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How to design an event feedback form: questions to get the insight you want

Posted on 27 May, 2020

Close-up of table at London meeting venue Congress Centre

With the events world having to keep its head down for a little bit longer, now is a great time to give some attention to those processes you normally wouldn’t give a second thought to. It’s usually impossible to find the time to review ‘luxury’ processes that means your event organising company can truly go above and beyond, such as an event feedback form.

If you don’t already have one, an event feedback form is an incredibly valuable tool for any organiser. It’s an unbeatable way of capturing the views and experiences of your event attendees, giving you in-depth and actionable insights on how to improve event after event. Even if you do already have an event feedback form, attention at the moment is on virtual events and if you’re hosting any, they’ll require a different set of questions to the one’s you usually ask.

In normal circumstances, we host a lot of events and so send out a lot of feedback forms! The information we get back informs decisions we make on nearly everything at the venue, from food to AV, to which spaces to renovate next and how to keep boosting guest satisfaction. The same thing can be applied for you as an event organiser.

If you do already use an event feedback form, take a look at whether it’s designed to get the right information out of delegates. Do your questions invite informative, useful responses? Or is it just gathering opinion for the sake of it? There’s lots to take into account, but luckily, we’re here to share all our best advice with you on how to design an event feedback form that gets the answers you want.

Image of an orange wall clock

Timing & Medium

Deciding when and how you want to send your feedback form before you have it could feel a bit counter-intuitive; however the when and how you choose will have an impact on the questions you want to include.

Ideally, you want to send your event feedback form within seven days of the event finishing. People forget things, and the answers you get two weeks later won’t be as detailed or accurate as those you might get after three days. We find the ideal time is about 2-3 days post-event, but if you’re planning to send it up to a week later make sure your questions aren’t overly specific as participants might struggle to recall smaller details.

Medium is crucial to get right too. You want it to be as easy as possible since it can be quite hard to convince people to fill out forms at the best of times! So, to keep it quick and simple for all parties, Google Forms and Survey Monkey are two great platforms for designing event feedback forms with.

Google Forms is intuitive to use and easy to build sets of questions with, as well as allowing lots of flexibility in customising question types. Survey Monkey is free for up to 100 respondents to answer 10 questions, so works well for smaller events where you know exactly what you want to ask. Both collate answers into clear trends and data so you can see what went right (or wrong) without trying to do all the maths yourself!

What should you ask about?

Whether you’re building an event feedback form for a physical or virtual event, some categories can be applied to both event formats. The following elements can be interchanged between either event format.

Elements of a virtual/physical events to ask about:

The Content

Content is everything at a virtual event (and a pretty big deal at most physical ones) so you want to get it spot on.

  • “Did you find the event’s content was relevant to you/informative/engaging?”
  • “Did you find the speaker knowledgeable/engaging when speaking on their topic?”
  • “Were you satisfied by the quality of the content?”
  • “Did you find it easy to interact/get involved with what was going on?”
Man giving a presentation to a group of people

The Scheduling

People don’t mind giving up an hour or two of their time for a good webinar, but they will mind if it was billed as one hour and ends up being three!

  • “How well do you feel the event was kept to time?”
  • “If something overran by more than 10 minutes, did you mind?”
  • “Did you have to leave the virtual event early?”

Marketing & Comms in the build-up

This one is particularly important for you, as you might have felt you’d done a great job promoting your virtual event in the lead up, only to find most participants never saw anything about it, or misunderstood what it was.

  • “How did you find out about this event?”
  • “Do you follow us (or any of the speakers/suppliers etc.) on any social media platforms?”
  • “How closely did your understanding of the event beforehand match the actual event and its content?”

Elements of a physical events to get feedback on:

In addition to the above, you also want to cover the following in any standard event feedback form you design.

Wide shot of BareMinerals conference at Congress Centre

The Venue

You want to know what guests loved (and didn’t love) about your choice of venue. Facilities, atmosphere, location – it all plays a part in their experience.

  • “Did you find it easy to get to the venue?”
  • “Do you think the AV facilities were suitable for the event’s needs?”
  • “Did you think the venue was a good fit for the event?”

The Catering

This might be what we all miss most as there’s no replacement for it at a virtual event! People tend to remember the food more than anything, so you definitely want to know what people liked and what they didn’t.

  • “How would you rate the presentation of the food?”
  • “How would you rate the standard of the food?”
  • “Did you find the catering was served at sensible/optimum times?”

Networking

Networking should be as easy as possible, and while you’re a little bit limited in influencing its success for everyone, there are lots of ways you can help break the ice for people and get them talking.

  • “Did you gain any potential leads at the event?”
  • “Did you find the event was a valuable opportunity for making new connections?”
  • “How easy did you find making connections was with _____________ (element of event that helped break the ice)?”

Tips on question styles

Man filling out a survey on a tablet computer

When you’re designing your event feedback form, use multiple choice questions as frequently as possible. Too many open-ended answers can be tedious not only for the respondent, but you too when you have to go through them all later!

Only ask for open ended answers when multi-choice answers won’t cover the scope of info you’re looking for. Open-ended questions are also difficult to collate and get meaningful data trends from since it’s down to your interpretation of their experience – it’s not always black and white and so can be hard to judge what to take from a lot of mixed comments.

Aim to use Likert-scale options for multi-choice questions: five radio buttons that cover a scale of options from e.g. ‘Very Unsatisfied’ to ‘Very Satisfied’. A simple ‘yes or no’ can be valuable too, as is a longer selection of options sometimes (i.e. “Where did you hear about this event?” Magazines, social media, word of mouth etc.) followed by a comment box to offer another option or any thoughts.

What do you do with the feedback?

Once you’ve gathered all that feedback, next comes the fun part!

Take a look at the responses to your survey and take note of what was rated positively and less positively. The actions you should take next will depend on the questions you asked and the answers you got back, but in general look at what was rated the most poorly and aim to come up with an action plan on how to improve it at your next event. For example, if respondents would have liked more time to network, aim to accommodate more for this in future.

Equally, look at what participants were most happy with and, if you can, deduce why they were so happy with it. If you can crack the secret to what you’re doing right, you can apply it to the elements of your event that need more love. Then, rinse and repeat. With every event you learn which areas to focus on and improve, whilst also getting to know what people love the most about all the events you plan.

Get in touch with the team at Congress Centre

If you’d like to discuss your ideas for an event with us in the near future – you can contact a member of our venue team on 020 7467 1318 or on congress.centre@tuc.org.uk.