How to Attract Attendees to Medical Meetings

How to Plan a Meeting

Employee Magnet

Once upon a time, getting doctors to attend medical meetings and conventions was easy. Posh venues, fine meals and luxe gifts worked like magnets to pull health-care practitioners away from their patients for professional education, networking and enrichment. These days, however, tried-and-true tricks no longer apply.

"Never an easy job, [planning a medical meeting] became even more complicated half a dozen years ago, when the reporting provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect," author Michael J. Shapiro writes in an article for the Northstar Meetings Group. "With more stringent rules in place, no longer could the promise of luxury resorts and outlandish meetings destinations be counted on to woo health-care practitioners … away from their practices."

If nice resorts in hot destinations can no longer be counted on, you're probably wondering what can be. According to Shapiro, the attraction is no longer the place; it's the people in it.

"More than three-quarters of physicians say they attend meetings so they can interact with global or local experts, according to The Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings Guidebook from Ashfield Meetings & Events," reports Shapiro, who says destination marketing organizations can help medical meeting professionals connect with local speakers who can lend their meeting the gravitas it needs to attract delegates. "For those planners considering relatively unfamiliar locations, many convention and visitor bureaus will be happy to put them in touch with local experts in medical fields."

Take Las Vegas, for example. "We have some areas of medicine in which we have some of the world's most renowned experts, and nobody knows they're here," Cheryl Smith, director of specialty market sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, tells Shapiro. "The world's foremost Alzheimer's research is happening right here in Las Vegas at [Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health] … Some of those doctors are among the world's leading researchers in movement disorders and Parkinson's disease."

Local medical professionals can be tapped not only as speakers, but also as attendees.

"Our local doctors love to take advantage of the continuing-education opportunities that are passing through the city," Smith tells Shapiro. "For the planner, having access to those community resources in health care is really helpful, to boost attendance or increase foot traffic through a trade show or some sort of sponsored part of the meeting. And Las Vegas isn't very spread out … Physicians can attend events or talks and get immediately back to their practices."

More Tips:

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings with your "How To" ideas.