As any event planner knows, asking survey questions for events you hold offers a great way to measure success and collect valuable input from your attendees. I’ve had some event planners express concern about asking too many questions, but the truth is that you need to ask enough questions to get the full picture—if you ask too few, your findings won’t be as useful. At the same time, ask too many questions and your response rate will plummet. The key to making your survey as useful as possible centers on asking the both the right questions and the right number of questions. Done correctly, a survey can help you improve future events, and serves as an essential tool to provide your organization with valuable feedback. Here are some top tips for creating post-event surveys so you end up with good data for future event planning and actionable insights!

Who should I survey post-event?

The main focus of your survey will be attendees, no matter what type of event, but also consider others who should be part of the evaluation process, such as sponsors and speakers, as well as event volunteers and event staff. Considering all of the potential audiences ensures you will reflect on additional questions that might be important to each segment, including those beyond event guests. You can tailor your survey so that each group gets a unique set of questions to answer, along with the general questions.

What post-event survey questions should I ask?

Post-event surveys provide the chance to learn what made this event special and where things fell flat. Survey questions should include both open-ended and closed-ended questions, as well as rating scale questions. Closed-ended questions make a survey easier to complete but open-ended questions give your audience the chance to let their opinions flow and can provide deeper insight.

Turning to the questions themselves, there are some obvious areas to measure. Start with the general and ask about overall impressions of the event and likelihood to recommend the event to others. Next, move to measuring specifics, such as the event venue and location, the staff, the event’s food and drink, the event’s content, and the event’s technology. You might also ask about the biggest takeaway each attendee brought home from the event.

Here are a few important questions to consider asking event attendees for event feedback:

1. How likely are you to recommend a friend (or co-worker if business related or focused on professional training) attend this event?

2. Please rate your level of overall satisfaction for this event (using a scale to rate).

3. What, if anything, did you dislike about the event? (open-ended).

Of course, there are many additional questions I would suggest based on each specific situation. These might include some with a rating scale, while others might be multiple choice, interval scale questions or open-ended.

When should I send a post-event survey?

I’ve found the best time to send event surveys by email or through an event app is right at the end of the event, perhaps after the closing session, while the material remains top of mind and the interest level high. Response rates plummet when you wait too long to send the survey, although if it is a conference where many attendees are traveling, another strategy is to email the survey out when people arrive home. Make sure the email subject clearly communicates that you are looking for constructive feedback. You might also consider gift cards or other incentives to entice respondents to take the entire survey. As par tof the process, it will also be important to keep the survey open for the right amount of time, usually a week or two, as well as send reminders by email at various intervals.

What survey platform should I use for my post-event survey?

There are many event survey tools you could use for your post-event survey. If you are a larger organization and have the choice and budget for a more powerful tool, I’d recommend Qualtrics or Alchemer, If you can’t afford a survey platform like these options, Google Forms can also be used although your choice of different types of questions will be more limited. Beyond the platform, I’d also recommend trying to find a knowledgeable resource to help you with question creation to make sure you craft the right open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions, along with using an acceptable rating scale and unbiased wording.

What should I do with the results of event surveys?

Once you have completed collecting survey responses, you need to develop a list of action items and create a plan for those areas needing improvement, as well as celebrate the positive feedback. If there were any surprising insights it will be important to address those items also. I’d recommend sharing the invaluable insight you glean from event surveys with your event planning team, as well as use it in communication and advertising with attendees to let them know you listened to their feedback, and how you will use their input to make improvements whether potential conference topics, selection of a keynote speaker, or event sponsorship changes for a future event.

By collecting feedback from event surveys you are on your way to improving your next event experience!

Event surveys provide a useful tool to determine what worked well and what you can improve upon. They help you plan for successful future events, provide an opportunity to show you listened to event feedback from your event guests and other stakeholders, and make for an even better attendee experience in the future. If event success is important to you, make sure you ask attendees for feedback each and every time!

If you need assistance measuring attendee satisfaction, we can assist you with this process, whether  creating an excellent event satisfaction survey, asking attendees for feedback by helping you design your survey participant communication, analyzing the data to focus on the most important event outcomes for the future, or telling your event success story. Also, check out my blog post on survey questions for virtual events for tips about gaining feedback during this period of time where virtual events have been so prevalent.