Did Attendees Love Your Event? Here’s How to Find Out
“Easy reading is hard writing” is a popular writing axiom, but the concept also applies to event planning. An event that flows easily is a sure sign that an event planner put blood, sweat, and tears into making it happen. Even events that don’t go so smoothly probably still had a lot of hard work put into them.
When your event is over, whether it went great or was something close to a disaster, you still have more work to do: collecting and evaluating feedback from attendees.
It’s critical that you collect feedback from your event attendees so you can objectively analyze what worked and what didn’t. Without this empirical evidence, you might think the flawless registration process and the keynote speaker made everyone love the event, when actually it was the variety of lunch options that catered to special diets and the fabulous presentation by a first-time speaker that had everyone truly excited.
Without cold, hard feedback in hand, you’re just guessing. Guessing is not the way to advance your event planning reputation or career.
What should you do instead?
There are many excellent methods for collecting feedback about an event. You can choose one method or mix and match to create a combination that perfectly suits your needs.
Even without prompting from the event staff, attendees are likely to talk about their experience on social media. Make sure they’re able to “check in” on social media so you can see who attended, and check for any mentions so you can respond if needed.
To get even more social media feedback, you can actively encourage people to post about the event by including social media information in the registration process, including an event-specific hashtag and any relevant social media handles so people can mention or tag them in posts.
Social media is a great way to collect organic feedback because it’s not a response to a prompt, and the feedback is likely to start rolling in before the event even finishes.
You can also use social media in a more structured way by creating polls on Facebook and Twitter.
Email is a great way to collect feedback from attendees after the event. For this to be most effective, you should send the email out immediately after the event. You can go two ways with this: Ask questions about specific aspects of the event or ask for open feedback. The best method will depend on what type of input you’re looking for.
If you tried out new registration software or changed up the format from the previous year, it would be best to ask specific questions so you can get feedback on those areas. The open feedback method works best when you want to know anything and everything attendees thought about the event and aren’t trying to gauge reaction to any one area.
Make sure your follow-up email doesn’t jump straight into asking for feedback. It’s much nicer to include a short intro describing what the event was meant to achieve (raising money, providing professional development, debuting a new product, etc.) and thanking the person for participating in the event.
There are tons of options for event apps. Their capabilities range from simplistic to robust, but most offer a way to promote engagement and collect attendee feedback.
Apps offer event planners a simple, organized way to handle many aspects of their event. Depending on the one you choose, it may include things like networking tools so attendees can create deeper connections, user-generated content sharing, live polling during a session, post-event feedback surveys, seamless registration, easy to understand reports, and more.
It’s easy to see why these are a popular choice, but keep in mind that some attendees may not like having to download and use an app. Consider your audience carefully and determine what feedback method they will be most comfortable using.
It’s easy to create an online survey that you can share via email after the event or include the URL to the survey on printed event handouts. The benefit of creating an actual survey versus doing a quick poll directly through email or on social media is that with each question you can include an image or short video.
There tends to be a lot going on at big events, so it can be easy for an attendee to forget some things, even if they enjoyed them in the moment. This visual reminder will help attendees better remember what activities they enjoyed and which presentations they preferred.
SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular tools for creating online surveys, but there are many other options. Do your research to find which one best fits your needs. Keep in mind that your online survey needs to be mobile friendly!