Cal Broker dropped in on two different virtual medicare conferences recently.Here we have a few takeaways.
First enjoy an insider Q&A with Yolanda Webb,one of the key organizers of the 2020 Virtual Senior Summit. Next, check out a recap of the California Statewide Medicare Expo.
Q&A with Yolanda Webb
Cal Broker: This year was unusual with COVID-19. For the Medicare conference, and many other events, that meant taking it virtual. Was it a big deal to make this happen?
Yolanda Webb: For the short answer, yes it was important, and I will tell why. Many of us had never undertaken such a task. So, what were the right questions to ask and would they make our event better or make it more work? It was a learning experience. So, at this point we were putting eight years of past success on the line, if we pulled the trigger and went for it. Even our younger members on the team were taken aback by the process. There was the cost of the event—was it too much money with no chance of recouping our investment? And did we know how? The team had no experience in this kind of technology, and no prior knowledge to determine whether the company we were about to use was a good one or not. But trust me when I say we were about to find out!
CB: What are some of the most important things you learned about doing a virtual conference? What were the drawbacks and were there benefits?
YW: Word of advice: never just take someone’s recommendation without getting all the facts you can on the vendor you consider. We learned that even with all our experience doing other events, we could not treat this event in the same manner. One big reality was we could not attract the same amount of sponsorship dollars as in the past. Along with that, the price of admission needed to be less, which would affect our bottom line. Yet, we had a reputation to uphold.
Yes there were benefits—mostly to the attendee’s. The cost to attend was lower and didn’t require other costs, like hotel, food, travel etc. All this factored in our decision to move forward with this event.
Finally, and I think most importantly, will the vendor be fully on board with a step-by-step method? Will someone be appointed that will take you through the process, by way of a project manager or someone you can call at any time? This must be the most important part when choosing a vendor.
CB: What were some of the most important or popular sessions in your Medicare Conference? Any takeaways that you want readers to know about?
YW: Shortly after the event we sent out a survey that helped us see what the audience liked and disliked. Overall, the attendee’s liked the agenda and were not overwhelmed with too many CE classes. Also, they liked the fact that they had 90 days (about 3 months) to go back and hear a session they may have missed, which you can’t do with a live event.
CB: What is the future of virtual conferences? Do you think you will decide to go virtual even if you can otherwise meet in person? Do you know if next year’s conference will be virtual?
YW: Honestly it’s my opinion that the virtual world is here to stay, even when we can meet in person. The need for both virtual and in person is what we are going to work from as we move into a more technology driven reality.
That said, our plan so far is for the Senior Summit to be a live event at Pechanga Resort in Temecula August 30 to Sept 2, 2021.