Maximizing the Attendee Experience

Our post on Citizen Experience with government services got us thinking, how can event planners better cater to the needs and expectations of their attendees and what role do those attendees play in the feedback loop?

As this article illustrates, there is immediate and delayed feedback. Immediate feedback is gleaned through polls, show of hands questions, and quick surveys. These are easy for the attendee but don't provide a huge amount of insight for planners. Delayed feedback comes in the form of post-event surveys that can ask more complex questions. While this requires more work for attendees, it can be much more valuable for event organizers. A mix of both of these types of feedback loops may prove to be the most beneficial for planners and attendees alike.

  • Quick show of hands leads to in-depth follow-up - Ask a room full of attendees a pointed yes/no question like, "Who made a new contact here today?" or "Who learned something they can immediately implement back at the office?" If many in attendance keep their hands down, you have a great follow-up question to put out to attendees after the event, "How could we have made networking easier?" "What would have made the content easier to grasp/implement?" If you ask pointed questions that you know people will have an interest in (likely they were disappointed they did not get what they came for), the response rates for a post-event survey will rise.
  • Social media now and later - Tracking social media mentions about your event before and during gives a great real-time look at what is resonating with attendees. After the event is over, continue tracking hashtags and mentions and take all of the social chatter throughout the event and look for trends and insights. When did social start to heat up? A month before the event? A day? Take a deeper dive with a tracking tool that can show what is being communicated behind the words.
  • Staff feedback -- Have event staff stationed throughout the event to engage attendees and find out from them what's working and what's not. They can make real-time corrections, providing immediate After the event, the feedback they gathered can be analyzed to spot trends that need to be addressed in future events.
  • Event apps - Polling and surveys can be built into mobile apps providing a quick way to gather insight from attendees. Additionally, events that rely on mobile app use can add in other tech-centric features including being able to shift online agendas and RFID tracking of crowd movement. Mobile apps can provide a huge amount of insight as to how people experience an event.

Let us know your thoughts on how best to capture attendee feedback. What feedback mechanisms have been the most helpful in event planning? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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