After spending most of the past two years working remotely and “Zooming” with both employees and clients, company outings are more relevant than ever. People have grown exhausted with pandemic restrictions and are more than ready to meet in person again, whenever that’s an option. What better avenue than to celebrate your workforce for a milestone or treat your clients to a generous dose of entertainment?
“There is no experience that replaces seeing and collaborating with your colleagues or showing a client or supplier how much they mean to your business, than by hosting an in-person event for them,” says Shawn Hernden, guest experience director of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.
Keys to success
When looking for a suitable way to entertain your guests, keep in mind they will appreciate exclusivity, luxury and quality entertainment. Consider finding an event that’s special, is offered only to guests, and one that invitees would like to post on social media. Treat them to some of the famously good food and drink iconic in the Pacific Northwest and then wow them with a one-of-a-kind performance.
Cirque du Soleil offers a uniquely intimate and entertaining performance in an unforgettable setting, says Hernden. The audience space allows colleagues to freely exchange ideas and companies to nurture and honor both existing and new clientele.
“An effective team-building event allows colleagues to have unfiltered opportunities to make meaningful connections with one another,” Hernden says. “When employees are tuned into their purpose within their team, they contribute with greater passion and rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.”
A corporate event should try to build staff morale, validate employee contributions and engage them on a personal level, says Hernden. Equally as important is closing the human connection gap between leadership and employees by staging your outing away from the office so everyone can really get to know each other.
Through Cirque du Soleil’s private spaces, corporate events are uniquely aligned to encourage deeper and more inspired interactions between employees, he says.
Finding the right support
Although planning an event can seem overwhelming, Hernden says if you find the right hosting partner, it’s much easier. He suggests finding out what arts and culture events exist in your community and see what hosting experiences they offer. Look for someone connected with those happenings who knows how to put on an event, can adjust to your needs and offer you an experience you didn’t know existed.
“Working with a planner or company that is known to take creative risks and think far beyond any box, can make for a great outing,” says Hernden. “By doing so, the recipients of the experience should have a far greater appreciation not only for one another, but for the company and its leadership. It shows they value their employees.”
Cirque du Soleil’s VIP experiences offer turnkey planning from top to bottom, allowing clients to focus less on organizing the event and more on enjoying themselves and the company of their guests.
Make the outing interactive
Nobody enjoys listening to a speaker drone on and on. Instead spice your meeting or occasion up with some audience participation.
Photo booths encourage attendees to share their experience on social media through still shots, videos or GIFs (animation). Consider food and beverage stations where individuals can interact with each other while creating a taco or watching a chef make a stir-fry. Other ideas include caricature artists who draw the guests’ portraits, scavenger hunts, trivia contests and offering a virtual reality event like river rafting.
When you arrive on site as a corporate guest at Cirque du Soleil, Hernden says, you’re fast-tracked through a private entrance and immediately drawn into the world of the big top. You have exclusive access to a playfully themed VIP Suite that features tastes, sights and sounds inspired by the show. Before making your way into the show, you have an opportunity to say “hello” and ask questions of some of the artists from the show.
To gauge guest satisfaction, walk around at intermission or when there’s a break and ask them if they’re enjoying themselves. You might also be able to tell by the look on their faces. When you return to the office environment, notice if your employees are happier and more productive. Are you gaining new clients and increasing sales?
A corporate event makes a good place to tune in to one another and, also have an engaging way to socialize. The time spent together in a new situation can be a real boost to a team, and create a lasting impression with clients.
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group reinvented circus arts to become a world leader in live entertainment, and now extends its creative approach beyond world-renowned shows to entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks and special events.