How do you know if your event is a success?
Better yet, how do you know if your attendees will be back next year?
The explosion in event technology means organisers have more data than ever about how attendees are engaging with events. From the number of meetings booked to sessions attended and questions asked. However, this data isn’t capable of telling you why. Why are attendees engaging, and will they come back to your next event? This is where surveys come into play.
For the last decade, Explori have been helping organisers use surveys to gather post-event feedback to develop more customer-centred event portfolios. We benchmark attendee experience for over 3,000 events globally, and analyse over 3 million data points on attendee and exhibitor sentiment. We are a trusted research partner for the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry (UFI) supplying annual reports to organisers. Our expertise lies in creating surveys that provide strategic insights to event teams.
In this post we will share with you our definitive list of post-event survey questions. We will give you nine questions you can use in a live or virtual event survey and two bonus questions to include in your virtual event survey.
What is a post-event survey?
A post-event survey is a questionnaire. It is normally distributed via email to visitors, exhibitors, speakers, people who registered but did not attend, and any other participants. The survey normally consists of a combination of multiple/single choice and open-ended questions. The purpose of sending a post-event feedback survey is to understand the event through the eyes of attendees. Post-event surveys are crucial to any organiser interested in adopting a more customer-centred approach to their events.
Types of survey questions
There are different types of questions you can include in your post-event survey depending on the type of data you want to collect:
- Rating scales - measures the level of agreement with a question that can be quantified for reporting. It’s best to use a 5-point scale to avoid skewing survey responses.
- Multiple choice - useful when there are a few different options that could apply ie. when asking attendees about their reasons for attending your event.
- Open-ended - brings the attendee experience to life. It produces qualitative data which tends to be more emotive and specific at outlining sentiment.
At the beginning of your event survey it is important to include screening questions to ensure the integrity of the data you are collecting. When creating client surveys the first question we ask is ‘Did you attend [eventname] from [eventdates]?’ If the respondent says no they are routed to an exit screen.
We then include a second screening question which asks ‘Did you attend as…’ and provide a single choice option of either Visitor, Exhibitor or Member of the press. If the respondent is not the intended recipient of the survey (i.e. an exhibitor receives the visitor survey) they will be rerouted to an exit page with a link to the relevant survey for their group.
By including screening questions you can ensure your survey is being completed by the right members of your audience.
General Survey Questions
Use these questions in both your live and virtual post-event surveys for attendees1. Overall how satisfied are you with [eventname]?
This question allows you to directly measure attendee satisfaction and get a more bird’s eye view of how the event went overall. This is a great way to gauge the success of your event. You can also use it to unpick which aspects of your event are driving satisfaction by creating crosstabs with other questions in your survey.2. What were your main reasons for attending [eventname]?
In other words, what is your event helping attendees do? Our studies show that the top five objectives of trade show visitors are: attending the conference, attending seminar sessions, seeing new products and innovations, keeping up to date with market trends and seeking new business partners. When using this multiple-choice question include a list of common objectives and allow respondents to select more than one.3. Please state how well you met each of your objectives at [eventname]?
Allow respondents to state how well they were able to meet each of the objectives they selected at your event. This will give you an indication of what objectives you’re helping attendees achieve versus the objectives that are going unmet.
For example, across the 3,000+ shows we have benchmarked, we found there are three common attendee objectives that are poorly met at trade shows:
- Keeping up to date with market trends
- Seeking new business opportunities
- Seeing new products and innovations
Most importantly we discovered these three objectives are highly correlated with overall satisfaction. This suggests that if you improve the ability for attendees to achieve these objectives you will see an increase in attendee satisfaction.4. Overall, how well did you meet your objectives?
Not all objectives are created equal. This is why getting an overall score is important. Earlier in the survey attendees may select five different objectives and only score one as being well met. But that one could have represented their main objective for attending the event whilst the others were ‘nice to haves’. This question will give you an overall view on how successful your event is at helping attendees achieve their objectives. Alternatively with a tool like Explori, this can be calculated automatically based on the previous question responses.5. How likely are you to recommend our event to friends or colleagues in the industry?
Net Promoter Score is an industry standard when it comes to measuring attendee experience. This allows you to measure your attendees’ likelihood to recommend your event and can be included in your post-event surveys for both virtual and live events. Respondents rate their likelihood to recommend on a scale of 0-10 and are banded into groups based on their scores.
- Promoters (9-10 rating)
- Passives (7-8 rating)
- Detractors (0-6 rating)
The Net Promoter Score is then calculated by subtracting your percentage of Detractors from your percentage of Promoters.
Organisers often ask what is a good Net Promoter Score. Technically speaking anything above zero suggests you have more Promoters than Detractors and is therefore a good score. The Explori platform benchmarks NPS for live and virtual events globally. This allows clients to compare the performance of their events against the industry standard and get a real sense of how their events compare to the industry benchmark.6. Please tell us why you gave that score? i.e. recommending the event to a friend or colleague
Open questions are a great way to collect qualitative data that can be used to explain scores. We always suggest adding an NPS reasoning question. It allows you to do some meaningful analysis of your detractors and promoters. For example, in the Explori platform clients can filter by NPS score to see all the responses given by detractors or promoters. Filtering in this way can give you a sense for why some attendees are detracting and why some are promoting.7. Considering the total investment of your time spent, how would you rate the value you received?
As event organisers we are in the business of creating value for our attendees. Asking a question about their perceived value of the event is a great way to measure the usefulness of the event relative to the time cost. Our latest research found that attendees score virtual events as being better value for time than live events. Including this question in your post-event survey will allow you to spot commonalities between attendees who rate virtual as better for time and those who do not.8. What was your favourite aspect of [eventname]?
The main aim of gathering feedback is to understand how to improve your event. However it is important to keep an eye on what is going well to make sure you don’t eliminate those aspects from future events (ie. a networking format that attendees enjoy). This open-ended question can provide some useful information about what is working at your event. You may also be able to use these responses as testimonials if you ask respondents to opt in.9. Do you have any suggestions on how the event could be improved?
Including a question about improvements is an easy way to spot what aspects of your event haven’t landed well with attendees. Depending on the tool you use, you can filter based on satisfaction or NPS to see what improvements are suggested by attendees.
Virtual event survey questions
For use in your virtual post-event surveys for attendees10. How likely would you be to attend future virtual events from the organisers of [eventname]?
This question provides a double benefit. On one hand it can communicate a level of satisfaction with the virtual event you organised, but it can also indicate whether or not your attendees are likely to attend future events. This is particularly important as you might be assessing what role virtual events will play once we return to organising live events.11. Overall, how would you rate the delivery of the virtual event?
Whilst you might still be finessing exactly how to deliver virtual events this could be a great question to add into your post-event survey. Pair it with an open-ended follow up question where respondents can explain why they have given it that rating.
To create strategic events that keep its customers at the centre organisers need to collect consistent feedback. Post-event surveys are the only tools built to give organisers an insight into their attendees and exhibitors. If you would like to start measuring your events take a tour of the Explori platform.