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Post-event Surveys – Do’s and Don’ts

Nearly every Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) will send a survey to confirmed attendees, sponsors and exhibitors post-conference. It is important to gain insights into how the event was received, but often we struggle to collect meaningful information and data.

A key issue is asking closed questions relating to specific aspects of the conference. These could include food or menu choices, the consistency of room temperature in auditoriums or reserved room blocks. Though this information is important to keep in mind, it conveys very little moving forward as you are unlikely to produce an identical event year-on-year.

We only have individuals’ attention for a short period of time – so making sure we capture the most crucial information to question current practice and drive improvement is essential.

Here are 5 core aspects to take into consideration whilst planning your next post-event survey:

1. Act Fast

Attendees need to receive surveys while memories are strong and at the forefront of their attention. The longer it’s left, the more likely your responses will be found lacking detail. If you genuinely hope to improve services, ensure delegates, sponsors and exhibitors receive their survey ASAP!

Make it Specific

If your organisation has the time and capacity to do so, segmenting or tailoring questions for specific groups can yield powerful information and insights. Consider the wide-ranging results between a short-term or veteran attendee, or between a local or international attendee? In the latter example you will still find out significant details about accommodation chosen, transport options, the accuracy of the information provided and more.

Creating questions that are only applicable to certain groups will help you develop a greater understanding of their wants and needs moving forward, rather than trying to pull meaningful conclusions from generic questions to an entire audience.

3. Keep it Short and Sharp

Keeping questions clear and direct will greatly increase the odds of receiving a completed survey with meaningful data. If you can genuinely guarantee your survey won’t take longer then 4-5 minutes, from our experience you will have a significantly increased response rate and quality of responses! We would consider anything over 8 minutes to be restrictive and would highly recommend shortening the overall survey to make it more accessible.

If you are still struggling to get responses, think about some simple, risk-free incentives you could offer attendees!

4. Foster Loyalty

A question which has become standard in survey design is to ask whether attendees would recommend your conference to colleagues or friends. This will greatly assist you in establishing your ‘net promoter score’ – a measure for customer experience that allows you to predict business growth or decline. It also gives powerful insights into conference / event loyalty among your delegates, sponsors and exhibitors.

5. Can We Expect You Next Year?

It is vital you understand your attendees’ reasons to return (or not), and whether there were / are actionable items that could increase re-attendance moving forward. Did you deliver what you said / set out to achieve?


In such a busy and time-consumed world, ensure your questions are constructive and well thought out. Understanding the information you require will inform the questions you incorporate.

Take the time to get it right so that you can continually improve your services. We are confident create a productive platform for feedback and listen, you will see consistent improvements to service delivery and relevance.

Jack Slater – Business Development Manager