Virtual Happy Hours: The Key to Engaging New Customers during COVID-19

Current social distancing regulations and health precautions can make it feel like you’re navigating a never-ending obstacle course. You’ve probably had to get creative to keep serving customers while your physical doors may be closed.

It doesn’t look like these challenges are going away anytime soon, either. The silver lining? People miss your business and they’re eager for a way to stay connected. Since bars and restaurants have closed, many people have lost their primary place to interact with co-workers, friends, and family. Like you, they’ve also had to get creative to stay engaged without their regular in-person hangouts.

One solution that’s gained popularity is virtual happy hours.

Who’s Getting on Board with Virtual Happy Hours

Virtual happy hours are simply happy hours that take place over a video chatting platform. Unlike traditional happy hours, they aren’t tied to a specific time of day or lower drink prices. They’re about enjoying the connection and community atmosphere that happy hours provide.

People typically log on and video chat with friends or colleagues while enjoying a beverage. Sometimes they coordinate drinks so that everyone is enjoying the same beverage at the same time. Other times, people simply drink whatever they have on hand.

Virtual happy hours aren’t limited to groups of friends organizing get-togethers, either. Companies have also gotten involved. Some businesses have initiated a company-wide virtual happy hour to keep all their employees connected.

A team from online retailer Zappos celebrates a weekly virtual happy hour. The team consists of one-hundred people, and about sixty of them show up on Amazon Chime every week to hang out. A Washington D.C.-based team at OneDigital (a health and benefits provider) also meets regularly for voluntary virtual happy hours and lunches.

If social media buzz and local news pieces are any indication, smaller local companies and groups of employees around the country are also following suit.

Tapping into the Virtual Happy Hour Trend

As a bar or restaurant owner, you have the unique opportunity to tap into this exploding trend. People miss enjoying your signature cocktails, local beers, and spirits and hanging out in your establishment. Why not adapt and take your drink menu online to give them a modified version of what they want? The process is easier than you might think:

  1. Set up a to-go menu of all your signature drinks and beverages. People can see what you have to offer and order their favorite drinks to go from your bar or restaurant.
  2. Search for virtual happy hours in your area. Reach out to local companies to see if they’re hosting virtual happy hours with their employees. Peruse Facebook, Nextdoor, and other social media platforms to look for groups in your area participating in regular virtual happy hours.
  3. Once you have a list of upcoming virtual happy hours, get in touch with the organizers. Let them know that you’d love your drinks to be featured in their happy hour, and consider throwing in a special promo to peak their interest.

If you can’t find any events in your area, consider hosting one yourself: invite your patrons and their friends to a daily or weekly online happy hour and throw in an extra discount for the first 10 people who join.

Join the Trend & Start Bringing in New Business

It is possible to become a go-to spot in the Coronavirus era and it helps to market to people who order drinks for virtual happy hours.

To move your beverage offerings online, start by listing your drink menu on the TapHunter app so people in your area can easily access, select, and buy your drinks for their next virtual happy hour. Take advantage of our totally-free, 60-day TapHunter advertising package and begin building a whole new customer base completely online. Cheers to that!

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