Current economic challenges are causing business and government professionals to be much more discerning about the money they invest in exhibiting at and attending events. As such, companies and associations that host large user and member conferences must do everything possible to fine-tune and enhance the value they promise and deliver to both exhibitors and attendees.

Research can provide the timely insights necessary to maximize the marketing appeal and actual success of events. Often such studies can be conducted with email surveys, since event organizers typically have email addresses of exhibitors and attendees from the most recent and prior events. Response rates for event research can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, so it’s important to send the survey to as many people as possible within the target population.

Of course, the survey instrument for exhibitors will be different from that for attendees. In addition to seeking open-ended responses on specific event offerings and improvements, exhibitor questionnaires should probe desires and satisfaction levels in areas such as:

  • Event location, venue, and time of year
  • Exhibitor fees
  • Availability of private meeting rooms
  • Sponsors’ planned marketing activities to drive attendance
  • Exhibit hall days and hours within overall event agenda
  • Promised vs. actual attendance numbers as well as specific audience profile data
  • Co-sponsorship and other promotional opportunities prior to and at the event
  • Exhibit floor configuration and booth size options
  • Planned opportunities for socializing with attendees
  • Set-up, storage, and tear-down processes and support services
  • Sxpectations for and actual success in meeting specific business objectives, such as lead generation, identification of potential partners and vendors, face time with key customers, general industry networking, and so forth

Events sponsors should survey past and potential attendees on their desires and satisfaction levels in areas such as:

  • The event location, venue, and time of year
  • The registration cost and process
  • The relevance of exhibitors to their product and service needs
  • Hotel accommodations and transportation services
  • Social/networking/entertainment opportunities, schedule, locations, and quality
  • Topics, depth of content, format/structure, and speakers for plenary sessions and workshops
  • Event sponsors should also survey attendees to measure how successfully the event met their business objectives in areas including, networking, identifying potential partners, gathering actionable market intelligence, and acquiring useful education and professional development

Sometimes the reasons behind event participation and satisfaction can be more complex, particularly where future enhancements are concerned. Based on your unique circumstances, Market Connections can help you determine if, in addition to email surveys, you’d benefit from conducting in-depth interviews, focus groups, and other roundtable discussions on-site at your events to gather attendees’ and exhibitors’ real-time insights for future improvements.

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