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It has been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the mass movement from physical office to working from home. The change was swift. All of a sudden, lunchtime gatherings, happy hours, team building activities, training and meetings were zapped away and replaced with remote work arrangements. But a whole year later, virtual meetings and remote work has proved its staying power.

The shift has spurred home vacation rental marketplace, Airbnb, to introduce a creative new offering – virtual Airbnb experiences. Since its launch in 2020 in the middle of the global pandemic, Airbnb now has over 400 different experiences to choose from.

While technology has kept staff connected virtually, working remotely means team leaders have difficulty keeping tabs on employee wellbeing and morale. Social distancing doesn’t have to be reason why employees can’t have some fun together. Booking a virtual Airbnb experience will give your employees the opportunity to enjoy some quality group down time which is a great morale booster and confidence builder.

After all, people who are happy at work are more productive. Shared events are meaningful in building a sense of common identity and strengthening social bonds.

Here are 8 types of virtual Airbnb experiences that can be great team building activities. If you are booking for your company or team, you can opt for a group booking. Most listings accommodate private corporate team events that are customisable to your needs and time slots.

1. Cooking

Working from home has allowed people to spend more time indoors with family and friends. One of the comforts of home is good food. Virtual Airbnb experiences has a vast choice of cooking experiences to choose from. Cooking pasta with Italian Grandmas could be a wholesome experience for your team, especially for those apart from family during this time. What’s not to love about listening to grandma’s culinary secrets and enjoying a hearty plate of pasta after?

virtual airbnb experiences
Cooking lesson from the comfort of home

Cooking experiences are also a great way for employees to learn about different world cuisines. In a multicultural workplace setting, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about each other’s culture and food. Besides, just imagine all the fun and laughs your employees can have cooking together – from possible kitchen mishaps to sharing the same meal.

Virtual Airbnb experiences presents a vast variety to choose from, such as this Spanish paella recipe by a top chef, authentic Thai cooking lesson with a garden tour or learning to cook some flavourful Indian food. For people with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets, most experiences are also customisable to suit dietary needs.

2. Mixology

Happy hour work buddies, rejoice! Virtual Airbnb experiences brings you some original and fun substitute for after work drinks with your colleagues. This is a great option for team managers to consider for employees to visibly relax and enjoy each other socially. Part of the fun is creating their own concoctions and enjoying it among close-knit company.

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After work happy hour from home

The possibilities are endless at this 4-hour long Tequila Madness Interactive Workshop which teaches you mixology skills and how to craft tequila cocktails. If you are looking for something shorter, GINspiration shows participants how to turn some simple ingredients into tasty drinks. What we especially like about this one –extra points for the best Going Out Outfit, jokes and drinking games. For more diverse group preferences, you may want to opt for this cocktail mixology class that is bound to have something for everyone.

The full list of ingredients and tools you need are listed out for all classes – most of which you probably have at home. You don’t need a bartender kit to participate. The idea is to let your hair down and enjoy some tipsy camaraderie with your colleagues.   

3. Game night

If spending time in the kitchen isn’t the ideal break for your team, some light-hearted game night fun is sure to be a hit! This virtual Haunted Mansion Escape Room based in Surabaya, Indonesia will have your team working together in groups of six to uncover the secrets of an old house. It is a brain-stimulating activity that involves a number of interactive puzzles. What makes this even more fun – a maximum of 30 can take part so different teams within your company can pitch their wits against each other. 

puzzle solving
Solving interactive virtual puzzles

This Escape Room in Italy also engages teams similarly while giving participants the opportunity to discover history. You can choose between The Medici Family or the Homer’s Odyssey escape rooms for an immersive story experience.

If you are on the lookout for a company-wide activity, this living room scavenger hunt can accommodate up to a 1000 participants. Some companies that have enjoyed this activity include Goldman Sachs, Google, Facebook and Netflix. Employees can have fun while being creative and stand a chance to win virtual prizes.

4. Virtual tour

Travel restrictions have eased around essential business and official travel. However, travelling with colleagues for team building is not yet possible. While the world waits for tourism to recover, virtual Airbnb experiences offers the next best thing.

Treat your employees to a virtual tour offered by Airbnb. Explore Jaipur, the Royal City of India and enjoy interactive storytelling about 16th century palaces and forts. You can also spend a day in Paris learning unusual facts about the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and the renovation plans for Notre Dame. There is the fun of visiting a French market and great tips for preparing a French picnic.

