Host Events was created to support those looking to bring their community together through much-needed social and virtual experiences. They offer virtual happy hours as well as events for foodies, art lovers, gamers, adventurers, fitness enthusiasts, and others.
About a year ago, we partnered with Host Events to offer several social impact solutions, including those that benefit animals, education initiatives, and the environment.
As the Delta variant continues to cause companies to reassess their return-to-office and holiday plans, we spoke with Michelle Carazas, one of the founders of Host Events on how to make virtual employee engagements meet the moment.
Let’s talk about Host Events. How did you get started?
One thing that makes the journey of a startup so exciting is that the mission of our business will always be evolving. We are constantly thinking of our customer persona, listening to them, and evolving with — and for — them. Our “why” is to always evaluate our impact to make a difference through our services.
When we started, to who we are today, has evolved from what we thought our customers wanted to what we determined our customers needed. The impacts of our global situation, change in customer behavior, and a change in corporate needs are constantly influenced by things we can’t always control. Being nimble and evolving the mission is critical to staying top of mind for our customers.
One thing that has remained constant, though, is our commitment to servicing corporate culture regardless of its evolution. We understand that employees are demanding more from their corporations and office leaders and need to provide the best working environment where employees feel accepted, empowered, challenged, heard, and valued.
How did the pandemic change your offerings?
Shifting from being an in-person events company to 100% virtual was a very daunting thought when we put it into words. As we went from the idea to delivery, we stayed close to our customer base and continued to listen to the current challenges they faced and their goals to retain employees and maintain community.
This challenged us to think differently and serve our communities differently. One of the limitations we had before was that you had to be in one location to enjoy our services. Now, we are able to bring global communities together and serve organizations globally — bridging new relationships and fostering long-term corporate growth.
Many people are tired of virtual events. How do those who are planning these events keep them fun and engaging?
The most important is part to be aware of timing, including dates and timezones. Events that are longer than an hour tend to lose the audience’s interest. Be aware, too, of attendees’ schedules. You’ll need to give them notice so that they can put the event on their calendars and make accommodations for child care or invite their children to join, especially as schools open and close depending on public health concerns. You’ll also need to promote the event to the appropriate individuals — whether those are specific team members, Employee Resource Group leaders, or others. Also, although we’d love for everything to go well, we do realize that tech issues are part of life and will happen. Just be prepared. Is there a teammate who can run a presentation or playlist if your computer freezes? Can you email instructions ahead of time if a screenshare doesn’t work?
What does Host Events have planned for the holiday season?
Goodness, how much time do you have?! We have tons of seasonal offerings for the holidays!
We are currently booking up quickly for some of our new Fall favorites found here.
Some of our Winter Favorites are:
- Ugly sweater sipping party
- Merry martini bingo party
- Cheers to you Paint Party – wine glass decoration
- Winter wonderland – gingerbread building
- Wreath and centerpiece building workshops
- Holiday cooking and baking (Seasonal Desserts, Holiday Appetizers & Side Dishes)
Don’t see what you have in mind? Have a better idea? Host is happy to create something special just for you and your team.
How far in advance should individuals plan these experiences and why?
The majority of our events are enhanced with kits delivered to participants’ doorsteps. To ensure timely delivery, we require a three-week lead time on events with kits. However, some of our fully virtual events like Drag Queen Bingo and Trivia can be booked with a week or so notice.
Any event planning is primarily about timing, but time is even more critical in virtual events. Whereas timing for in-person meetings is about convenience, travel, and availability, virtual events planning is concerned with attention thresholds. This time of year, you don’t want to compete with other holiday plans!
What lies ahead for your organization?
We are embracing every day, every opportunity, and constantly talking to our customers to help be the best partner in bringing their communities together regardless of the current global challenges.
We have constantly iterated our offerings. One of which I am most excited about is our corporate coaching with some of the best coaches in the industry. This allows us to foster relationships with organizations in new ways and help each individual tap into their authentic selves.
We believe business coaching is an opportunity for individuals to tap into their strengths, enabling them to identify what they can do to accomplish their goals. More than 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills.
We will continue to be nimble, adaptable, and creative all while keeping our customer at the core of every decision.