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How the Culinary Institute of America served up a delicious five-week events series on Hopin

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About The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America®(CIA) is the world’s premiere culinary college, and the preeminent source of thought leadership for the $860 billion dollar foodservice industry. For its Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit in April 2020, the CIA researched and scheduled demos for several weeks with various platforms, and then learned about Hopin in a Wired magazine article.

Challenge

The Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit needed to be converted to an online format quickly.

After scheduling a demo, we quickly realized that Hopin offered a broad variety of features that were far above any other platform we had seen.

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Christina Adamson
Senior Director of Operations & Finance, Strategic Initiatives

Solution

  • The summit offered a weekly series of virtual events for 2 ½ hours each on Wednesday for five weeks. To create variety on the stage and showcase its culinary talent, the CIA transitioned between live and pre-recorded content of chef demonstrations, virtualizing their webcam using Ecamm Live and Loopback.

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  • This was a highlight of the attendee experience to view culinary demonstrations from chefs around the world bringing their kitchens to the screen, along with some live dialog and Q&A with the chef on stage.

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  • Transitioning from PowerPoint presentations to panel discussions to recorded or live culinary demonstrations kept the audience more engaged than a typical webinar with the varied content driving up interest and engagement. The attendees enjoyed answering polls and interacting with each other as well as posing questions in the chat.

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    In place of its in-person hands-on cooking breakouts, the CIA hosted its first virtual cook along where attendees could choose between two versions of Shakshuka and prepare this recipe in their kitchens alongside chefs.

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Results

The event had approximately 500 invited industry attendees in the live event each week. "The in-person summit had a maximum of 300 so we were pleased with the expanded reach of the virtual platform," said Adamson. The content was distributed off-platform using Livestream and received over 30,000 views.

Adamson shared that one sponsor was very skeptical of a virtual summit in the beginning — at the end of the five-week series, the sponsor commented:

Kudos to you all! This Hopin/virtual thing has been a success from where I sit...literally and figuratively. Very easy to navigate, intuitive. What more do you need than access to presentations, sponsor ‘booths’, other attendees to chat, breakouts....and best of all, ‘virtual tastings’, i.e., an opportunity to identify and follow-up with prospects. We have already identified and followed up with more prospects than we EVER have at ANY conference. Again, VERY well done! Thank you to you and your team!”

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Attendee comments included:

“I have been so impressed with this conference and the way it is organized."
This is the first time I have done the networking and I am a bit disappointed I haven't done it earlier."
"This virtual conference feels so substantial."
"The connection opportunities are awesome!!”
"This is such a great event! It is a virtual summit; but it is set up in a way that it feels like you are there with others. You have found a way to make it so inclusive and have found a way for attendees to connect as you would at an in-person event. Kudos to the organizers and thank you to the sponsors for making this accessible to so many in such a wide array of industry facets.”

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