Patricia Johnson

Music News, Reviews, and Interviews

The Importance of Attendee Feedback at Conferences and Events

We recently partnered with the Fast Casual Executive Summit 2012 team to provide our mobile surveys to attendees at this week’s conference held in San Diego, which was a great learning experience for both teams! We’re not only providers of mobile feedback surveys to conferences but also are attendees of many conferences and tradeshows ourselves. We’re taking our unique perspective and turning it into best practices that can help you make the most of your event to improve your feedback program, and ultimately the likeliness of your attendees joining you again for your next event.

Going back a few years, the 2008 recession has had a significant negative impact across our economy, leading all business owners to examine how effectively their money is being spent. The meetings and conventions industry has certainly felt this impact; Architectural Record reports that both the number of conventions and convention attendance has declined in the last decade.

Though the industry is beginning to show signs of recovery, many meeting planners have had to remain on their toes amid budget cuts. In a 2010 survey of meeting planners by the Professional Convention Management Association, 26% of planners expected their budgets to be cut in the year ahead. Of that number, 80% stated the budget cuts were due to “general economic conditions,” and they expected to book fewer meetings, due to the cost of food and beverage, transportation, and lodging.

Under these conditions, it is more important than ever for meeting planners to stretch their dollars and ensure limited funds are spent as efficiently as possible. However, meeting planners must also avoid a decline in quality despite cost cutting measures. To maintain this balance, planners should pay very close attention to guest satisfaction, using attendee feedback to streamline operations and eliminate unnecessary expenditures while keeping satisfaction high.

Customer feedback cards are one example of inefficient spending: response rates are low, and they are very time-consuming to process and analyze. Instead, meeting planners would be wise to take advantage of On The Spot System’s mobile, real-time survey system to gather feedback from event attendees. Attendees can complete the user-friendly survey on their own mobile phones, sending valuable feedback to meeting planners on every aspect of the conference including facilities, staff, registration process, speakers, individual sessions, materials, location, dining options, and more. Instant alerts notify meeting planners of any negative feedback so they can react quickly to resolve the problem if possible.

Survey results are collected and displayed using On The Spot System’s customizable reporting tools. Meeting planners can easily view and analyze statistics from one or multiple events, allowing them to identify strengths and weaknesses and to pinpoint specific areas for improvement for future events. By using On The Spot Systems and obtaining a wealth of quality feedback from attendees, meeting planners are able to organize quality conferences and events despite shrinking budgets.

Nevertheless, technology can only make it quicker and easier to collect feedback- not fool proof. It’s important to remember that even with a mobile feedback system you have to promote the surveys to your audience to reach your goal response rate. It’s as easy as reminding people to do the surveys at the end of each session. When you stress the importance of feedback, you’ll leave the impression with your audience that their feedback is valuable and will be taken seriously. When they know it’s worth their time, you’d be surprised how willing your audience will be to take out their smartphones to fill out your mobile surveys!

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