A Guide To Planning a Virtual Casino Night
As the holidays draw near, our corporate partners continue to navigate the path to returning to the office during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While there is a desire to host an in-person celebration, there is still some hesitancy, especially in more urban areas to return to an event at full capacity.
With virtual events taking such precedence over the past 20 months, there seems to be a general sense of video-call fatigue that is causing some resistance to plan a fully virtual company celebration this season. As we help our clients navigate through another delicate year’s end, the general consensus is that having “some celebration” is better than having “no celebration at all”.
With the right production tools and plan, variety of entertainment, and a few well-placed care packages, U.S. Poker and Casino Parties can elevate the guest experience well beyond a virtual wine night into an event that will give the flair of the Roaring ’20s or the buzz of Las Vegas.
Choosing the Right Place and the Right Time
Let’s face it, the last thing employees want to do on a Friday or weekend night is to sit in front of their computer with a bunch of coworkers. We are finding that Thursday night is a great time to host a virtual event. For a holiday party, it may even be best to offer the Friday following the event as a day off to encourage participation and engagement.
Just as with any event, expecting all of your guests to promptly arrive at the event start time is unrealistic, and makes the party feel more like a scheduled meeting. Building in a cocktail hour for your guests complete with a close-up magician, live music, or a classic cocktail mixology demonstration is a great way to warm up your guests and allow others to join in a relaxed manner.
Create a Run of Show
Communicating the festivities of an evening shouldn’t make your guests feel like they are attending a conference or headed into an evening full of Zoom meetings. While there needs to be structure and planning to the run of show, what we find is that successful virtual events also have an organic quality. This allows attendees to explore the “virtual casino floor” or the “virtual speakeasy” as they would an event reception.
This is achieved by creating a module virtual event experience, with planned activations that allow users to plug in at any time. Using self-guided onboarding instructions, or a pre-recorded video, there is an opportunity for branding, promotion, or showcasing an executive welcoming guests to the event in a comical light.
We recommend using our Virtual casino, which allows users to access a dedicated webpage with links to all of the evening's festivities. This central hub, allows guests to receive important information, explore the activities, and bounce from activation to activation with ease.
Promote Excitement and Attendee Engagement
A little hype can go a long way for virtual events. For corporate partners planning a virtual holiday event, sending each employee a box of props along with a care package of food and beverage that fits the theme of the event can help break through the video fatigue.
Other ideas can include hosting a raffle for a well-sought after item and having the winner chosen at the event. You could also add an element of customization to your care package by allowing guests to choose a care package option in the process of RSVPing. Leading up to the event, an executive from the organization can create a series of teaser videos that will keep the event top of mind and generate a buzz.
With any of these tactics, the goal should be to gain audience attention before the event starts to encourage guests to look forward to the event.
Plan for Connectivity Issues
A technical issue during a virtual event is likely to happen, and while technical problems do occur (Attendees cannot log in, they can’t access their microphone or camera, they can’t join the meeting, etc…), many issues can be avoided by clearly communicating exactly what participants need to do to join the virtual event.
Communicating technical requirements through multiple channels (email, event website, and introductory video or remarks) is the best way to help your attendees. Make sure to create and send your attendees a well-constructed email with technical requirements the day before and the day of the event. We are always happy to provide technical support to event attendees to help them navigate any disruptions during the event.
Create a Dynamic Experience
To create a true Las Vegas Experience, guests need the ability to freely bounce from “table to table” and explore not only games but moments of entertainment as well. To create this energy, we recommend including a variety of components in larger virtual events. Giving your guests the ability to “step up” to a Black Jack table, and then transition to Craps, will not only keep their interest but will encourage natural connection and conversation to happen throughout the event.
A virtual cigar lounge can be designed to allow guests to watch a cigar-rolling demonstration and also request a breakout room to have a more private conversation. We’ve even explored incorporating a “roaming magician” that would interrupt a game for a few minutes to feature a close-up magic trick. U.S. Poker and Casino Parties even offers a fully virtual avatar experience (pictured above) that allows for complete gamification of the event.
Including a variety of options and moments of surprise and delight will keep your guests engaged, and ultimately will keep the event feeling like a celebration and not like a video call.