Updated: Oct 28, 2020
by Maria Walda
It can be a challenge to plan creative corporate event entertainment ideas that attendees will enjoy. However, there are lots of budget-friendly options that will compliment your main event agenda and create memorable experiences for your guests.
We’ve gathered five creative activities you can implement or use as a jumping-off point to inspire your own unique corporate event entertainment ideas. Learn more about the ways in which leading event brands engage attendees in fun, interesting activities and how you can customize each idea to fit your needs.
What are entertainment activities?
Entertainment activities are fun group events that delight corporate event attendees. Corporate event planners include entertainment activities within larger event agendas to give attendees a break from the regularly scheduled programming. They also schedule entertainment activities that educate guests on topics that relate to the host event but are not part of the main line up.
This event type can make use of advanced ticketing or registration, limit attendance to event VIPs, or be open to the general public. Corporate event planners who plan to charge for tickets should also include at least one free entertainment activity in their corporate event agenda.
Discover the best corporate event entertainment ideas
Choose your corporate event entertainment ideas based on your main event goals. For example, an after-party and cocktail mixer helps attendees network with one another in a laid back setting. Or, a corporate event entertainment idea for an optional masterclass can feature brand representatives as thought leaders on a particular subject. This will help increase brand recognition, provide valuable content for attendees, and establish domain authority.
Discover these creative corporate event entertainment ideas that work well alongside larger events such as tradeshows and conferences or hold up as standalone activities for employees and customers.
1. Host a mocktail competition as part of your corporate event entertainment.
A mocktail competition is an event where participants create a tasty mixed drink in 10 minutes or less. Judges award points based on taste, creativity, and presentation. Winners receive prizes such as a free service upgrade from your brand or a gift certificate for a related product.
Assemble a stage with as many as 10 individual creation stations. Then, give each participant a set amount of ingredients. Include at least one unusual item such as edible gold, asparagus, or chocolate chip ice cream to spark their creativity. Place the same set of tools at each station to keep the competition fair.
Each contestant should make one drink for the judges to portion out and share. Besides ice, all you have to buy is a liquid drink base such as lemonade or soda plus three other ingredients. Expect to spend less than $50 on groceries. Borrow mixology kits or buy cocktail shaker sets for $20 each.
As part of their corporate event entertainment, The Hotel Show ran two different mocktail competitions. The first was a three-minute competition to see who could make the highest quality version of a classic cocktail. The second competition was a blind challenge box with mystery ingredients.
Challenge competitors to recreate your CEO’s favorite beverage. Or limit their ingredients to ones that are the same colors as your logo.
2. Plan a mindfulness meditation to enhance your corporate event entertainment agenda.
A mindfulness meditation is a 10 to 30 minute guided meditation in a quiet room to help recenter and relax participants.
All you need for this corporate event entertainment idea is an activity leader and comfortable seating. Hire a professional mediation teacher or yoga instructor to lead guests through the exercise. Or, have your host play a pre-recorded meditation from an app such as HeadSpace. For seating, use floor cushions, yoga mats, and blankets. Alternatively, bring in folding chairs or choose a walking mindfulness meditation that will keep your attendees on their feet.
This corporate event entertainment idea is free if you use a volunteer or free mindfulness meditation download to lead the session. Invite attendees to bring their own yoga mats, blankets, or pillows.
The Hospitality Design Expo and Conference hosted a 15 minute morning meditation before the day’s first session for attendees. It was led by a professional mindset coach.
Substitute meditation for a positive affirmation journaling session or a light office yoga workout if you think your audience would prefer it.
3. Add local live music to your list of cultural and corporate event entertainment ideas.
Local live music from singers or instrumentalists is a great corporate event entertainment idea for planners who want to introduce attendees to regional culture. Tying your event to an area artist will also boost your brand’s local SEO, which is important if you want to reach 46% of Google users who prioritize local events and services.
All you need for this corporate event idea is a performance area and musicians. They usually bring their own equipment but they may need help with setup.
Musician fees vary greatly but the average cost of $50 to $100 per hour for a minimum of two hours.
The East Mediterranean International Tourism & Travel Exhibition introduces their attendees to regional culture through collaborations with local artists. In 2019, they hosted a Japanese Sou performance with Japanese snacks.
