How to Carry Out an Event Survey

Alright, so you’ve just wrapped up a big event. Whether it was a roaring success or had a few bumps along the way, it’s time to find out what your attendees really thought. Enter the event survey—a tool that’s as old as time but still golden for gathering honest feedback. This guide will walk you through the steps and best practices for creating effective event surveys that yield valuable insights, ensuring your events are always improving and meeting the expectations of your audience. After all, good event management doesn’t just stop when the event finishes!

Why Event Surveys Are Important

You might be wondering, “Do I really need to bother with a survey?” The answer is a resounding yes! Here’s why. Event surveys are indispensable for measuring the success of your event. You’ve put in the hard work, and now it’s time to see if it paid off. Did people actually enjoy the keynote speaker, or were they more excited about the free coffee? Understanding attendee satisfaction is like checking the pulse of your event. It helps you see if everything’s ticking along nicely or if there’s something amiss.

Moreover, surveys help identify areas for improvement. No event is perfect, and there’s always room for enhancement. Maybe the lunch ran out too quickly, or perhaps the sessions were a bit too long. Honest feedback can shine a light on what needs tweaking. Collecting testimonials is another benefit. Positive feedback is like free marketing material. Those glowing reviews can be used to promote your next big bash, giving you the credibility you need to attract more participants.

And let’s not forget about data-driven decisions. Numbers don’t lie. By analysing survey responses, you can gather insights that inform your decisions and help you plan better events in the future. 

Types of Event Surveys

 Pre-Event Surveys

Before your event kicks off, it’s a good idea to gauge what your attendees are hoping for. Pre-event surveys can help you tailor the event to better suit your audience’s needs, thereby increasing satisfaction and engagement. Asking questions about their expectations, the sessions or topics they are most interested in, and any dietary restrictions or special requirements can provide valuable insights. These questions help you get a feel for what people want, so you can make necessary adjustments to meet these expectations.

As a bonus idea, include a survey as part of the registration process. This will help increase the amount of data you get. 

On-Site Surveys

Real-time feedback during the event is golden. Catch attendees while they’re still buzzing with excitement—or fuming about the queue for the toilets. On-site surveys can be a quick and effective way to gather immediate impressions. Asking attendees how they would rate the current session, whether the facilities are meeting their expectations, or if they have any immediate improvement suggestions can provide actionable insights. This allows you to address issues on the fly and keep everyone happy.

Post-Event Surveys

Once the dust has settled and everyone’s back home, it’s time for the deep dive. Post-event surveys allow attendees to reflect on their overall experience and provide detailed insights. You might ask them how satisfied they are with the event overall, what they liked the most or least, and how likely they are to attend future events. This is where you get the juicy details that will help you plan better in the future.

Designing an Effective Event Survey

 Define Your Objectives

Before diving into crafting your survey, it’s essential to define your objectives. What do you want to learn from this survey? Are you looking to gauge overall satisfaction, gather specific feedback on sessions, or understand attendee demographics? Clearly outlining your goals will help you focus on gathering relevant data and avoid collecting unnecessary information.

Craft Clear and Concise Questions

When it comes to asking questions, simplicity is key. Use straightforward language and be specific to ensure that respondents fully understand what you’re asking. Avoid leading questions that could bias responses. Mixing up question types—multiple choice, open-ended, and rating scales—can keep the survey engaging and provide a well-rounded view of attendee feedback.

Choose the Right Survey Tool

Selecting a user-friendly survey tool is crucial for both the creation and distribution of your survey. Popular options like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Typeform, and Qualtrics offer various features that can help you design and distribute your survey effectively. Consider the specific needs of your survey, such as question types, distribution methods, and data analysis capabilities, when choosing the right tool.

Distribute the Survey

Timing is everything. Distribute pre-event surveys well in advance to understand expectations, on-site surveys during the event to capture immediate feedback, and post-event surveys shortly after the event concludes to gather comprehensive insights. Using multiple channels, such as email, event apps, and social media, can help you reach a broader audience and increase response rates.

Best Practices for Event Surveys

Keep It Short

Respecting attendees’ time is crucial when designing your survey. Keeping it concise, ideally between 10 to 12 questions, ensures that respondents are more likely to complete it. A short and focused survey can provide the necessary insights without overwhelming the participants.

Offer Incentives

Encouraging participation through incentives can significantly boost response rates. Offering discounts, giveaways, or entry into a prize draw can make completing the survey more appealing to attendees. Make sure the incentives are relevant and attractive to your audience to maximise their effectiveness.

Follow Up

Following up with participants after they have completed the survey shows that you value their feedback. Sending a thank you email and sharing key findings or actions taken based on their feedback can enhance engagement and demonstrate that their input is making a difference.

 Analysing Survey Results

Clean and Organise Data

Once you have collected the survey responses, the first step is to clean and organise the data. This involves removing any incomplete or irrelevant responses and categorising the data to facilitate analysis. Organising the data effectively can help in identifying patterns and trends more easily.

Identify Key Findings

Look for patterns and trends in the responses to identify key findings. Are there recurring themes in the feedback? Are there particular aspects that were consistently praised or criticised? Identifying these patterns can provide a clear picture of the event’s strengths and areas for improvement.

Use Data Visualisation

Data visualisation tools can help represent the survey results visually, making it easier to understand and present the findings. Creating charts and graphs can highlight key insights and make the data more accessible for stakeholders. Visual representations can be particularly useful for summarising the data in reports or presentations.

Implementing Feedback

Prioritise Changes

Not all feedback will be equally important or actionable. Prioritise changes based on the most critical areas needing improvement. Focus on the aspects that will have the most significant impact on future events and address those first.

Communicate with Attendees

Informing attendees about how their feedback is valued and how it will be used can enhance their engagement and trust. Sharing the actions you plan to take based on their feedback shows that you are committed to continuous improvement and value their input.

Monitor and Evaluate

Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the changes implemented are crucial for long-term success. Assess the impact of the changes on future events and make further adjustments as needed. This iterative process ensures that your events are always evolving and improving based on attendee feedback.

Increasing Survey Response Rates


Timing is critical when it comes to survey distribution. Sending post-event surveys within one to two business days after the event captures fresh feedback and increases the likelihood of responses. Timely distribution ensures that the event is still top of mind for attendees, making their feedback more accurate and relevant.

Delivery Methods

Using preferred communication channels of your attendees, such as email or text, to send surveys can significantly increase response rates. Understanding your audience’s preferences and leveraging the right channels ensures that the surveys reach them effectively.

 Personalisation and Incentives

Personalising survey invitations and offering incentives can boost response rates. Addressing attendees by name and acknowledging their participation in the event can make the invitation more appealing. Additionally, providing attractive incentives can encourage more participants to complete the survey.

Final Thoughts

Conducting effective event surveys is essential for improving future events. By following these guidelines, you can gather valuable feedback, make data-driven decisions, and enhance attendee satisfaction. Remember, the goal is not just to collect feedback but to use it to create better experiences for your attendees. With careful planning, thoughtful question design, and strategic analysis, event surveys can be a powerful tool in your event planning arsenal, driving continuous improvement and success. Happy surveying!