After organising the first digital congresses this year, we have received some feedback we would like to share. After each of our online conferences, we conducted a survey with the participants to gather their feedback. We were particularly interested in the experience from the delegate’s perspective. As digital meetings and webinars began to replace physical events, participants were thrown into a new way of learning and networking, but how happy were they with the overall experience?
Congrex conducted survey results
According to three surveys of medical scientific conferences organised by Congrex this year, on average 88% of the participants were happy with the overall virtual experience. We also asked them what conference format they would prefer in the future: Twenty per cent answered that they would prefer a fully digital conference. Fifty-six per cent favoured a hybrid meeting and twenty-four per cent would like to go back to fully live events without a digital counterpart.
Delegates said that they experienced a reduction of personal stress and also mentioned the time saved because of the virtual format. Missed sessions can be watched on-demand and they did not need to hurry from one session room to another. They also saved a considerable amount of time not having to travel to the venue. Moreover, don’t forget that anyone’s attention span is limited. Sometimes participants need to watch a session two or three times to absorb all the important information. This is also beneficial for HCP’s with shift work that can sometimes make it difficult to attend a conference in person. Through the online format, they could plan their agenda while still being able to work. Of course, online events are dependent on the personal IT infrastructure of the participant. A good, reliable internet connection is essential, along with a decent-sized screen.
We believe that the digital component of an event will continue to be an important part of scientific and medical association conferences in a post-coronavirus world. However, as the feedback has shown, for a significant number of people it will never completely replace the experience of a live event.