Event Management

Be Like Disney: Stop With Post-Event Surveys

Skift Take

The time has come to revolutionize the clunky post-event survey. Everybody knows that it’s smart to survey attendees to hear about their thoughts on their experience. But why wait until after the event to get feedback?

This is a sponsored post written by Sean Burke, Director of Marketing at Ticketbud. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

Thankfully, there are new and better ways to handle the delayed process of post-event surveys. With an optimal amount of real-time user data, you can work to make sure your event is a great experience for all involved. You might also find that the process will result in attendees feeling more appreciated, and that their feedback really matters.

You might have read about Walt Disney World and their RFID wristbands that help them tailor the experience to each family. As a leader in family entertainment, you can be sure that Disney has spent millions of dollars in research to discover the optimal experience for their visitors. This article will allow you to piggyback off their research and subsequent success without spending hundreds of millions!

Pre-Event Surveys

This is a topic everyone knows, so I just wanted to add one thing: spice up the generic list of pre-event registration questions. Yes, you want to know the attendee name, where they’re from, their title, and all the basic lists of information such as dietary requirements. Have you ever thought, though, of learning more about your attendees beyond what you need to know? Why not try to learn more about what they like? Information like their hobbies, a fun fact about the attendee, and other info can give you a more holistic look. You might also begin to find similarities in your audience. For example, at a company I worked at, we would ask users during demos what their interests are. We found that a lot of them are into Star Wars, which isn’t a surprise given the huge pop culture influence. This led to us tailoring some our demos to have fun, fictional elements to it. These tended to convert even better than normal.

It’s not always possible to use outside interests and facts easily during your event – but if you could, why wouldn’t you? The name of the game is true personalization. Nobody wants to feel as if they are just a credit card or a seat. The more you attempt to learn about your attendees, the more you can make them feel appreciated. In the midst of the required fields, it might be a breath of fresh air.

Intra-Event Surveys

Surveys during events can be tough to handle, and for a number of reasons. A traditional way to handle an intra-event survey is to ask people with a questionnaire, at which point people will answer it. However, the issue with this is that these are normally only counted after the event ends. This means it will be too late to answer any complaints, or to follow up on anything time-sensitive. Some events have kiosks that people can go to, but who’s going to want to bother? The wave of the future, in my eyes, are passive surveys. And what do I mean by this?

When it comes to doing surveys during events, you must have an event app. Ideally, it will have GPS tracking capabilities and a way to view the location of attendees within a geo-fenced area. This is because GPS tracking is by far the best way to manage attendees during the course of conferences and events. If there are booths and exhibits, it can be powerful to know where attendees are gathering, where there are “traffic jams”, and where there are points of disinterest. If you’re running a VR event or you’re having experiential product, you’ll want to know that people are using these products, especially if you have sponsors.

At Disneyland, their RFID Wristbands called (what else?) Magicbands  are used to find what rides have extremely long lines and wait times, as well as information regarding dining at the theme park. Instant feedback – they’re even able to offer coupons and niceties to groups that have been standing in line for a stretch of time. As you can imagine, this is very well received, and appreciated. It also does a great job of fixing pain points within the theme park as they happen. You also have an opportunity to exhibit timely customer service, something every event needs.

There’s no reason why you can’t do the same with your events, with these tools:

  • GPS tracking Event App
  • Way to view backend data in real time
  • Someone to be able to see this data and respond as necessary

Thinking More During The Event

I’m a big fan of passive surveys such as movement data and immediate response, because you will capture the most accurate data. Most human psychology studies have come to the conclusion that people tend to act with their emotions, and then rationalize their choice with logic. People will even answer questions regarding their likes and dislikes, and then prove themselves wrong during their daily lives. Don’t saddle yourself with people answering questions just because they have to – learn through the event app!

The second part to the “passive” survey is the “active survey”. The active survey is more likely to be useful during conferences with speakers. At the end of every speaking session, for example, you could have people rate the speakers as well as provide any input. Again, time is of the essence. You’re probably also aware of why, and it comes down to memory. It’s why witness testimony is the weakest form of evidence in courts, and it’s the same reason why you shouldn’t rely on post-event surveys to make adjustments for subsequent years. According to Daniel Kahneman, a renowned economist, people who are exposed to something negative at the end of an experience are more likely to remember the whole experience as poor.

Again, I think that the Disney Magicband is the gold standard for what event organizers should be looking at when they want to know what to fix for subsequent years. The best customer service will always be the service that is time-sensitive. If it’s extremely hot in the room, are you going to rely on some customer service kiosk to let you know in real time? If the speaker is boring, you will want to know as soon as possible. This is also great data that you can hand to sponsors to justify their investment – “X amount of people went here, and you spent $Y so you had a great customer to spend ratio”.

In Conclusion

Intra-event surveys are the wave of the future for learning more about your attendees likes and dislikes. This is because you get to learn about them as they are actually experiencing the event, rather than attempting to recall what happened after the fact. You also have the unique opportunity respond to attendees during the event. Now that’s service! Learning more about movement habits will positively influence how you set up vendors, which vendors to put together, and how to get the best out for your sponsors.