Hosting an event is one of the most magical feelings. You get to bring people together to connect, celebrate and make memories. At Humanitix we love events and believe that bringing people together can truly change the world.
It can be tempting to pack up the last chair and think your duties as an event host are done. But we are here to tell you that there is one more step that you may want to consider. Not only will it help give you insight into how the event went, but it is also an extremely valuable way of gathering data to help improve future events and keep the magic happening. That’s right: we are talking about the post-event survey.
But gone are the days of a paper questionnaire being shoved in the faces of attendees or for an anonymous comments box. It’s never been easier to capture extremely valuable feedback from your guests after an event.
Read on for how to design a questionnaire that people will want to fill out -- and the post-event survey questions that will actually lead to the insights you want.
What are post-event surveys?
A post-event survey is a series of questions you send to guests after the conclusion of an event. You may be asking for feedback on the event, the level of service, and whether their experience of your own product or company was what they expected.
They are an important tool for event hosts to understand the opinion of guests, especially if this is the first event of yours they have attended. It can also be a way of seeing how repeat attendees feel about this event compared to others.
The information from a post-event survey can be used to improve certain areas of service or the event experience. Whether this is feedback on the ticket purchasing process, how long it took to get served food and drinks or whether the venue was accessible enough, these responses can be used to make decisions in the future.
But to be effective, a post-event survey needs to be carefully designed. This is to make sure you are getting the kind of information you actually need. A badly designed survey can be a big waste of time, meaning you won’t get any valuable insights or -- even worse -- you might get the wrong insights. And you don’t want to be making decisions on bad information.
What kinds of information gets collected?
When designing a survey, it is important to understand what kind of information you are looking for. This will depend on the type of event and the aims of that event.
There are a few different things you can try and gauge from a survey:
- Qualitative data - which tells you about the experience of the guests
- Quantitative data - which is measurable data that results in a numerical score
It can get a little confusing when you are trying to collect quantitative data about someone’s experience - like asking them to rate their experience on a scale of 1 - 5. This might seem like it is qualitative because it is about their experience, but because you are collecting a value, it would count as quantitative for the survey.
Ultimately, the way to think about it is if you are trying to assign a value or score to the data, it goes in the quantitative category. If you are trying to dig deeper and find out why or get an individual to explain something, that would be qualitative.
Types of post-event survey questions
Demographics: These are questions that concern the background of your survey respondents. This information can be useful in segmenting customers and getting to know them a little better. Understanding your customer demographics can mean your marketing is aimed at your actual customers rather than general averages and statistics for certain age groups.
Open-ended questions: These questions are the ones that can be most difficult to get right. They usually ask a question and then provide an open space for the guest to respond.
These are most useful when you want an open-ended, honest response. An example of open-ended questions include:
What did you like about the event?
- What could we do better?
- What was your highlight?
- What was your lowlight?
These will require more resources to process post-event, but they can provide valuable insights into how the event was from different perspectives.
Closed questions: Closed questions have a set of predefined answers. One common form is a multiple-choice answer, where respondents can select A, B, C or D. Answers need to meet two criteria: they should be exhaustive (meaning all possible answers are listed) and mutually exclusive (meaning that they should be one or the other, not two or more possible answers).
Nominal: Nominal questions use tags or labels to make it easier to analyse answers. It could be asking gender, how do you identify: 1- Man 2- Woman 3- Non-binary 4- Prefer to self-describe below. The numerical tags will make it easier to sort and analyse information about the event.
This can also take the form of a Likert-scale question, in which there is a range of answers:
- Very dissatisfied
- Not satisfied
- Very satisfied
The other big benefit of nominal questions is that responders don’t have to write as much or think as hard about what to say. A short set of nominal questions might lead to higher survey completion results.
How do I increase the response rate to surveys?
Keep questions short and sweet
Short, snappy questions are the best way to increase responses. Limit the number of open-ended questions and make it easy for responders.
Put your most important questions first
Put the question that is most important first. If there is specific feedback that will be valuable for your next event, that goes up the top.
Don’t require a response to every question
If people are allowed to skip questions, they will be more likely to respond to at least a few. Getting as much information as possible is always the goal, but making all questions compulsory can (counter-intuitively) lead to less overall response rates, especially in long surveys. If there are really essential questions, you can make these non-skip questions, but it is best to put these right up the top.
Layout and presentation
An intuitive form with a clear, appealing layout is much more likely to get a response. Keep the layout uncluttered, with one question on each page and easy, intuitive response buttons.
There is nothing worse than a clunky looking survey that keeps breaking down or glitching, so it is worth thinking about a simple, clean interface.
Getting lukewarm responses is good
People who had a very bad or very good experience may be more likely to want to vent or gush about what happened. This can create a bias in survey results.
You want to inspire folks in the middle -- who had what was probably closest to an average experience of the event. The way to appeal to these is to make the survey as easy as possible and use nominal questions. The Likert scale is also great for this because people can just record a middle response of “agree”.
Don’t just drop a link in an email
Instead of dropping a link and hitting send, why not embed your first survey question in the email? This is a simple step that can boost survey opens by 22%. Not only are they more likely to open a survey, but they are more likely to finish it using this method.
It’s best to send these emails within 1 business day of the event. This ensures the guests still have their experiences fresh in their minds, which will lead to more accurate reporting. You want to help capture that magic post-event feeling and capitalise on it.
Also don’t be afraid to send a follow-up to those who haven’t completed the survey, which can be automated through an email drip campaign. Limit this to one or two emails over the weeks after the event. More than 3 reminders will get annoying, plus results from more than a month after an event aren’t going to be that accurate.
Get started with your own surveys
The best time to write a survey is ahead of the event. That way you can be prepared to send it out right after the event has finished. It’s never too soon to start building a data set of responses and gain valuable insights.
We hope that you will understand your guests better, and be able to help connect even more people with your next event.
Ready to get creative with your surveys? First TICKETS!....
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Em Meller lives and works in Sydney, Australia on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Her work has appeared in places like The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and Going Down Swinging. She has studied creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, and at Oxford University.