Participants included 2,800 delegates, some 2,200 ophthalmologists but also 600 other professionals (it is interesting to see congresses are increasingly open to other groups, from doctors in other specialties to associations, public institutions, sometimes even investors as we saw in the congress of the European Society of Cardiology).
This congress was a demanding process, of course, which the SEO started to organize since the previous congress, as Sicily Marylin Garcia (director of the society and responsible for this congress) reminded us. To plan it, nine people were involved in the organization permanently, in addition to the staff hired for D-day, about 60 hostesses and 35 technicians. It was a team effort between the board of the association, FIBES, Audiovisual and MK, CWT,Go Producciones Técnicas and WFM Comunicación.
Formats: interactivity and video as the stars
Various formats were used: lecture courses, discussion groups to present new scientific research, 3D technological innovations applied to the sector. While the plenary was not very interactive, the smaller sessions included discussion groups, stimulating the relationship between speaker, chairman or board secretaries and assistants.
Besides the conference room, another space featured videos, previously recorded by the speakers and selected by a committee, which were available to attendees throughout the conference. And for post-event, the videos can still be viewed after the conference on the website of the company.
Sponsors: fidelity is rewarded
The organization of the sponsor spaces in the exhibition area. To select the location of their stands, the association gathered all sponsors, and let them choose their space based on their annual support to the association (grants, advertising in their magazines, etc.). "Pharma companies liked it, because this not rewarded not mere cash but rather commitment to the association: the more you collaborate throughout the year, the better you are located in the exhibition area. It´s a way of rewarding effort and support," says Marilyn Garcia-Sicilia.
Apps and social media were key to spreading the pre-event word and during the conference. Hashtags #91congresoSEO and #CongresoSEO2015 promoted the conference website and the use of the app. The app brought all the information of the congress, as well as information of interest about Sevilla.
The city, after this achievement, still have seven other major conferences in the remainder of the year.