The European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS) is committed to vascular medicine and has 2,700 members worldwide, who care for and treat patients with vascular disorders on a daily basis. The organisation of the annual congress is in the hands of the ESVS office, based in Bordeaux. They were looking for a local partner in the Netherlands and approached us to provide a varied programme, comprising a plenary academic part, where the latest scientific insights could be shared, and a parallel training programme consisting of workshops and seminars. There was also a need for networking opportunities to connect researchers from all over the world.
Advances in technology in the field of vascular surgery are evolving fast. The annual meeting therefore serves as a meeting place for health care professionals and industry partners to exchange the latest insights and techniques. We opted for a hybrid set-up, whereby plenary sessions that took place live in Rotterdam were also streamed via our OnAir platform. Some speakers were live in Rotterdam, others dialled in via Zoom. As PCO, we were responsible for the entire logistics organisation, ranging from onsite management, participant registration and abstract management to setting up the online platform and congress app and the entire online management.
The ESVS annual meeting was held in the middle of the Covid period. For a long time it was uncertain whether it could go ahead. The 1.5-metre distance measure was only relaxed shortly before the congress, so we took several scenarios into account throughout the preparation period. In the end, more than 400 participants were present live in Rotterdam and 637 participated online. Everyone was happy to be able to meet in person again. The objectives of knowledge-sharing, training and networking were amply achieved. For speakers who were onsite and also contributed to the online sessions, we provided Zoom booths where they could sit quietly to give their online presentation. For participants who were onsite and also wanted to follow online sessions, we set up an online viewing area where the live stream of the online sessions was broadcast on a large screen.