Event Management

15 Successful Ways to Get Event Feedback

Skift Take

Most event surveys haven’t changed since copiers came out. They’re boring and feel more like an obligation than something an attendee wants to do. Plus, everyone is on the survey bandwagon now. You can’t walk into a business without someone asking how they did. And, honestly, aren’t we all a little tired of surveys? Keep your event surveys from becoming annoying with these 15 fun and engaging ways to get feedback.

Are you struggling to get feedback from attendees? Do you dislike traditional surveys? Maybe you’re looking for ways to make feedback collection more organic and less forced? If so, you’re not alone. Creative ways to obtain feedback outside of the boring survey method is something we’re asked often at EventMB. Here are 15 suggestions for how to get feedback without turning to surveys.

  1. Beacons. Beacons can be used to push a quick survey onto a phone at the time when your guest is leaving the area. This can be done for specific exhibits, attractions, or even movies (they use this approach at the Tribeca Film Festival). Since the beacon uses technology to know where someone is, it can match the message accordingly, like when someone is exiting a room.
  1. Maps. A popular interactive way to get feedback is to invite people to place a pin or sticky note on a map of where they’re from. While they’re leaving a note about themselves, ask them to write something on the note about their experience.
  1. Tie it in. Ask people leaving your venue to provide a pictorial representation of what they thought and then tie it into the type of event you’re hosting. For instance, for an art gala,  you can place canvases around the exit and encourage people to sketch or paint what the event made them feel. Simple smiley faces can suffice.
  1. Selfie emoji option. Ask attendees if they want to be part of a selfie expression art piece. Have photo props that exhibit emotions or use large versions of emojis. Ask them to choose the one that best fits their event experience. Take a picture of them and ask if they wouldn’t mind if you upload it to social media.
    1. Conversation starters. Take a tip from the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. They used conversation starters as a way to get feedback. They invited guests to finish one of the following sentences about the event:
      • I made ___________
      • I loved ___________
      • I met ____________
      • I learned _________

They then took pictures of guests with their written answers and asked if they could post them to social media. 90% said yes! An added bonus to this type of input is that it requires people to think about the value they got out of your event.

  1. Go straight for the review. While it is a little risky, because online reviews shape decision making and search results, if it fits your venue you could create a campaign that concentrates on getting online reviews and not feedback surveys. Place QR codes in areas that attendees congregate. The codes should lead directly to a popular review site or a contact form for testimonials. You could also use a push notification to provide a direct link and ask them to share their experience online or on social media. Most people just need to be asked and a review may be far more effective than a simple survey. Plus, most people enjoy seeing their names online so they will get more value from reviewing you this way than they would from a survey.
  1. Recycling. If your event gives out paper agendas, programs, or other paper toss-outs to attendees, and you have exit recycling bins, turn them into experience barometers for a very unofficial straw poll. Cover a few bins with emojis and encourage attendees to drop their recycling in the one that fits their event experience.
  1. Text message. Shortly after attendees have left your event (or an individual session), send them a text thanking them for attending and ask them to text you back with 1-3 words that describe their experience. This is best left to an opt-in program because some people do not enjoy getting texts and there are other concerns like data overages that you don’t want to contend with.
  1. Facebook check-in. Invite attendees to check in on Facebook (if you have a page for your event) and ask them to leave a comment or give you a star rating in order to be entered into a prize draw of your choosing.
  1. Fun images. Hang several pictures in your exit area or an area where people congregate. The pictures should be large enough to serve as a backdrop for a selfie and each of them should convey an emotion. Tie the image into your event or your theme. For instance, a zoological conference might have a picture of an angry rhino, a chimp with his head buried in his hands, and a smiling polar bear. Ask guests to take a selfie with the one that best describes their time at your event. Give them a hashtag and encourage them to share it. You may not be able to run deep analytics on this but it’s a fun, engaging way to get attendees to participate and give feedback. The one downside is that if that angry rhino is too cute, people may select getting their picture taken with it just for fun.
  1. Slow-motion video. As people are exiting your venue, ask them to go into a video booth and give a 2-10 second physical depiction of their event experience. Then put together several of the videos you recorded, slow them down and set them to a catchy song. Results are hysterical. Here’s a good video about how to do it.
  1. Ask. Post staff near the exits and ask each person leaving (or as many as they can get to) to use one word to describe what they thought of the event experience. Record responses.
  1. iPad stations. Conduct a quick 1-3 question survey on iPads throughout the public space. Just make sure they’re secured well. You don’t want someone walking off with one of those the way they do pens.
  1. Use mobile. Make a survey available in a mobile version through your app and alert people to fill it out as they’re leaving (through the beacon technology mentioned earlier).
  1. Show instantaneous results on the first question. If you’re surveying people electronically, let them see an instantaneous list of how others answered in graph form. This sparks a natural curiosity and will get them to complete the other questions as well. If you’re using other indicators of sentiment, find a way to post those either to a monitor or by updating a poster with results. People are naturally curious and it builds community. Plus, attendees are more apt to agree to provide their opinions if they know others are doing it as well.

In Conclusion

Surveys are so boring. It’s time to spice up your event analysis with these ideas. While the less than scientific approach may have some analysts shaking their heads, most of these ways are so fun, they continue the enjoyment of your event outside of it instead of providing a disruption. After all, you want attendees to feel the magic of your event as they leave not be bogged down with surveys in their in-box.

Want more ideas on this topic? Read:
5 Interactive Ways to Get Real-time Interactive Feedback
15 Ideas to Collect Feedback at Events
Face RecognitionThe End of Event Feedback Forms?