Covid-19 has affected many aspects of business; the way people shop, the limitations set on gatherings and in-person meetings, etc. What seems to have been hit hard were the conferences and summits that are normally scheduled during the spring and fall seasons. Many conferences and summits needed to pivot and create a way to still hold the very important events. The solution: create a virtual conference that catered to the needs of so many, including networking opportunities, continuing education in your field, professional speakers…the list goes on.
“One of the significant reasons that we felt that Heat would be valuable was to help shift the mindset of the industry from survival to growth. We wanted to create the spark to reunite the industry.”Evan Hackel, Founder of H.E.A.T., CEO Tortal Training & Ingage Consulting
“We felt that that after 6 months of being removed from each other and our closely connected community, the franchise family needed a way to re-connect, re-energize and re-ignite. Our solution was to create the H.E.A.T. Franchise Summit, an interactive virtual event using a cutting-edge platform.”Katrina Mitchell, Founder of H.E.A.T., Founder and Chief Match Maker, Speak!
Top Takeaways from H.E.A.T. Franchise Summit
Our Hot Dish team was proud to be a founding sponsor for the H.E.A.T. Franchise Summit, and had the opportunity to attend the event, what a success it was. If you have been cautious on attending a virtual conference this season, we suggest taking the plunge and signing up. Some key highlights our team loved about the online experience were:
- No travel hassle – All participants needed was internet access and a comfy chair! The usual hassle of flights and hotel was eliminated. With the saving on hotel/venue costs, this allowed H.E.A.T. to re-invest in the programming of the summit – which was top-notch.
- User-friendly platform – H.E.A.T. used Hop.In as their digital event platform, and it was very user friendly. With the new norm being Zoom meetings, the H.E.A.T. team wanted this experience to feel more interactive than 200 participants sitting on Zoom. The capabilities of the platform were incredible.
- Live chat room during all presentations, which allowed anyone participating to ask real-time questions.
- Exhibit hall rooms where attendees could interact with sponsors of the event, other franchisors or franchisees and professional speakers.
- Breakout sessions where attendees could break out into smaller groups to discuss hot topics of the day.
- Speaker line-up – After leaving the event each day, participants felt re-ignited and fired up to go back to work. The number of amazing speakers and presenters was impressive. There was something for everyone – tracks specific for franchisee-focused topics and franchisor topics, with many professional speakers throughout each day. The sessions were also centered around the current market conditions we are in, and focused on how to re-ignite your business during these uncertain times.
- Flexible schedule – What was even more exciting was when participants were notified that the sessions would be saved in a library to access all recordings after the event ended. With this conference being virtual, attendees could hop in and out of sessions, but still have access to ALL sessions – we see that as a win-win!
Networking in a Virtual World
There was a great response around the virtual networking sessions in the mornings. Participants had a couple of minutes to speak with another participant who randomly entered the chat session – think of it like networking speed dating. This was a great way to see not only who was attending the event, but to chat with others in the industry and “catch up.” Apart from the networking sessions, there was the live chat constantly being used by all participants. This is where the real action took place – comments, shout-outs, kudos, questions, etc. It truly made it feel like you were sitting in a hotel ballroom with the other 200 participants listening to the same speaker present.
Hot Dish Team Presents
There were so many incredible speakers throughout the 3-dayevent. Hot Dish Advertising had two of our very own Dishers present. Jennifer Campbell, President, presented on Franchise Sales: Now and in the Future, specifically touching on lead flow and where companies can find qualified leads. During this session, Jen was accompanied by Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s Cheryl Fletcher, Senior Vice President of Franchise Development, Boelfy’s CEO, Mike Rozman, and FranConnect’s Sales Director, Bart Van Dessel. Natalie Rush, Director of Digital at Hot Dish, presented on Marketing in the New World and how to maximize your online experience. During this session, the panel of franchise brands discussed major touchpoints that have had impact on their customers’ online experiences and how their online strategies have pivoted due to the pandemic. Natalie was accompanied by Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade’s CEO, Tim Weirderhoft, Sola Salon Studios’ Director of Local Marketing, Megan Stresing, and Pet Supplies Plus’ Senior Vice President of Marketing, Adam Vincentini. Both sessions included actionable tips and best practices by industry pros that attendees could implement right away.
The pandemic has caused large in-person gatherings to no longer take place, but our industry has pivoted and successfully created new alternatives to meet virtually. If you have been skeptical about virtual conferences, we hope sharing our experience at the H.E.A.T. Franchise Summit changed your mind.
Want to hear more about the event or set up a virtual event of your own? Let’s chat.