KPI’s for Event Success: 7 Metrics for Meeting Planners

As the savvy meeting planner you are, you already know how difficult it is to put on a great event.  

If you work for a corporation, attendance at your event is probably required. (But you’re not off the hook  – you still want attendees to enjoy the event!) If you’re holding an event for an association, attendance is optional. Getting members to attend is increasingly more difficult.

It’s valuable to gather data, analyze it, and then use that information to improve your processes for future events.

But what Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should you follow? What metrics will give you the valuable insight you need to put on a successful event?

KPI’s for event success 

Check out these crucial metrics for meeting planners to track event success.

1. Check-in

The first component to measure is how many people have arrived and checked in.

You may have a ton of registrants, but if they don’t actually show up, it doesn’t matter.

Comparing these two numbers can give you more information than you think.

For example, if the discrepancy is too large between who’s registering and who comes, you’ll need to look into the issue and try to determine the cause – or where the drop off occurs in the marketing process.

Bonus Tip: 

Make the check-in process a great experience for people. If possible, stage a separate area to process people to check in (separate from the normal hotel registration desk), where they can pick up an event packet, check in to their room, etc.

2. Number of returning attendees

You may not think of this metric for assessing the success of an event, but it lends valuable data.

These numbers let you know if your events are resonating with your target audience and if you’re providing them with value. How many people have attended three, five or even ten years in a row? Why are they coming that often? 

If the number of returning attendees is low, it’s time to re-evaluate your event. 

Are you hiring speakers who know how to bring energy to the event? 

Are there enough interactive sessions or do you have too many boring talking heads? 

Are the topics covered timely and beneficial?

Bonus Tip: 

Prepare a video to announce next year’s event or special location, and deliver it at the end of the current event – especially if you’re part of an association – to build interest. Consider giving people a special price if they sign up now. 

3. What percentage of people are there for the closing session? 

The trend is for conferences to be shorter not longer. 

Events that used to be three or four days are now two or three days. When events end at noon, people tend to skip that last day or session. So the trend is to host attendees for several full days.

My advice in general is that less is more. As Jim Rohn taught me: Brevity is Power. Simply measure how many are at your closing session to see if you need to adjust your schedule. 

4. Mentions on social media

Create a simple, memorable hashtag for your event, and then encourage attendees to use it. This will encourage people to “mention” your event on social media, and as a result, get your event some really good press and exposure.

(A social media mention is when someone gives the event a shout-out in a post on Facebook, Instagram, etc.) 

Here are some ways to encourage mentions:

  • Promote your event even before the event begins. Ask attendees to submit a social media post about why the are coming. 
  • At the event, ask attendees to post their “best ideas” to share with others.
  • Have some fun, unique, unexpected things happen at your event that will encourage people to post on social media. 

After the event, analyze the hashtags and mentions, and then use the insights to improve next year’s event success.

5. Social media engagement

Engagement is different than a social media mention. 

It happens when one of your event attendees likes, shares or retweets a post.

This provides you with a good indication of which speakers, sessions – and the event, as a whole – resonated with the audience.

Make sure you’re putting out plenty of social media content for your attendees to engage with.

Bonus Tip: 

Use an event app so that attendees can easily upload pictures throughout the occasion and upload social media posts from the app. Some event apps event let you play customized group games to promote engagement in large groups and give you feedback after the event is over.

6. NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Are you ready to get a little more mathematical?

The NPS is determined by the answers to one question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this event to friends?

Here’s how you can break down the scores:

  • Promoters. This is the group of people who scored your event at a 9 or 10. You can count on these people to be loyal and enthusiastic about your brand.
  • Passives. When someone scores your event as a 7 or 8, they’re considered satisfied attendees, though they’re still vulnerable to competitors.
  • Detractors. If attendees score your event anywhere between 0 and 6, they’re considered detractors. This is a group that could potentially give negative reviews that damage your brand. 

Once you have the numbers, you can come up with a Net Promoter Score like this:

% Promoters – % Detractors

This score is an overall indication of how satisfied your audience was.

You can also use this information to your advantage. For example, give the Promoters an incentive to invite a colleague to next year’s event. 

Bonus Tip: 

To ensure you have a ton of promoters, make sure you have the necessary equipment to take quality video testimonials of attendees talking about how awesome the event was. These will be invaluable for promoting next year’s event. Make sure you ask people specific questions so they don’t just say, “The event was great!” You want feedback like, “The speaker’s insights helped us create a much more effective sales system.” And if you really want people to participate in surveys and video testimonials, give them an incentive to, such as having a drawing for a free ticket to next year’s event or a gift card.

7. Survey attendee satisfaction

The most direct way to find out if the attendees enjoyed your event is to ask them. 

Ask specific questions and provide guidelines, like a 1-5 numbering system.

This will give you quantifiable data that will reveal deeper insights about aspects such as organization, speakers, meeting theme, and so on.

As a meeting planner, this KPI for event success is valuable when preparing your next conference.

Bonus Tip: 

Taking steps before the event takes place to entice people to attend will lead to a successful event. Note: Ask your speakers to do customized videos and send them out to your list. This will build lots of interest and drive enrollment.

Use these KPI’s to measure event success

Assessing the success of an event is important for improving your processes in the future.

Look at the number of people who check in, compare it to the amount of registrants, and calculate the Net Promoter Score.

Keep up with what’s going on with your social media accounts, take simple surveys to gauge audience satisfaction, and pay attention to the number of return attendees.

As a meeting planner, you should use the data you gather from these KPIs to continually bring value to your target audience and make next year’s event even better. 

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