The British Medical Laser Association Annual Conference and Educational Courses was originally planned to take place at the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. However, the in-person event was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, and with restrictions still very much in place across the country, the organising committee elected to deliver a fully virtual version of the event.
With two full days planned plus a day of educational courses, and a catalogue of guest speakers covering a broad range of topics, and the event was produced using the Venu-IQ virtual platform.
Attendees for this event in previous years have been predominantly UK based as this is a British association however by moving to a virtual platform the attendance extended to Europe, USA, South America, New Zealand, Africa and Asia. The majority of the attendees were members of the British Medical Laser Association however it also attracted a large number of non-members who have since converted to becoming members post-event. Registrations for the virtual conference commenced in January 2021 with 41% of delegates taking advantage of the Early-Bird ticket at reduced price.
#BMLA2021 was very well attended with a total of 191 delegates registered prior to the start of the event. 105 registered purely to attend the two-day conference, 63 attended both the conference and educational courses, and 23 delegates attended the educational courses day only.
The Educational Courses day kicked off with a Core of Knowledge session followed by 4 pre-recorded courses lasting 1 hour each on a range of industry related topics including hair removal, vascular lesions, ablative laser treatment and energy based devices.
The two day programme for the main conference attracted an audience from within the industry including medical practitioners, laser practitioners, nurses, medical students, therapists (beauty, aesthetics and dental), dentists and researchers. We scheduled parallel sessions as well as plenary sessions with plenty of natural breaks. Each session allowed time for Q&A between delegates and presenters.
The virtual platform enabled us to monitor the interaction of delegates for each session providing valuable resources for post event evaluation. Just under 380 questions were asked by delegates across all sessions, 764 live views during the live conference session and a further 2478 views during the 7 days following the conference, however surprisingly 21 delegates appeared never to have attended any of the elements of the conference at all. Delegates were also asked to rate the sessions they attended, and the overall average came out at 4.7 out of a maximum score of 5 for the content, the speakers and the sessions.
Within the platform, delegates were encouraged to review profiles, connect with colleagues and arrange virtual meetings outside of the conference programme to continue their conversations.
Sponsorship packages provided increased revenue by almost 20% from 2019 however no exhibitor revenue for this event as the client chose not to open up a expo area within the platform.