Event day is here. You’ve planned this event for months, making sure every detail is perfect. How can you know whether your efforts paid off without waiting until after the event?
While feedback collected after an event is incredibly telling, there are also important insights event managers can gather during events. This allows them to make last-minute adjustments if needed, or simply relax (gasp!) and know attendees are enjoying the event.
Understanding the attendee experience during an event involves a balance of gathering information and allowing attendees ample time to experience the event. The goal is not to bug attendees so much they don’t enjoy the event. Many of these insight tools are blended into the event experience and can actually make attendees more engaged.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for event businesses. It can be used to get attendees excited for an event as well as measure engagement during and after an event.
To get the most use out of social media, create a unique event hashtag and encourage attendees to share their event experience. Tools like Hootsuite or Google Alerts can collect all mentions of this unique hashtag so event managers can easily see what attendees are saying.
Are people talking about the event on social media? What speakers, activities, sessions, are they mentioning? What are attendees posting pictures of during the event? The answers to these questions give valuable insight during events and can help identify post-event content to send out as an event follow-up.
Other valuable tools for quick insight on attendee experience are surveys. While surveys after the event are important for final impressions, in-event surveys catch attendees while the experience is still fresh in their minds. Event managers can gather results during the event and make important changes for the current event or future ones.
Ask attendees whether they are satisfied with the event so far, if they enjoyed the speaker, what could be improved, etc. Surveys can be easily created through online platforms and distributed through email or set up at designated “feedback stations” inside the event venue.
Make sure to keep the survey short so attendees can get back to the event. In addition, a follow-up email thanking survey takers for their time is a nice touch.
Talk with Exhibitors & Event Staff
One of the best ways to gain insight is to talk with those directly interacting with attendees throughout the event. This includes event staff, exhibitors, vendors, etc. These people likely spend more time with attendees than those who are organizing behind-the-scenes.
Ask staff and exhibitors key questions about what they are noticing: Are attendees participating? What responses have you encountered from attendees? How could the event be better, in your opinion? Feedback from those interacting the most with attendees is a quick way to gauge attendee experience.
Beyond sending out surveys, there are additional ways to reach attendees and gather information. Another way is in-event messages. In-event messages are more directed, creating a personal touch that can feel more genuine to attendees.
There are several ways event managers can use in-event messaging. This could mean sending out email messages or announcements via an event app that touch on speakers, sessions, special offers, etc. In addition, attendees should be able to email event staff to offer suggestions.
Coupled with robust analytics and reporting, it’s possible to find out which messages attract attendees the most. For example, if you send out a message on a specific event session, how many attendees actually attended the session? What email messages attracted attendees the most? These give instant insight into what attendees like and don’t like.
Using Event Apps
Mobile event apps are convenient and offer many insights at the touch of a screen. This allows event managers to monitor attendee engagement during the event and gives attendees the chance to easily submit feedback.
Before an event, attendees should be encouraged to download the event app to facilitate communication and create a better attendee experience. Event apps can include helpful features such as:
- Attendee Schedule Planning
- Live Polling
- Chat Messaging
- Session Ratings
These features can be accessed during the event by attendees via mobile devices and allow event managers to gain insight. How often an attendee uses the full range of mobile app features can say a lot about how well the event engages attendees and what can be improved.
The tips and tricks discussed will give event staff instant insight into how well the event is going and suggest changes that can be implemented before the event is over. This way attendees can leave feeling more engaged and satisfied with your event business.