Event planning is an adventure, to say the least. Locking down the venue, getting people registered, promoting it across channels, working out the logistics… the list goes on and on. Before you know it, the day arrives. Even if it goes off without a hitch, the event doesn’t end when the clock strikes 12.
Success is more than a day-of checklist. When the event is over, it’s the perfect time to gather feedback and plan for the future. Below we’ll share some quick tips on maximizing attendee feedback with event surveys.
Making the Most of Attendee Feedback
Whether you’re hosting a conference, a fundraising event, or an annual gala, you care about the impression you leave on your guests. But event staff spend so much time planning and executing, the post-event time period often gets little attention.
Event and conference surveys are a great way to capture attendee feedback without spreading yourself too thin. They’re simple to create and distribute, and they reveal a lot when done well. Here are some common survey questions organizers might ask:
How was the experience overall?
How relevant was the agenda?
How would you rate the speakers?
Was the venue accessible?
How were the food and beverage options?
What could we have done better?
How was your check-in experience?
What was your favorite part of the day?
Would you attend another event with us?
Can we contact you with further questions?
The Ultimate Guide to Event Surveys
An example of an effective post-event survey
Dropbox sent out a post-event survey to attendees for their DBX Event. Click “Let’s Begin” to check it out.
Notice how the company uses a variety of question types to get quantitative and qualitative attendee feedback? The survey takes just a few minutes to complete, and the results give Dropbox a clear look at attendee preferences.
The Dropbox event staff can reexamine attendee feedback from DBX the next time they’re planning an event. Those insights will help them make data-driven decisions on everything from the check-in process to the types of technology they present.
10 tips on gathering post-event attendee feedback
Follow Dropbox’s lead by using the tips below to get the most out of your post-event surveys.
1. Don’t wait! Ask for attendee feedback immediately after the event is over, while the experience is still fresh in their minds. You can send your post-event survey over email, load it on iPads at the venue, or share the survey link manually. Just choose a survey distribution method that makes the most sense for your event.
2. Add photos and videos to your survey, like Dropbox did above. It’s a great way to frame your questions and generate more relevant attendee feedback. Maybe they were distracted during a presentation or didn’t get a chance to catch it live. By revisiting key moments in your post-event survey, you can capture people’s attention after the frenzy has died down.
3. Include pictures of speakers and other hosts/moderators. You may know their names, but attendees will have a tough time keeping them straight—especially after a long day.
4. Include key takeaways and messaging from your event. A post-event survey is a great opportunity to reinforce your core message and tune people in again.
5. Make sure your event surveys work great on mobile devices. Attendees will likely pop your survey open in transit. Make sure you’re distributing a short, well-designed, mobile-friendly survey.
6. Keep survey design on-brand. You worked hard to plan and deliver a fantastic in-person experience. Keep it consistent by sending a branded, beautiful survey that leaves a lasting impression.
7. Provide benchmark data for attendees to share. Post-event figures (e.g. Thanks for joining over 3,000 of your peers…) set the tone for the way guests talk about your event. Sharing attendee counts, fundraising totals, and other memorable stats help you frame it positively.
8. Include a survey Thank You page with links to great content—like keynote videos and slide decks—that keep your event top-of-mind.
9. Promote your next event or include another compelling call-to-action, particularly for satisfied guests. Post-event surveys can reengage attendees and promote powerful follow-up action, like event sign-ups and donations.
10. Ask questions that deliver measurable data. You can follow basic survey best practices to capture reliable info. For example, limit the number of response options to 4-6 per question at most. Too many answer choices can overwhelm respondents and leave you with iffy results.
The next time you’re planning a big event, give some thought to your follow-up process. How will you keep attendees engaged? What’s the ideal outcome or call-to-action? How will you reinforce the messages you delivered?
Online surveys can help you answer these questions and more.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014. It’s been updated for accuracy and freshness.