Independent optician association opens its eyes to the power of virtual events thanks to VenuIQ

Leading independent optician association, SightCare, has celebrated the successful conclusion of its first virtual conference, after enlisting the help of award-winning events software provider, VenuIQ.

The annual two-day flagship conference, which took place 28 February – 1 March 2021, was switched to a virtual format as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions and, with the support of VenuIQ, provided attendees with a fully immersive experience.

The virtual event enabled over 600 like-minded independent opticians and trade suppliers to come together to network, exchange ideas and strengthen ties within the sector.

With all content, sponsors and keynotes available online, delegates could personalise their agendas, connect with other attendees and get involved with discussions via an online chat function. A ‘Lockdown Heroes’ page was also implemented to champion SightCare members who went above and beyond during the height of the pandemic.

John French, CEO of SightCare, said: “The pandemic has created a variety of challenges for SightCare. We spent the majority of last year unsure as to whether our annual conference would go ahead and, as we got closer to 28th February, we realised it was not going to be possible to hold it in person in any capacity, so we decided to take it virtual.

“Running a virtual event for the first time felt like a risk, but we were delighted with how it went. The technical support we received from VenuIQ was outstanding and the team were always on hand, both prior to and during the event, to handle any issues our delegates had.

“The feedback we have received from attendees has been very positive, and the turnout and engagement was far more than we expected.  The conference has opened our eyes to the possibility of having a virtual element to our events going forward, even when we can meet with our delegates in person.”

Oliver Rowe, co-founder of VenuIQ, said: “The challenge faced by event organisers is providing a virtual event that is still engaging for speakers and attendees, whilst also being beneficial for sponsors.

“This was one of the main things SightCare wanted to maintain throughout the virtual conference, and we were able to do just that by providing a variety of content streams for delegates, as well as the opportunity to network, as this is a big element of the in-person event. We are really pleased that the event was such a success, and that delegates benefitted from the experience.”

Headquartered in the West Midlands, VenuIQ offers businesses an easy-to-use platform that enables them to build and publish their own branded native apps and web portals from a browser for events, with features such as tracking, polls, Q&As and event registrations integrated to create an immersive virtual event experience.  

The company boasts a wealth of experience in implementing and developing new technology to allow businesses to offer a greater event experience and has helped hundreds of organisations ‘pivot’ their events online since the outbreak of COVID-19.