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Case study: The Saudi Law Conference 2021 – Virtual Edition

The Specialist – ExiCon International Group organized The Saudi Law Conference virtually for the first time in June 2021. The event was so successful that the PCO is planning to use a hybrid format next year. Here’s how they did it...

The third Saudi Law Conference (SLC) took place across five days from 6-10 June 2021. The event is an initiative by Burhan Almarifa, a Saudi house of expertise that specializes in consultancy and training initiatives with the aim of elevating the legal profession in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

SLC is executed by the Specialist – ExiCon International Group, a PCO offering a comprehensive range of event management services for conferences, forums, exhibitions, congresses, virtual and hybrid events.

Since launching in 2018, under the theme of “Reinforcing a Sustainable & Inclusive Business Environment”, the SLC has been a platform that connects the legal community including local and international public officials, in-house councils, heads of law firms, lawyers, CEOs, business owners and their consultants, compliance department staff, bankers, investors, investment firms and funds and entrepreneurs.

More than 900 people flocked to the first edition in 2018. By 2019, the event attracted 1,166 attendees from 16 countries, 73 speakers, and 35 exhibitors.

SLC 2021 Overview

Due to the precautionary and preventive measures imposed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in terms of limiting event attendee numbers and international travel restrictions in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the conference was organized virtually.

Through the 3D virtual event management platform managed by Specialist - ExiCon, the conference aimed to provide attendees, speakers, and exhibitors with a unique 3D and visually appealing virtual event experience.

The lobby in the virtual platform

From the comfort of their homes or behind their desk, delegates were able to attend the conference’s live and pre-recorded professionally produced sessions and workshops virtually in the conference’s 3D auditorium.

They could also interact with presenters through online features such as live Q&A, live polling, surveys, and discussion forums, and meet delegates, speakers, and partners virtually through a ‘Meeting Hub’ and virtual networking rooms, and share contacts.

Delegates were also able to access the 3D virtual exhibition and resource gallery, meet and video-chat with partners, view their presentations and videos, and download brochures.

Attendees could export personal attendee notes and contacts, contact the live support team whenever needed, and access all sessions, which is available on-demand post-event.

Major challenges

For the 2018 and 2019 editions, event marketing and monetization were never really considered as challenges because the event witnessed lots of great educational sessions and unique networking opportunities for all those attending, and event registrations were high compared to such a niche market.

However, in the third edition, since it was held virtually, marketing and monetizing the event would be a challenge due to the so-called “Zoom Fatigue” and the general misconception that virtual events are always educational sessions with minimal interaction and networking.

As the virtual sessions were run using a professional production virtual events studio, with speaker training and scheduling, control of the setting and internet bandwidth presented a major challenge. The organizers felt it was vital to make sure all sessions were fastidiously arranged and prepared in advance.

Overcoming hurdles

In terms of event marketing and monetization, the Specialist – ExiCon’s team overcame it by always trying to showcase the wide array of unique benefits and presenting the event as a full virtual event experience rather than just listening to sessions. This was presented in all event digital marketing and targeted marketing initiatives.

Once the event platform design was finalized prior to the event by a month, the marketing team integrated teasers of what the platform will look like and journey videos for sessions, the meeting hub, and the virtual exhibition on all marketing material.

As for the speaker challenges, Specialist – ExiCon developed a very hands-on approach with all speakers with the aim of controlling their environment and preemptive control of any mishappenings during the event.

The team overcame these challenges by creating speaker guidelines, which were sent to all speakers, designed with instructions on how to access and use the virtual studio, as well as a series of what to do and what not to do to ensure a unique virtual speaking experience.

Dedicated one-to-one speaker training sessions were arranged with all speakers to walk them through the studio and all its functionalities.

The team organized panel and session rehearsals and created moderator scripts to ensure the sessions flowed and featured Q&A and live polling.

Speakers who were not able to attend the event live due to time differences and fear of bad internet connection were pre-recorded, professionally edited, and presented in the event as synchronized sessions and presentations.


The SLC 2021 was regarded as a huge success by its key stakeholders. The conference had more than 600 participants (mostly paid) from 11 countries, 44 speakers from nine countries, and more than 1,000 live stream video minutes between attendees and exhibitors in the conference’s meeting hub and virtual exhibition.

All sessions flowed smoothly and the 3D platform was immersive, visually appealing, and engaging. Between sessions, marketing videos were shown presenting key messages from sponsors and partners.

Plans are already underway to produce the fourth edition in 2022 in a hybrid format.

The client, Burhan Almarifa, has high praise for the Specialist - ExiCon team, too. HRH Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, who is the founder of Burhan Almarifa and SLC, and also chairman of the organizing committee, said: “Developing technology and attendee familiarity with virtual platforms has skyrocketed over the past year. Although a virtual conference does not meet the full attendee experience of an on-site conference, these two factors have allowed us to reach one of the goals that were in the five-year plan for SLC: to become a fully paperless conference.

“Alongside different goals set for the conference, we at Burhan Almarifa measure the conference’s success by the amount of interaction between attendees and the retention of attendees throughout the whole of the conference.

"We are very happy with the way the conference turned out and look forward to improving the user experience and increasing accessibility to all interested in attending.”


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