Preparing and delivering high-calibre, environmental change-makers to the ChangeNOW stage
The European Society of Organ Transplantation (ESOT) runs their congress every two years in a different European city. It brings together experts and HCPs from across the world to discuss the latest advances in the sector.
The event was scheduled at the end of August 2021, and as countries across the world were coming out of lockdown, it was ultimately one of the world’s first large-scale hybrid congresses. There were many challenges and uncertainties to take into account, not only ensuring the physical event was built to work within the new restrictions; but with so many speakers attending from across the world – they needed to guarantee both the onsite and online experience was outstanding for the speakers, sponsors and audience.
ESOT needed to guarantee both the onsite and online experience was outstanding for the speakers, sponsors and audience.Ben Axtell, co-founder and event manager, GoRemote
We started initially working with ESOT near the start of 2021. Our role was to support those speakers appearing virtually at the event. At this time, the numbers were uncertain, but together with the ESOT organising team, we could develop the broad approach that would be taken.The key to this was flexibility; we expected some speakers to change from virtual to onsite and vice versa, which could happen very close to the event date. By June, although still uncertain with certain countries, it was becoming much clearer who would be remote and who would be online, and the planning could begin in earnest.
We split speakers into several sub-categories. Some speakers would receive pre-event speaker checks, whilst others would receive their briefings on the day of the event. Our pre-event briefings are ordinarily 30-minute sessions, where we ensure speakers are prepared and ready ahead to join the event. Given that the event was in August, in the middle of the holiday period, we agreed to spread these briefing sessions over a 4-week period to offer maximum flexibility. In total, 145 speakers were offered 30-minute briefing slots that our Virtual Stage Managers team would oversee. Speakers would be not only present or chair but also managing interactivity in the sessions. Given this, and in addition to our technical checks – which ensure every speaker is looking and sounding their best – we gave training and briefing on all these additional tools.
Working alongside ESOT and the key event partners, we presented at a Zoom webinar for those speakers who didn’t attend briefing sessions. This took place around 2 weeks before the event. In it, they received the key event information and were guided through the various event technologies. The webinar was very well attended, and feedback from the attendees was extremely positive. The recording was made available on-demand afterwards for those that couldn’t attend.
“Flexibility, Professionalism, Expertise and Cooperative are just some of the key attributes that can describe the team at GoRemote.”Devi Mey – COO, ESOT
In total, the event had a 50/50 split between onsite and online speakers, with roughly 450 speakers attending in a virtual capacity. The congress ran across 4 days and had 12 unique channels with over 180 individual sessions.
Our Virtual Stage Managers (VSMs) each oversaw one of these channels at the event, welcoming the speakers and ensuring they were ready to give their presentation or talk. The team was made up of 12 VSMs plus two production managers. A decision made mid-summer was to have both production managers physically onsite. This was key in the successful delivery of the event. It ensured that communication was as good as possible, with the ability to speak face to face with all teams, and improved reactivity as our VSMs could quickly talk to the technicians in the room or the onsite production team.The rest of our team of VSMs were online, supporting speakers on the platform and in direct communication with their room technicians.
One of the interesting learnings from the event was that a number of speakers switched from onsite to online during the event. We had planned how these cases would be managed, but in the future, we expect that this will increase once they become aware that switching online is an option. Speakers will be looking for flexibility, so it is important to understand how to quickly and effectively adapt the sessions and production when circumstances change.
The event was a resounding success; the feedback from across the board was highly positive. It was a testament to the excellent planning and oversight by the ESOT team. Being the first event of its type in Europe and possibly the world, it was a considerable achievement to deliver such a large scale and complex event so smoothly.
“Anyone looking at organising a virtual or hybrid event should work with GoRemote if you want a smooth production!”Devi Mey – COO, ESOT
Hybrid events like this will become the norm as we enter a new paradigm of thinking about events differently in the months and years ahead. They offer both greater flexibility and more opportunities for the speakers and audience; however, they are far more complex to manage for the production teams. The key is solid planning and building sufficient contingency and flexibility so that the event can quickly adapt when circumstances change. This is something that has always been at the core of how we work. We believe the combination of a great team, the right tools and solid production is what ensures the delivery of world-class events and congresses. We’re proud to have played our part in ESOT 2021 and helping set the benchmark in how hybrid congresses will work in the future.