:
Event attire: Encourage attendees to wear summer-themed attire to get into the spirit of the season. This could be flower shirts, sundresses, or even beach accessories like straw hats or sunglasses. To make it more fun, consider holding a contest for the best or most creative summer attire, which could encourage more participation and interaction among attendees.
Event backgrounds: Use bright, vibrant, and sunny backgrounds for presentations to create a warm and engaging atmosphere. You can also encourage attendees to use summer-themed virtual backgrounds during the event. This can make the event feel more immersive and bring a sense of cohesion among the attendees. You could provide a selection of custom-designed virtual backgrounds that attendees can download and use.
Decor and design: If your event includes physical aspects, like a main stage or a hosted venue, make sure the design and decor reflect the summer theme. This could be in the form of summery colors, beach-themed decorations, or tropical flowers. If the event is entirely virtual, this can extend to the design of your online platforms, presentation slides, and event promotional materials.
Food and drink: If you're providing food and drinks for the event, consider summer-themed options. This could include fresh fruits and salads, BBQ style foods, and refreshing beverages like lemonade or iced tea. For virtual events, think about sharing summer recipes or cocktail/mocktail recipes ahead of time, so attendees can prepare and enjoy them during the event.
Agenda and content: Try to integrate the summer theme into the event agenda and content as well. This could mean having sessions that are related to summer topics, or structuring the event in a more relaxed and flexible way to fit with the laid-back feeling of summer.
Encouraging participants to take part in the event from outdoor locations like their backyards, balconies, or local parks can add a refreshing and unique aspect to the event, and help attendees enjoy the summer weather while participating:
Promote the idea: Firstly, you need to promote the idea to your attendees - this isn’t something that many can do on a whim. Make sure to suggest this in your event promotions and communications, and emphasize the benefits such as enjoying the beautiful weather and changing up their usual environment.
Weather considerations: It's important to consider that in a global event, not everyone is going to have the same weather. So, provide alternative suggestions for those who may be experiencing rain or excessive heat. They could set up near a window where they can still enjoy natural light and a view.
Session types: Certain types of sessions might be more suitable for outdoor participation than others. For instance, networking sessions, group discussions, or casual meet-and-greets could work well outdoors, while detailed presentations might be better suited for an indoor setting due to potential distractions.
Tech considerations: Remind attendees about potential tech considerations such as ensuring a stable internet connection, having a power source, and considering the visibility of their screen in sunlight. We would recommend a tech checklist to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Outdoor challenges or activities: Encourage outdoor participation by incorporating relevant activities. For example, you could hold a friendly competition where attendees share their outdoor setups or views. You could include an outdoor exercise break, an outdoor scavenger hunt, or a nature-based mindfulness session.
Interactive activities not only increase engagement for attendees but they can actually be a lot of fun. And the great thing about them is that there are a ton of creative ways to implement them in a virtual event:
Virtual cookout: Who doesn't love learning a new recipe? Plan a virtual cookout where everyone follows along with a shared recipe. Choose a summer-themed recipe – like a BBQ dish, a summer salad, or a refreshing dessert. You can either have a professional chef to lead the cook-along, or you can invite attendees to share their own favorite summer recipes. Remember to send out the recipe and a list of ingredients beforehand so that attendees can prepare.
Make a splash: Similar to the virtual cookout, you can organize a session where a mixologist guides the participants through the process of making a summer-themed cocktail or mocktail. Make sure to share the ingredients list well ahead of time.
Summer trivia: This could be about summer-themed movies, music, travel destinations, or historical facts about summer. You could organize it as a group activity or as a competition with small prizes for the winners.
Take a snap: Launch a summer-themed photo contest where attendees can share their best summer pictures - this could be pictures of their favorite summer destination, summer food, or a photo of them participating in your event from an outdoor location. Offer a prize for the best photo to incentivize participation.
Interactive presentations: Make your presentations more interactive by incorporating quizzes, polls, or Q&A sessions. For example, if you're presenting about a summer-related topic, you could pause halfway through and quiz the audience on what they've learned so far.
Network to get work: Plan some fun, summer-themed networking games. This could be a virtual "beach" party where everyone shares a fun fact about themselves, or a "summer memory" session where participants share their favorite summer memory.
Incorporating wellness breaks into your virtual event can give attendees a much-needed breath of fresh air and help them re-energize. Here are some ways to you can build this idea into your event:
Yoga session: Invite a yoga instructor to lead a short, 10-15 minute session. This can help attendees stretch and relax their bodies, especially if they've been sitting for a while. Yoga can also help clear the mind and increase focus. Choose simple poses that can be done even by those new to yoga, and can be performed in a small space or even while sitting on a chair.
Mindfulness meditation: A short guided mindfulness meditation can help attendees reduce stress and enhance their focus. Again, it could be beneficial to hire a professional to guide the meditation. The meditation could be as short as five minutes and still provide a beneficial pause in the day.
*Inhale, exhale*: A quick guided breathing exercise can help attendees relax and refocus. This can be particularly useful during more intense parts of your event, like after a thought-provoking presentation or a heated discussion.
Work up a (small) sweat: Consider including a short physical activity break. This could be a simple exercise routine that can be done from home, a dance break with summer tunes, or even a challenge like seeing who can do the most jumping jacks.
