After hunkering at home for the past two years, event attendees crave fun and engaging experiences more than ever. And with in-person events making a comeback and virtual and hybrid events here to stay, event planners must find ways to encourage attendance and ensure the event attendees feel their time invested was well spent. 

Consider these 13 conference entertainment ideas to keep guests engaged and send them home happy.

13 fun and creative event entertainment ideas

Gain inspiration from these event entertainment options.

1. Live band

Book a live band for your next corporate event. To get guests on the dance floor, look for a band that plays covers of popular or classic songs. We recommend looking for local entertainers. Bonus: Ask the band to write a quick song about your company that mentions a few people by name; the crowd will go wild. 

2. Magician/hypnotist

Blow guests’ minds by hiring a magician or hypnotist. They can perform a live show on stage that’s broadcast virtually to remote attendees. Or, for a more intimate option, have the magician go table to table (or video breakout room to video breakout room) to wow event attendees.

3. Augmented reality

Unite in-person and virtual guests with an augmented reality (AR) experience. Look into apps that allow you to create AR scavenger hunts people can participate in no matter their location. It’s like Pokemon Go for the corporate world. 

4. Virtual reality

Business people using virtual reality goggles during conference

Just because the event budget didn’t allow for a beach venue doesn’t mean you can’t take attendees to the ocean. Whisk your guests away with a virtual reality (VR) headset. Allow attendees to take turns playing VR games, or incorporate VR into your presentations by including 360-degree video and interactive data visualizations. 

Let the latest event technology trends inspire your corporate event entertainment ideas.

5. Karaoke

Break the ice at your next event with this conference entertainment idea – karaoke! Your guests might stick around longer waiting for their big drop-the mic-moments. From hip-hop rhymes to power ballads, event karaoke is (in the words of Tina Turner) “simply the best.”

6. Aerialist/circus performance

Looking for unique conference entertainment ideas to delight attendees? Take your event entertainment to new heights with an aerialist performance, or other circus acts like fire breathing or miming. Pair it with an event hashtag, and you’ll be sure to get some brand mentions on social media.

7. Rock climbing wall

Young woman climbing rock wall

Get event attendees’ blood pumping with a rock climbing wall. Event planners often include movement breaks to ensure attendees don’t become tired, bored, and disengaged. A rock climbing wall propels events to the next level.

8. Craft beer or wine tasting

Partner with a local brewery or winery to offer flights and sampling to your guests. Pair them with tasty vittles to elevate the experience. Hire a sommelier or cicerone to educate your attendees as they imbibe.

9. Photo/video booth 

Let guests capture lasting memories of your event with a photo or video booth. A browser-based photo booth like Snapbar makes it easy to include virtual guests in the fun. Create custom backgrounds, and display the photos on the event’s Social Wall or as a Photo Mosaic.

10. Comedian

Nothing helps break the ice and provide comic relief between event sessions quite like a comedian. Fill them in on some office knowledge so they can write relatable jokes that will keep your guests engaged and laughing. 

11. Puppy break

Photo of joyful woman holding two puppies and smiling in front of pink wall

Delight event attendees with a space where they can snuggle puppies. Local shelters and rescues will often bring puppies to your event for a donation to their programming. Instant stress relief with a hint of dopamine: check.

12. Live artist

Bring a caricature artist to sketch portraits that will remind guests of your event long after it’s over. Another trend is hiring a painter to create portraits of what’s happening right in front of them. Guests love watching this, and the finished works of art can be displayed in your office.

13. Giant idea wall

Encourage participation with giant idea walls. Whether for polls or brainstorming, give guests sticky notes and markers to share their ideas and place them on the wall. With polling, chats, and social walls, it’s easy to include remote attendees.

Tips for developing creative conference entertainment ideas

Ready to implement some of the conference entertainment ideas above? Follow these tips for event planning success.

Budget for entertainment

In addition to staffing, speaker fees, and venue cost, you must add a line item to your event budget for entertainment. The entertainment ideas listed in this article run the gamut in terms of pricing. Get multiple quotes, and for tight budgets, consider cost-saving measures. For example, when looking for a musician or live artist, you might find a local artist whose pricing may be lower than that of a national entertainer.

Make sure to find out what’s included in your entertainer’s fee and if you need any supporting elements. For example, will your comedian bring a sound system or do you need to rent one? Or for a photo booth, perhaps you want to customize the props to match your company or event brand.

Use our ultimate event planning checklist so you don’t miss a single detail.

Know your audience

Consider the following when evaluating entertainment options. 

Demographics: Think about your guests’ demographics when planning event entertainment. If you have an older audience, they may appreciate a fine wine tasting or a band that plays classics. Catering to a younger crowd? Perhaps the rock climbing wall will be more of a hit. 

Attendee count: Your entertainment depends largely on guest count. Interactive activities lend themselves better to smaller groups, whereas large performances entertain a crowd. Using self-guided entertainment options like a photo booth? You might need a couple to ensure guests get to enjoy it without too long of a wait. Or go with an app like Snapbar. 

Venue: Think about the space needed for various entertainment activities. If you hire a band, you’ll want space for a dance floor as well. An aerialist performance requires a high ceiling. For intimate and smaller settings, a single performer, like a comedian, might be your best bet. 

Hot tip: Take the guesswork out of event planning. A pre-event survey allows you to ask your guests their entertainment preferences. 

Engage virtually 

Don’t forget a virtual component when planning event entertainment. Live stream event performances so guests can enjoy from wherever they are. Create a virtual photo booth that uses the same backgrounds as the one at your in-person event. Using a giant idea wall in person? Let virtual attendees share their ideas on a social wall. 

Set the stage for better events

An end-to-end event management platform like Webex Events helps you manage all the details of event planning from registration and branding to bridging the gap between in-person and remote attendees with tools like native chat, polling, gamification, and video breakout rooms. 

Request a free demo today to see how Webex Events can help you plan and manage seamless events, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid. 

Caitlin Barrett
Caitlin Barrett

Caitlin is a Content Marketing manager at Webex Events (formerly Socio). As a copywriter turned graphic designer turned content marketer, she loves combining engaging content and good design to create best-in-class experiences for brands and their customers.