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Visit and learn about Paris virtually

Browse through Airbnb to find rewarding experiences for your whole team to enjoy, or select more than one if your company budget allows it. The memory of such a special shared experience for your employees will last months, if not years.

5. Murder-mystery tour

Murder-mystery tours are perfect for themed company celebrations or as a substitute for Halloween parties. Your team can get together for some spooky fun while learning about each other – and themselves!

This virtual trip to Edinburgh with a professional tour guide gives participants the opportunity to learn about the city’s grizzly past with ghosts, murders and monsters. It combines a virtual tour with elements of game to keep employees engaged and interested. Players will be visiting five of the city’s different areas as the game progresses through different levels – with jump scenes and horrible themes at every turn. To add to the experience, the host, David, encourages participants to put on a Halloween costume and join in with the lights off.

Jack the Ripper-East London in 1888 tour is another one for horror fans that includes graphic imagery and details. Retrace the steps of the killer with your colleagues and discuss the identity of the killer himself.  These macabre options may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they sure make for unique experiences and conversation starters post-event.

6. Arts and hobbies

The lockdown has certainly led many people to take up a new hobby or home activity. Acquiring house plants is one way people have coped with staying at home more. What is more soothing that the sight of some greens and breathing in some fresh oxygen? Gift your employees with the basics of plant propagation or plant care to encourage a healthier work from home environment. Not only are there external benefits from indoor house plants, but your employees may just discover a new passion.

house plant
Learn about basic plant care with your team

 Alternatively, this Barcelona espadrilles workshop is an exciting choice that also includes a tangible reward for you and your employees. Join in to the virtual workshop and design your very own pair of shoes while learning about the handmade tradition. This workshop may be better suited for female employees, but who is to say male employees won’t have a good time designing for their loved ones? At the end of it, your creation will be shipped to your home via FedEx at no extra cost. This workshop is priced higher than others but does come with a physical gift at the end of it.

There are many other virtual Airbnb experiences to choose from for inventive and artsy people. Choose one that best suits your employees and get their creative juices flowing.

7. Dance

It’s now 2021, and if your team has done nothing together for a whole year other than video meetings from their desks, then it’s time to consider some team physical activity (done virtually, of course).

Interest in Korean entertainment has spiked during the lockdown. There’s no better time to get dressed in comfy clothing and learn some K-pop dance routines from South Korea. It’s a great way to get employees out of sedentary routine and have some laughs along the way.

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Get your dancing shoes on for a group home workout

Since the pandemic has also made attending festivals and events impossible, you can recreate the experience for your employees virtually. Join in this backstage carnival live experience in Rio, Brazil. The Rio de Janeiro Carnaval is the world’s greatest carnival so imagine being able to go behind-the-scenes and see all the colourful costumes and giant floats being prepared. The laughter begins when everyone is taught how to play the Brazilian drums using a frying pan in their home – your company will never be the same after such a great team bonding experience!

8. Meditation

The well-being of your employees is of paramount importance, especially at such a challenging time. Give your team the chance to learn beneficial meditation techniques virtually from a Japanese Buddhist monk. Kuniatsu teaches the importance of meditation and teaches chanting mantra and breathing-out meditation. His meditation experience can be booked for a private group of up to 30 people.

If your staff are music lovers, they will appreciate this piano meditation concert with beautiful music of Bach, Mozart and others and guided in short mindfulness meditation by pianist Beate from her home in Paris.

woman meditation
Meditation can be beneficial for employees well-being

One hybrid alternative is this Forest Bathe in Kyoto’s Sacred Mountain combines meditation with a virtual tour of shrines. This spiritual experience will allow participants to witness and learn about traditional Shinto rituals. It has also been highly-rated by therapists and groups from companies like Amazon, Facebook, Airbnb and Google.

We are on the brink of travel recovery and return of social events as vaccinations roll out. In the meantime, virtual Airbnb experiences offer an innovative and cost-effective way for company team-building events. You are sure to find one or more that fits your needs.

Looking a business travel solution that keep employees safe and saves costs? TruTrip has just the solution you need. Get in touch or book a demo with us, we’ll be happy to show you around. 

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