30th Annual Meeting of the DTG (German Transplantation Society)

After a long lapse because of the pandemic, the 30th Annual Meeting of the DTG (German Transplantation Society) was held as an in-person event from 7th to 9th October 2021 at the Convention & Event Center Filderhalle in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. It had already been necessary to stage it as a hybrid event in 2020. Each year, a different destination hosts the conference. "For 2021 we made a quick decision in favour of the hybrid event format in order to guarantee a maximum of flexibility in these uncertain times for events," reports Christina Norkus, project manager of the Dresden K.I.T. Group.

Stuttgart is a competence centre for kidney transplants

Professor Dr. med. Vedat Schwenger, medical director of the Clinic for Kidney, Hypertension and Autoimmune Diseases at the Katharinenhospital in Stuttgart and head of its transplantation centre, was chosen to preside over the 2021 conference as a member of the DTG (German Transplantation Society). Thus it was settled that the conference would be held in Stuttgart, a renowned competence centre for kidney transplants.

The Filderhalle fulfils expectations

"As professional congress organisers (PCO) we researched appropriate event centres in Stuttgart and the vicinity," says Christina Norkus, referring to the helpful information and recommendations of the Stuttgart Convention Bureau. "Communication was very friendly and constructive." The choice fell on the Convention & Event Center Filderhalle in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, which offered the most suitable room capacities, availability on the preferred dates and an acceptable price/performance ratio. "Although initially the decision to convene outside Stuttgart was not a popular one, in the preparation phase and during the event everyone was very impressed with the Filderhalle," praises the project manager.

Friendly and flexible cooperation

Ms Norkus found that even in the "extremely erratic preparation phase", collaboration with the team of the Convention & Event Center Filderhalle, and particularly with its project manager Claudia Heid and with Alexander Kiefer as its technical adviser, proved to be excellent: "The team is extremely flexible, solution- and service-oriented, professional, farsighted and always friendly. This kind of uncomplicated cooperation is not to be taken for granted in these difficult times." Owing to the constant updates in corona regulations and organisational factors, there were changes of plans and concepts right up to the end, Christina Norkus remembers.

Hybrid meeting concept well received

600 participants in all registered for the 30th Annual Meeting of the DTG, which corresponds to the level of the congresses in the years prior to corona. "It was paramount that we were able to arrange for several lecturers and participants to take part without the need to travel," says Christina Norkus. "There are still employers/clinics who have placed restrictions on official trips for their doctors." Many participants took advantage of the offer in order to save travel time and expenses. According to the K.I.T. Group's project manager, most participants came for one day in person to make use of the face-to-face networking, while on other days they attended the lectures in virtual form. Some 60 per cent took part in the in-person event, the other 40 per cent virtually.

In-person and virtual participation complement each other

The scientific agenda for the 30th Annual Meeting of the DTG, which included themes such as the effects of the pandemic for transplant patients and transplantation medicine, or solution approaches to address the shortage of organs, took place concurrently at the Convention & Event Center Filderhalle and on a virtual conference platform. Speakers and delegates could take part either in person or virtually. The virtual conference platform functioned like a website, with integrated zoom meetings for the live sessions. Speakers in the conference centre were streamed live on the virtual platform, virtual speakers live on the screens in the halls. On three days of the event, five sessions which took place simultaneously were recorded and made available on the virtual platform for the next two months. Communication with virtual participants took place via chat. The accompanying trade and industry exhibition was staged mainly in the Filderhalle. However, suppliers also presented their offers with virtual stands on the platform.

Great praise from participants

The 30th Annual Meeting of the DTG at the Convention & Event Center Filderhalle was highly acclaimed. Some reactions:

"It was really good to be able to exchange views not only digitally this time, but also in person at the location."

"The selection of topics, programme control and speakers left a lasting, positive impression, and everybody will look back with pleasure on Stuttgart 2021. Everyone provided "maximum service" – many thanks!"

"Congratulations on this highly successful and informative congress."

"The excellent, uncomplicated, great cooperation resulted in a truly outstanding congress. Warmest congratulations once more on this fantastic congress and your organisation! It was a real delight!"

"There were lots of new things, many important discussion topics, great lectures. My young employees were equally enthusiastic, and an exchange of information was possible on site. And many thanks to you too, dear K.I.T.-Team, for the excellent organisation."

"Thank you so much for this really great congress and the perfect organisation. And of course many thanks also go to the K.I.T. team for coping with the challenge of a hybrid congress that turned out to be a real pleasure."

Convincing accommodation and tasty catering

"The two nearby hotels in Leinfelden-Echterdingen are to be highly recommended. Thanks to the ideal S-Bahn links to the Messe Stuttgart trade fair centre and the city centre, hotel rooms were also reserved there," sums up Christina Norkus. The participants of the 30th Annual Meeting of the DTG were full of praise for the "excellent and tasty catering at the Convention & Event Center Filderhalle" which, despite the corona regulations and precautionary measures, was described as uncomplicated, creative and very good value for money."