5 Event Surveys You Should Implement
Measuring event success is an essential part of the planning process. Surveys, in particular, are invaluable tools that enable planners to continuously improve the client, staff and guest experiences.
Five commonly used examples include event-planning surveys, pre-event surveys, on-site surveys, post-event surveys, and staff surveys. Each serves a unique purpose and comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the nature of an event, planners may choose to implement some – or all – of these tools.
Event-planning surveys are sent to recipients as early as possible in the event process. The results of these questionnaires help determine event specifics, including panel topics, meeting formats and scope.
- Responses can help shape the event in a way that will best appeal to attendees' needs and interests
- Input can be solicited for meeting content, speakers and topics.
- Questions can gauge guests' experience level so that content can be presented in a way that’s useful to them.
- Determining the event's target audience at such an early stage can be challenging.
- Surveyors need respondents' contact information, which they may or may not have available.
Pre-event surveys are sent to confirmed attendees and may address anything from dietary restrictions to disabilities. They also provide an opportunity to assess pre-event levels of brand awareness, purchase behaviors, and other important metrics that can be compared to post-event levels to quantify event impact. The goal of these surveys is to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible for both the planner and the attendees and to set a baseline for event-related key performance indicators.
- A small amount of information before the event can have huge positive impacts on execution and guest experience.
Establishing pre-event levels of attendee perceptions and behaviors informs event strategy and sets the stage for successful event measurement.
Pre-event surveys generate excitement and momentum for an upcoming event.
- Sending a pre-event survey conveys that the event organizers are striving for excellence.
- Depending on the lead-time and nature of the responses, there may not be enough time or resources to implement suggested changes.
Often called Intercept Surveys, on-site surveys capture data during the actual event. Surveyors ask guests to evaluate the experience in real time. When pre-event and post-event surveys are not possible, on-site surveys are critical for capturing attendee feedback. Because these surveys often involve a face-to-face interaction, they often have a high rate of return.
- Since the target respondents are physically located at the event, surveyors have a captive audience.
No contact information is needed to reach respondents.
Incentives and swag are easily dispensed upon survey completion.
- Any necessary changes, either to the survey or to the event, can be made immediately.
- Taking time out to complete a survey can interrupt the guest experience.
- If the survey is too long or doesn't work properly, respondents may walk away with a negative impression.
Post-Event surveys are sent to people who actually attended, and they usually go out via email or social media a few days after an event. At this point, respondents have had time to reflect on their experiences.
Respondents can complete the survey on their own schedules.
Giving respondents time to reflect on their experience before answering the questions can result in valuable and thoughtful insights.
- If too much time has elapsed since the event, respondents may not accurately remember their experiences.
Surveyors need respondents' contact information, which they may or may not have available.
Staff surveys serve as a fantastic complement to attendee surveys and should be a standard component of any event. The people staffing an event are on the front lines, and they will be aware of issues that the planner doesn’t necessarily see. Staff surveys can be completed on site or online immediately after an event.
Event staff feedback can be very helpful for interpreting or contextualizing results from attendee surveys.
Staff members have a behind-the-scenes perspective on a micro level, as opposed to planners who must oversee the entire event.
Posted by Lisette Sheehan | Request as a Speaker
Strong believer in the power of data to drive smart decision-making. Enjoys making new friends. Lives for family. Avid beachgoer. It's 5 o'clock somewhere.