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As for the in-person component, The Aesthetic Meeting will return to Miami in April 2023, and McClemmy anticipates that on-site attendance will hit or possibly surpass a peak of 1,450 in 2019. However, she also sees a new hurdle in front of that goal — long visa wait times for international attendees. Typically, The Aesthetic Meeting has a large contingency from South America, but visitors traveling from several countries, including Brazil, have reported delays of more than 400 days for visitor visas, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
Despite the fact that the number of exhibitors participating in The Aesthetic Meeting has stayed strong — topping 1,000 in 2022, up from 972 in 2021 — their physical footprint is shrinking. “Even though the booth sizes are reduced, their hotel room blocks are the same, so whether they’re just not bringing all that freight in because of freight expenses, but are still bringing people, has yet to be determined,” McClemmy said.
McClemmy has found that attendees want to engage more deeply with their content in the past three years. “People need and want more discussion time, more involvement in the actual education as opposed to being just lectured to,” she said. That extends to the exhibition hall as well, where McClemmy and her team are giving exhibitors more flexibility for show-and-tell, like hands-on demonstrations and lunch-and-learn sessions.
“We’re allowing things to happen in the booth that maybe we weren’t so flexible on in the past so that the doctors are getting a more visual and interactive experience,” McClemmy said. “I’m all for it if it’s something that’s going to benefit both the surgeons and our exhibitors.
“Now, we’re all in a position where we’re kind of getting ‘back to normal,’ if you will,” she continued. “And it’s a time [when] we all have to kind of start feeling a little uncomfortable about how we’re running our meetings and trying things that may fail or succeed but being okay with that to address a new world and a new audience.”
Jennifer N. Dienst is senior editor at Convene.