The ESC's annual congress is the largest conference held in Europe, and from 29 August - 2 September 2015 it took place at ExCel London. The 2015 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress was considered to be the most successful event in the society's history, attracting 32,773 delegates. The ESC represents over 85,000 cardiology professionals, principally from across Europe and the Mediterranean basin and has the mission of reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.
Isabel Bardinet, CEO of the ESC sums up the whole experience: “London and ExCeL London have completely delivered on our expectations. Never in the history of the ESC Congress have we had such a well-attended event. London has been a fantastic host city and ExCeL London, based on feedback by participants, has delivered the best layout the congress has ever had. It is evident that the delegates have enjoyed being at the venue. A congress can’t work unless the city, the venue and the organiser work in partnership and I’m delighted that the partnership between ESC, London & Partners and ExCeL London has been so strong – it’s even difficult to tell the teams apart, as they’ve worked together as one, to deliver a great event.”
"The smiling faces and congratulations of the delegates. That makes you feel very good!"
Isabel Bardinet, CEO of the ESC
Linda Olivereau, Head of the Housing & Registrations Department at ESC attributes that success to several factors, including the fact that this was the first time that the congress had been held in an English-speaking country – something that made London more attractive to many delegates. The city’s international appeal as a destination also got a boost from the excellent public transport network – including the rail connection that brings delegates right to the doorstep of ExCeL London. And because a lot of the delegates had friends or family in London, many of them spent one or two additional days in London. But Linda Olivereau is convinced that what also made a major contribution to the success of the congress was the invaluable support that she and her colleagues received from London & Partners.
London & Partners’ contribution
With the help of London & Partners, a number of useful initiatives were taken. These included:
Driving a legacy of health awareness in London and the UK by creating the London Heart Trail in association with the British Heart Foundation, King’s Health Partners and ExCeL London. The interactive walk along the South Bank between the London Eye and Tower Bridge ran for two months from the first day of the congress, signposting some of London’s greatest attractions and educating Londoners and visitors on how to have a healthy heart and a healthy lifestyle. This was a key part of the bid to win the ESC Congress for London – an initiative to acknowledge the vital importance of having better heart health.
Putting the ESC in touch with local DMCs to assist them with some of their events. London & Partners organised face-to-face meetings in their offices with potential DMC candidates.
Facilitating connections between ESC and the visa and immigration officials to smooth out the visa application procedure for non-EU delegates. As a result, ESC was able to provide delegates with key information and resources via the conference website to ease the challenges of obtaining visas for their visit.
Booking 11,000 hotel rooms for congress delegates, which were then managed by KIT, ESC’s preferred housing PCO.
Looking after ESC Congress delegates at every touchpoint. At London airports, ground staff were equipped with useful information to assist delegates on arrival. At the hotels, staff had information on the timings and location of the congress to answer guest queries more efficiently. And when using public transport, special signage for congress delegates was displayed in key locations in certain stations on London’s transport network
- The congress was the most successful event in the society’s history, breaking all previous records, with a delegate attendance of 32,773.
- The event also welcomed more international visitors than ever before, with attendees from over 140 countries worldwide. During the 5 days of scientific sessions, there were 500 expert speakers.
- The exhibition that ran in parallel with the congress attracted over 190 exhibiting companies – unprecedented in the previous history of this event.
- It generated over £100 million in economic benefit for London.