The Return to In-Person Conferences at CHR

The return to in-person conferences has been eagerly anticipated by many CHR consultants. With our new travel system being launched in February, the team were set up, ready and raring to attend many a conference throughout the coming months. It had been two years since Team CHR had been able to travel to meetings and conventions, and with many new starters joining the team, it was an exciting prospect not just for the new joiners but also for those who had been prevented from travelling for so long.

We reached out to two of our team members to find out how they felt heading out into the conference world. Oliver Hemmings, Associate Consultant, joined CHR in February 2021; a year into his role, he attended his first in-person conference in New Orleans, LA in February 2022:

“We arrived a day before the conference started, and took the time to thoroughly plan our activities, including attending individual sessions, reviewing posters, visiting exhibitor booths, interviewing KOLs and debriefing with clients. It was great travelling with my colleague, Simon Vanstone, Senior Consultant, who had assisted me in in-depth discussions with multiple attendees who are treating and developing new treatments for patients, and together we were able to glean some really interesting insights for our clients! Even on the busier days, the upfront planning and efficient use of our time, meant debriefs were sent in the evening, with ample time for us to go and enjoy some of New Orleans’ excellent restaurants.

Overall, the whole experience was great, providing an opportunity to discuss the dynamics and developments in our therapeutic area with key opinion leaders and fully immerse myself in the space for a few days, learning a lot, and providing important new information for our client. Prior to attendance I was quite apprehensive, but by Day Two, after I had found my feet, I was able to thoroughly enjoy my time. I recommend conference attendance to anyone with the opportunity, as I was able to really see the value, we as a company add to clients, and I now see this as an integral part of our role.”

Jessica Elmer, also an Associate Consultant, joined CHR in March 2021 and attended her first in-person conference recently:

“Having covered several virtual conferences, it was great to go to my first in-person meeting in San Francisco which was uncharacteristically sunny during the 5-day trip. I arrived one day before the conference began and used the time to prepare for specific sessions based on the abstracts which had been released a couple of days earlier. I also planned which posters and exhibitor booths to visit.

My colleague, Simon Vanstone joined me from New Orleans and gave me some tips and tricks for optimising discussions with different stakeholders; one of the most valuable pieces of advice was to always be in the ‘listen and learn’ mode and I managed to get some fascinating perspectives during my lunch! With so many clinical trial readouts, our client really appreciated the on-the-ground angle and insights into KOL perceptions, highlighting the added value of in-person conference attendance.

Overall, I found the in-person conference coverage highly engaging - there was a palpable “buzz” in the conference centre, and it was a great experience to talk to KOLs immediately after big trial readouts, with the additional benefit of being able to explore a different city!”

Travel bookings are non-stop for CHR now, and the team look forward to covering more conferences in-person for our clients.