Health and wellness speaker: Invite a health and wellness expert to speak on the importance of taking breaks, maintaining good posture during long sitting periods, and staying hydrated, particularly in the summer months.
There is just something about live music in the summer that feels right. Putting it into an event gives a refreshing break from more formal presentations and talks and helps keep people connected to the event. Here are a few ways you can integrate entertainment with a summer twist into your event:
Live bands for the win: Hire a live band or DJ to play summer tunes during breaks or at the end of the event (or during a break). They could play popular summer songs or beach tunes. Make sure they have a good quality setup for broadcasting their performance online, and check that their sound levels are appropriate for your virtual event platform.
Local performances: You could also incorporate performances from local artists or even cultural performances that represent summer traditions from around the world. These performances could provide a unique touch to your event and highlight local talent.
Make it interactive: Make the entertainment interactive by allowing attendees to request songs, or even by having a virtual dance floor where attendees can show off their moves. You could even have a dance-off or a mini talent show where attendees can participate.
Who doesn’t love to laugh?: A light-hearted comedy show could be a great way to keep your attendees entertained and engaged. A comedian could run through a summer-themed set - anything from dealing with sunburn to getting attacked by bugs. Make sure to vet your comedians well to ensure there is no offensive material in there.
Throwback to bingo: You could host a music bingo or trivia game where all the answers are related to summer hits. Yes, it is a game typically associated with an older generation - but trust us, it is still fun and casual.
Summer Swag Bags
Sending attendees a summer-themed swag bag can make your event more memorable and create a tangible connection between you and your attendees. Here's how to effectively implement this idea:
Choose the right stuff: Choose items that are not only relevant to summer, but also useful to your attendees. These could include items like sunscreen, sunglasses, reusable water bottles, cooling neck wraps, or even a fun summer-themed t-shirt. You might also include snacks or beverages, like gourmet popcorn or a DIY cocktail/mocktail kit.
Brand is everything: It's always a good idea to brand your swag items. This can help increase your brand visibility and make a lasting impression on your attendees. Make sure the branding is subtle and tasteful, and fits with the overall design of the item.
Make sure they tie back to the event: Consider including items that are relevant to your event, like a notepad and pen for note-taking, or a custom event badge. You could even include a printed agenda or a personal welcome note for a special touch.
Logistics is everything: Plan the logistics of sending your swag bags in advance. You'll need to consider costs of procurement, packaging, and shipping, and make sure the items reach attendees in time for the event. You'll also need to get the necessary permissions and address details from attendees.
Virtual swag bags: As an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative, you could consider creating virtual swag bags. These could include downloadable items like e-books, digital wallpapers, discount vouchers, or online gift cards. You could also include access to exclusive digital content like webinars or online courses.
Make everyone an influencer: Encourage attendees to share their 'unboxing' moments on social media, or during the event if it's appropriate. This can create a sense of community and excitement around your event.
Incorporating a charitable aspect into your event can give it a greater sense of purpose and leave a positive lasting impression on attendees. There are so many great causes out there, so find one that works with your event and if possible, tie it back to summer:
Partner with a Local Charity: Look for a local charity that aligns with the values of your event or organization, and preferably one that has a summer-related cause. This could be initiatives for kids' summer camps, beach or park cleanups, or support for vulnerable people during heatwaves.
Donation Portion: Consider donating a portion of your event proceeds to the chosen charity. This could be a percentage of the ticket sales, or you could have a separate donation option during the registration process or find a platform that integrates this directly into the event.
Awareness and Advocacy: Use the event platform to raise awareness about the charity's cause. This could include a presentation from a representative of the charity, video or multimedia content showcasing their work, or resources shared in the event chat or follow-up emails.
Interactive Fundraising: Host a fundraising activity during the event. This could be a virtual charity run/walk where attendees participate in their own locations, a charity auction with summer-themed items, or a challenge where a certain amount is donated for each goal met by attendees.
Volunteer Opportunities: If possible, provide opportunities for attendees to volunteer with the charity. This could be a virtual volunteering opportunity or something that can be done locally, in person.
Follow-Up: After the event, share the results of the fundraising with attendees, and let them know about any future opportunities to support the charity. This could be part of your post-event email, or shared on your event's social media channels.
Find a platform that can help you plan the best summer event
And there you have it!
A comprehensive guide packed with ten effective strategies to host an unforgettable virtual event this summer. Each strategy, whether it's adopting summer, incorporating wellness breaks, or partnering with a charity, all aim to enhance the virtual experience while celebrating the spirit of summer.
But remember, the success of your event doesn't solely depend on the strategies used. It also relies heavily on your execution.
Pay attention to your audience's needs and preferences, foster a lively atmosphere, and ensure your event offers value to all participants.
Remember, hosting a virtual event during summer is not just about adding a splash of sunshine to your event design or shipping summertime goodies to attendees' doorsteps. It's about creating an immersive experience that blends the cheerful ambiance of summer with innovative virtual event strategies.
With these strategies in your event planning toolkit, you're now equipped to turn the lazy summer days into engaging, fun-filled, and memorable virtual events.
So go ahead, host your event, and let the summer magic unfold! And if you are looking for a partner to help you execute on the best event possible, reach out to our team to see how we can help.