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This Event Production Agency Took Virtual Happy Hour to the Next Level

TK Events engaged its remote team with a virtual mixology workshop, escape room and networking event—all housed inside the company's engaging virtual venue.

TK Events' Virtual Venue
"We wanted the venue to be a statement of our brand, while playing on the social theme and providing a feel like we were at an evening out on the town," said TK Events owner Trish Knox.
Screenshot: Courtesy of TK Events

TORONTO—If anyone understands the need to bring people together face to face, it's event producers. And that same concept applies to their own teams—even if it's virtually. A standout example comes from Toronto-based TK Events, which recently hosted its own internal, virtual team-building event complete with a mixology workshop, networking features and even an escape room.

“We know the mental health struggle through the pandemic is very real,” said TK Events owner Trish Knox. “Since June 2020, we’ve onboarded 15 new employees and we haven’t been able to meet! We thought it was important to provide a chance for us all to connect virtually in a social and relaxed setting, even though we can’t meet in person."

Knox says the team purposely selected February for the event to serve as a bright spot during a winter of strict lockdowns for the company's Canadian and U.K.-based teams. The event was hosted on TK Events' own platform—the recent winner of the 2020 BizBash Event Style Award for Best Virtual Event/Meeting Platform—which the team used to create its own branded, immersive virtual venue. "We wanted the venue to be a statement of our brand while playing on the social theme and providing a feel like we were at an evening out on the town," said Knox.

Highlights included a mixology workshop with BarChef, who walked employees through two gin recipes. (Employees, even those overseas, were mailed a physical bar kit with ingredients and snacks from local Toronto vendors.) There was also a virtual escape room challenge from The Escape Game, where 30 employees were placed in groups of five.The Escape Game's Virtual Escape RoomAfter the workshop, TK Events staffers took part in a virtual escape room hosted by The Escape Game. "They have escape rooms across the U.S., and were able to host 7-plus games at the same time," said Knox.Rendering: Courtesy of TK Events

What's more, the event marked the surprise debut of TK Events' new video chat feature—leading to a surprise and delight moment when employees realized they'd be able to connect in a new way. "The video chat feature is the next generation of chat within the venue that allows users to video call one another, but more importantly to join a group chat—where we could all see one another if we wanted to join an ad hoc group in the lounge or at the bar after the formal presentation," explained Knox. 

Ultimately, Knox wanted to treat her employees to the same type of elevated experience she'd offer to clients. "Our work is intense, the volume in the last months alone plus the deadline-driven atmosphere of events," she said. "It’s important to reward and simply make people feel like they are part of something, especially during these times. We are always the ones creating the virtual event, and this was such a fun opportunity for our team to experience an event from the attendee’s perspective."

After a year of planning virtual events, Knox said that the main thing she's learned is that "audiences are craving human connections and interaction. Probably the No. 1 question we get from clients is, 'How do we make our virtual event engaging?' We’ve been able to deliver this with suppliers such as Bar Chef and The Escape Game as an example, along with a host of other interactive and entertainment engagements." (Want to learn more about TK Events' methods? The team has been documenting their lessons learned on the company's blog here and here.)

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