The digital convention revolution is just beginning!

Health crisis or not, doctors have continued to train and share the latest scientific advances, face-to-face and remotely. Since 2020, congresses have been adapting extremely rapidly to these new habits... Drawing on its experience with learned societies, Colloquium is following this trend, and today shares the results of a year of virtual congresses, as well as the first trends for hybrid congresses in 2021.


What the first virtual congresses taught us

The first finding of our surveys* is that, while participants welcome the return of face-to-face congresses, a large majority hope to continue to benefit from a digital version (47% expect a hybrid congress, 13% a totally virtual congress). 90% of those in favor of the hybrid approach are in favor of access to on-demand content, and 64% hope that this formula will enable more people to be trained. For those in favor of 100% virtual, the criteria of saving time (65%) and money (50%) were the most important.

In fact, if we talk about money, the conventions that held a virtual version (excluding those penalized by cancellation fees) managed to maintain 70 to 80% of their financial results. The preamble to this is, of course, that registration for even a virtual convention must be paid for. Our customers have generally chosen to apply a virtual registration rate of 75% of the face-to-face rate, and their congresses have maintained registration levels of between 50% and 70%. The support of our sponsors has also helped associations get through the difficult year of 2020. And in the end, the associations that won were those that maintained a paying virtual event in a period when the physical event was not possible.

* excluding cancellation fees

As for the consumption of video content during and after virtual congresses*, between 35 and 55% of participants only connect to the congress for one day. The rest of their "consumption" takes the form of replay. On average, just under half of attendees watch replay sessions (and 6% of them only watch replay). The profile of content viewed live and on replay is very different. For example, 90% of official sessions are viewed live. The content favored for replays is highly oriented towards day-to-day practices, such as workshops, reports or recommendations, a third of which are viewed on replay. Another interesting point is that a quarter of industry symposia are viewed on replay.

* Analysis based on attendance statistics for virtual conferences organized by Colloquium and the results of satisfaction questionnaires sent to participants at virtual conferences held between September 2020 and March 2021 (1,079 respondents).

What to expect from hybrid conventions in 2021

"Hybrid congresses are taking many different forms, and that's quite a surprise! We're seeing a real renewal in the formats that congresses are set to take in 2021. The trend (which we fully endorse!) is not to copy and paste face-to-face events into digital formats and turn them into hybrids, but rather to use digital to enrich the content on offer and facilitate access to secondary target audiences. Each of our customers creates their own "hybrid" conference recipe. In the end, digital brings themagility in the realization of their ideas, and a new freedom.

Of course, certain fears persist! A hybrid congress is expensive, the digital version risks undressing the face-to-face version of my congress etc... Yes, but on the other hand, initiating a digital version is also the assurance that a congress will be able to take place whatever the health situation at the end of the year. If we extrapolate a little, and consider the soaring price of cancellation insurance in the event industry, equipping your congress with a digital version may be a "reasonable" investment. In any case...the demand is there. Not only among delegates, but also among sponsors. Like many others, we're convinced that data collection will be the key issue of the next few years, and that this will necessarily involve massively digitized formats".

Elvire De Chalus

Elvire de Chalus, DG Colloquium

Viewr, Colloquium's agile digital solution

Designed by our teams during the first containment, Viewr is a digital platform that enables associations to broadcast their video productions (virtual congresses, webinars, etc.) all year round, live or on replay.

The added value? Offer content at any time, enabling doctors who are heavily mobilized during this period to keep up to date with the latest developments in their field, without having to leave their homes or practices.

Viewr logos

Elvire De Chalus

Executive Director

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