How to Better Listen to your Audience for Improving your Events in 2019 and Beyond?

Event planning is nothing less than an adventure! From selecting the right venue, promoting it across channels, registering people, working out the logistics… the list goes on and on. And before you know it, the day arrives. With so much time spent in planning and execution, whether you’re hosting a conference, a fundraiser, or an annual gala party, successful event planners really care about the impression you leave on your guests.

Importance of Feedback
Customer feedback provides brands & event organizers with insights into what other people say about the event. Although you might feel it went off well and without a hitch, the reality might be a bit different. To improve the user experience of your events & conferences; understanding how your invitees feel about your brand or event is essential.

Feedback is a ‘consequence’ of your performance and every one of them counts because they allow you to understand the areas needed to work harder on the next event. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to hear the unvarnished truth at times, but if you want to fill all the seats for your next event, the secret key is to gather feedback at the right moment.

The Current State of Feedback & Why it Fails

Feedback is an essential development and improvement tool, but the submission rates can be low, thus defeating the purpose of the feedback.

1: Getting feedback from attendees without interrupting their event experience is a challenge most event planners face.
2: Making feedback as part of the prerequisite may lead to biased results!
3: Scalability issues in collecting and presenting feedback in real-time at large events can lead to disappointment.
4: It is more difficult to capture feedback from attendees once they have left your event.
5: If feedback is not real-time, it doesn’t capture the emotional state of the attendees which largely varies with the feedback captured at a later stage.

Impact of Feedback at Events

Using creative ways to get feedback tells a true story about your event. Let’s see some of the ideas and stages where events planners around the globe are using to achieve better response rate and also provide attendees with some fond memories and better engagement opportunities.

1. Pre-event Feedback
Most of us would like to believe that collecting feedback is an activity during an event or after its over. But most successful event planners use pre-event feedbacks to give attendees a voice in the event development process and also tease them into what will be happening at the event.

One of customer uses pre-event AI-driven email surveys to let attendees vote on topics for the post-lunch workshop sessions. By giving attendees options and asking them to vote on them, the organizer could select the most popular topics for the workshop. Event organizers could generate excitement and deliver a better experience for attendees by involving them early-on. Not just workshops, planners have successfully used pre-event AI driven email surveys to rank speakers, adjust itineraries, meal preferences and so on.

2. In-event Feedback
When your surveys aren’t real time, you lose the chance of real-time feedback too.
Have you asked for your event feedback one week after it was over? Chances are, the attendees have already forgotten what you are talking about.

As per studies, surveys often highlight the negatives and positives are downplayed as most attendees feel that they want to offer constructive criticism. They fail to capture how you feel at a specific moment in time – the emotional state of the attendee during the moment.

By collecting feedback in real-time, when things are happening all around, you get an idea about the live pulse on your event. Moreover, with instant multi-channel feedback systems, event planners can immediately respond to any needs or crisis and improve the event experience while on-the-go. Thus, running timely surveys is key to let your audience know that you value their opinion.

Poll: Capture the emotional reaction of the audience to the experience, rather than one based on memories.

Q&A: The audience becomes part of the overall story, instead of just listening to it.

Leaderboard: Using large display screens can be a great way to improve attendee engagement & show attendees that you listen and respond to their opinions and comments.

3. Post-event Feedback:
Post-event feedback is a great way to close any open loop with attendees & also measure success and collect information that will help in strategy and execution for your next event

Studies prove that following-up can single-handedly boost your survey response rates from 30% to over 60%. Using AI-driven email follow-up tools such as ZOE has helped automate the reminders that go out at scheduled intervals in order to maximize audience participation for unlocking insights from surveys.

Trends of Real-time Feedback in 2019

The #FeelWimbledon campaign from Jaguar & Wimbledon was designed to sense the mood and emotions of fans in real-time with the help of biometric sensors. This helped the organizers capture the ‘buzz’ moments, which indicates the success of the experience you have designed.

If you simply listen to people who experience your events first-hand, you can go from being a good event organizer to a great one.

Events are emotive experiences & as an event planner, your job in 2019 is to design the experience-wave at your event. For successful experiences, real-time feedback could underpin how you plan your next event.
Take your events to the next level by strategizing your pre-event, in-event & post-event feedback for a holistic snapshot of the overall experience that will add value & leave people wanting to come back for more.

So let’s talk a little about YOUR next event. How to make it more engaging. How to make it more interactive. How to make it even more amazing. Simply Contact Us here, or just drop in to our office for a chat and a cup of coffee (if you are in New York). We’d love to hear your ideas, and talk about some of our own.

Closing Thoughts:

Best Practices Checklist to Gather Feedback at your Next Event:

  • Polling increasingly becoming popular at events, especially at conferences – through attendee engagement applications, speaker presentation apps & QnA all rolled into event apps.
  • Use interactive screens that are placed around the venue. These applications can provide immediate feedback for the Aha! moments at the time of an event.
  • Be mindful of the time an attendee would require to answer all the questions you want to ask. Don’t ask lots of questions, which could distract attendees far too long, so choose your moments – use real-time feedback technology to use.
  • Short breaks, lunchtime and even a 10 min feedback session that incentivizes attendees to give feedback would be a better strategy to get the required number of responses you would need for a good feedback sample.
  • ____________________ What would you like to add to this checklist? We are waiting to hear your feedback in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: