Why virtual-experience companies are just getting started

Solutions for the future of employee engagement

We are all asking the same question, what will life be like post-Covid? When are we going back to the office? How many days a week will we work from home? No one is sure of the answers to the questions above, but what this writer has discovered is that virtual is here to stay.

Business owners are continuing to look at a dispersed workforce and designing solutions for their future. They are asking questions such as, how much office space do they need? How big of a travel budget do their sales teams require? What does company culture look like beyond providing in-office perks like cafeterias or kegerators? How do they engage their employees? 

The answers most likely will require reflection and adaptation. But virtual events, a pandemic-necessitated business model turned game-changer, means that client and employee engagement can be done virtually, and it is surprisingly less expensive than the old way of doing things. Because of this, we have seen an explosion of virtual offerings, everything from magic shows to cooking experiences to wine tastings. This is just the beginning.

Anyone up for Drunk Yoga?

As technology continues to improve, we will be able to do more and more virtually. Zoom gained global notoriety this year. While it ranks as the most familiar platform, there are many others. Each with their own niche, they range from individual networking to large expos. The goal? Facilitating connection. 

In addition to video-meeting services, the final piece is virtual-event marketplaces. It’s a natural evolution to be able to shop for virtual experiences on marketplaces just like you would for groceries, clothing, flights, apartments, or car rentals.

HR departments, company culture creators, top account managers, executive assistants, and CEOs are among some of the leaders who will benefit from being able to discover and book events just as easily as they would make a reservation at a restaurant. The time savings alone is staggering as it can be painful to scour the internet for enticing corporate events. Unless you have a personal recommendation from someone “in the know,” it is even harder to determine if these events are quality and worthwhile. 

ReElivate (reelivate.com) is a virtual experience company that launched this past year that plans to have over 650 offerings by the end of the year. These will include virtual, physical and hybrid offerings. With a goal of providing a vetted and validated marketplace, ReElivate already made a mark by providing unique and accessible solutions for engagement and team bonding/building. Yes, there is a market for drunken yoga classes. Who knew Drag Queen Bingo would be a team-building experience — yet it’s one of its top sellers. And then we have virtual cocktail classes with a description that reads: Where wine meets cocktail and the rest is delicious history (Sign me up). 

Jon Conelias, CEO of ReElivate

According to Jon Conelias, CEO of ReElivate, the question that ultimately comes up is how to pick the right experience for your team. Here are a few things he suggests:  

  • What is the primary goal of the gathering? It will impact the nature of your choice. For example, if it’s bonding, you would pick something that requires participants to interact with one another rather than choosing an experience you all passively watch.
  • Are you trying to reward your employees? Consider an event that is focused on entertainment and enjoyment.
  • Consider making the event part of the workday. You don’t know what commitments employees have outside of work. Scheduling an event during the workday makes it feel more like a treat and shows that you value the experience (and them).

Whether felting class, musical wine tasting, trivia night, or an evening of meditation for people who can’t meditate sounds good to you, there is a virtual experience for you and your team that enables you to stay connected and engaged in a way that may surprise even the most buttoned-up HR manager or business owner.

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