There’s no denying that events have changed as a result of the pandemic, and so too have the wants and needs of both clients and attendees in the healthcare space. It’s therefore vital that we embrace these changes to ensure we continue to move our clients forward, and advance the future of medicine in the process.
So, what are the key changes, as well as trends we’re seeing in terms of the way the industry is approaching them?
A varied mix of meeting formats
Based on the briefs we’ve been receiving, and the projects we’ve been delivering in recent months, there have been a combination of formats at play.
Firstly, there’s been an immense focus on face-to-face meetings, particularly for internal events and those that are smaller in size. This represents a safe way to ease back into in-person engagements, while also addressing the needs of audience members.
Post-event feedback from a meeting our team delivered in London recently, for example, saw connecting with peers in these environments as one of the key benefits of attending.
At the same time, the majority of these events do also include some sort of virtual element for those looking to tune in remotely, especially when they have been designed for people across multiple locations.
For large-scale events such as congresses, which attract audiences in their thousands from all over the world, there’s been a trend towards completely hybrid experiences. Here engaging and educating virtual audiences is just as important, and online experiences are created specifically for them.
There’s also an inherent focus on ways to connect both audiences, so the networking value remains. This approach is not only tied to accessibility, more and more organisations are conscious of reducing the carbon footprint of their meetings too.
Top tech for engagement and connection
Live polling and Q&A technologies such as Vevox are being employed almost as standard across events. User-friendly by design, they allow for two-way interaction among both audiences, and create a television-like feel for those tuning in from afar, thanks to panning functions which showcase different content, speakers, and the physical audience.
Animated video content is another effective way to ensure the uptake of key information, regardless of how an attendee is tuning in, and we always recommend that companies make this content available for attendees to access and refer back to once the event concludes.
For events with larger remote audiences, we’re seeing a lot of creativity with tech too. These include gamification, to encourage networking in a more fun and personal way online. AR and VR are really valuable in healthcare too, as they allow industry professionals to view the make up of, for example, a product that’s currently in development, in a whole new light.
A great way to ensure virtual attendees have access to this content, is by sending the tech - which is now readily available and therefore more affordable than ever before – to their locations.
Global audiences and the power of personalisation
When delivering large-scale events for global audiences, there’s definitely been an enhanced focus on personalisation across the entire event life cycle. This means paying particular attention to pre-event communications, and crafting them in a way that enables us to shape meetings in line with audience members’ expectations, while also ensuring the experience, as well as future communications, are tailored to them.
During the event these insights are leveraged to suggest relevant sessions, provide a meaningful matchmaking service, and even bespoke catering options.
Post-event surveys and the power of analytics (from a virtual perspective) also have a big part to play here, as they allow us to uncover what it was that each attendee favoured (and didn’t enjoy so much), which can then be used to inform future meetings for them.
The healthcare industry and sustainability
As with the wider event industry, there has been an increased focus on sustainability in the healthcare space. We’re seeing it included in briefs from the outset now, which means we are able to incorporate it into event strategies from the get-go, and ensure the whole supply chain of an event is as sustainable as possible.
On the ground, aside from opting for hybrid formats, practices that are becoming more commonplace include the re-use and upcycling of sets, opting for recycled materials to create them in the first instance, and working with partners such as venues and caterers with the same approach to, and ethos around, sustainability.
Another effective approach is in the attendee communications. We’ve found sharing advice detailing how attendees can minimise their environmental impact both in the way they travel to and from a meeting, and their actions during the event go a long way. Sharing data that showcases sustainability achievements once it ends, and thanking attendees for their contributions not only empowers them, it also highlights how the event host is committed to making a difference.
While in many ways the pandemic presented the healthcare industry with several challenges, from creating more inclusive events that cater to all, to an enhanced focus on sustainability, the future is looking bright for the sector.