Virtual connections: how conferences are migrating online in the wake of COVID-19

Conference research rationale

Sharing medical knowledge has never been more crucial than in our post-COVID world. The terrible irony is that the pandemic itself has disrupted the healthcare conferences that would enable a global exchange of ideas.

Membership bodies and scholarly societies have had to adapt rapidly in the face of social distancing and travel restrictions, such as by migrating conferences online to replicate face-to-face engagement with digital tools. Decisions around structure, features and pricing have had to be made with very little data on what’s possible, what others are doing, and how much conference delegates expect.

Engagement events at a distance

To help all conference-hosting organisations, not only in medical fields, make strategic decisions about future events, we conducted an in-depth, online study of 90 UK, European and International conferences within the healthcare sector. We found that:

  • Over a third of conferences had gone online, while another third were delayed or postponed.
  • Conference organisers are adopting varied approaches, from fixed webinar schedules to more innovative functionality.
  • Online attendance fees are generally lower, but the reduction depends on the offer – and it still pays to be a member!

For more findings, including pricing case studies and an overview of virtual conferencing technical options, click to download our free conference research report PDF.

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