If your brand is expanding into a new market, celebrate that country’s culture through music or some other region-specific artform.
4. Organize a rapid-fire challenge for your corporate event entertainment.
Rapid-fire challenges are competitions based on trivia, games, or physical challenges that can be done in ten minutes or less. The activity can be anything from painting your company’s logo to decorating a cake using your brand’s colors. Contestants compete for prizes or bragging rights.
For this corporate event entertainment idea, you need a timer, at least one judge, and activity materials for your chosen rapid challenge. Use a timer app on your phone and grab a volunteer to host and explain the rules.
Rapid-fire challenges such as relay races or minute to win it games are free or cheap if you use materials you have around the office.
The International Restaurant Conference hosts an annual rapid-fire food challenge. So far they’ve done meatless Monday, meatball, appetizer, and cupcake-themed competitions. Winners were awarded $1,000 and got exposure to over 100 participating media outlets.
Choose a challenge that is relevant to your industry. For example, if your company specializes in graphic design for Facebook advertising, challenge participants to make a themed Facebook banner in 5 minutes or less.
5. Offer a fun personality analysis workshop for corporate event entertainment at a conference.
A personality analysis workshop uses popular tools such as Myers Briggs for self-reflection and to facilitate more productive interpersonal relationships.
Use a free digital assessment tool or a downloadable personality quiz. Then, go through results with your participants and explain what each outcome means. Host an open discussion about the challenges of group work and how attendees can use their results to improve communication with their colleagues.
This corporate event entertainment idea will cost less than $10 if you choose to print out the tests and distribute writing utensils to less than 50 participants. Alternatively, ask attendees to access the assessment online through their personal devices.
The Tourism Conference hosts a personality analysis event that focuses on how hoteliers can optimize their interactions with guests through a better understanding of themselves and others. Their last iteration of this event was two hours long and moderated by the former President of the Institute of Hospitality.
Create your own personality quiz based on common professional or customer personas you regularly interact with. Make it with free tools such as Outgrow or Interact which also allow you to add custom branding and colors.
How do I book event entertainment?
To book event entertainment, you first need to get a quote from the group or company you want to work with. Make sure to find a package that fits within your current budget. Ask about upgrades, add-ons, cancellation policies, and hidden fees.
Next, check your dates to see if they are available. Don’t forget to ask about the specific time periods you want to book them for. If your event venue has limited space, double-check how long it takes them to set up and take down the activity. This information will help you figure out how much space the event entertainment will occupy on your main event agenda.
Then, contact customer service if you haven’t yet to address special requests or requirements. Finally, book directly through the event entertainment’s website or over the phone. Save a copy of your order confirmation and ask about the next steps. If someone else will coordinate the event entertainment onsite, make the introduction now over email.
How do you make an event unique?
The best way to make an event unique is to choose an unexpected activity or to add a creative twist to an already familiar one. For example, you can add a custom theme to a cocktail reception, include a trivia contest for prizes on your city tour, or even host a VIP kickback with exciting guest speakers.
How to plan corporate event entertainment ideas
It’s easy to plan corporate event entertainment ideas when you follow these general guidelines:
Aim to book your event entertainment at least six months ahead of time. Not only does this give you the opportunity to shop around and compare prices, but it also gives you more time to promote the event activity itself. However, if your event is less than three months away it is better to call and speak to someone directly.
Get any special agreements on pricing or policies in writing to avoid miscommunication down the line. Send a short email to the event entertainment coordinator and your event team. Include details such as when the agreement was made and what it includes.
Measure the success of your event entertainment ideas through specific KPIs. The best ones for this event type include social media engagement through a promoted hashtag, print or digital press coverage, and post-event attendee surveys.
Bring your creative corporate event entertainment ideas to life
Now that you know at least five ways to entertain and delight attendees at corporate events it’s time to start planning your next gathering. No matter which of these corporate event entertainment ideas you choose, make sure you use a 3D stage design tool to plan your activity layout. Include an entertainment set up area and stage plus any relevant load in paths. Share your plans with outside collaborators or volunteers so that everyone is on the same page.