Virtual meetings won’t ever replace gathering face to face, but they certainly aren’t going away either—and that reality prompted much discussion among pharmaceutical meeting professionals at the Ninth Annual Pharma Forum, co-sponsored by Medical Meetings and The Center for Business Intelligence in March.

A meeting manager from a major pharmaceutical company said at one general session that her division had turned 75 percent of its face-to-face meetings into virtual meetings to reduce costs and produce efficiencies. This was certainly not the norm as others on the panel and in the audience said their companies were not significantly replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual. In fact, one audience member said her company did just the opposite—reverted some virtual meetings back to face-to-face because they didn’t deliver enough return on investment for attendees. The panel discussion represented just one of many conversations throughout the conference, held March 19–22 at the Marriott Orlando World Center, on this hot topic.