Reviewing your event: key indicators to use

Reviewing your event: key indicators to use

Once your event is over, it is very impor­tant to take stock before plan­ning your next one. It can be dif­fi­cult to know what to look for among all the data col­lect­ed. At the end of your event, nat­u­ral­ly you will seek the return on invest­ment of all this organ­i­sa­tion and the pos­i­tive impacts of your choic­es and deci­sions. What are the data and indi­ca­tors to track in order to know how to make a clear and sol­id assess­ment of your event?

Your goals will change depend­ing on the type of event, and so will the choice of indi­ca­tors to analyse and interpret.

Sales & revenues

Quite sim­ply, if you organ­ised a paid event the first ques­tions you will ask when you review will be: did you break even? Did you achieve your sales tar­get? Has your income exceed­ed your expens­es? Have you made a profit?

The num­ber of tick­ets sold per day, your sales num­bers and whether your tar­gets in terms of num­ber of reg­is­tra­tions or seats sold has been reached. Was the event sold-out before­hand or on the con­trary did it all sell-out at the last minute or on site? Can you spot any sig­nif­i­cant sales peri­ods dur­ing the year (hol­i­days, sum­mer sea­son or, on the con­trary, dur­ing the winter, …)?

The sea­son­al­i­ty of your sales is impor­tant in order to give you insights into the pur­chas­ing behav­iour of your audi­ence but also the actions — or lack of them — that may have affect­ed sales. Read­ing the data allows you to make fore­casts and antic­i­pate for the fol­low­ing year.

It is also inter­est­ing to have a look at your atten­dees’ aver­age shop­ping bas­ket, in rela­tion to the num­ber of tick­ets sold, the aver­age bas­ket is an indi­ca­tor of pur­chas­ing behav­iour: do they buy in a bulk? Sin­gle? Fre­quent­ly — if your events are recur­ring — or through­out the event peri­od — mul­ti­ple ses­sions, days, edi­tions? In this con­text, the tick­ets sold first or fastest are also an indi­ca­tor — are they pass­es, pro­mo offers or 1‑day tickets?

This data should be com­pared with your pro­gram­ming for exam­ple, or per­haps the weath­er played a part on the deci­sions of the atten­dees, is accom­mo­da­tion too few and far between in the area to allow peo­ple to stay longer than a day, etc.

For exam­ple, if your atten­dees’ pur­chas­ing behav­iour tends toward bulk pur­chas­es but sales were late, why not offer group prices ear­li­er in the year, organ­ise enter­tain­ment or pub­lic trans­port to facil­i­tate their arrival and/or improve their experience.

And what about rev­enues on site? If you have a dema­te­ri­alised pay­ment sys­tem on site, you can track cash­less sales and have an overview of the real-time rev­enue, giv­ing you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to react and adjust, mod­u­late cer­tain aspects of the event.

Website tracking data

These indi­ca­tors are crit­i­cal to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of your buy­ers and atten­dees: socio-demo­graph­ic data, ori­gin — do they come from social media or rather your adver­tis­ing pur­chas­es and media part­ner­ships? Blog posts and SEO?

Track­ing vis­its to your web­site is a great way to under­stand the behav­iour of your buy­ers but also of those who did not make a pur­chase: Where did they stop and why? Brows­ing may have seemed dif­fi­cult or infor­ma­tion they were look­ing for may be miss­ing. These are indi­ca­tors to track from the begin­ning — you can make improve­ments before your event by mak­ing small changes to the web­site or by com­mu­ni­cat­ing about the issues flagged!

Indicators for your communication campaigns

Relat­ed to your web­site track­ing, it makes sense to track the fall­out of your online and offline com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paigns. It is eas­i­er to do this online as you can track your pages, posts, arti­cles and ads stats and see at what time your audi­ence is con­nect­ed and most atten­tive to your mes­sage (using engage­ment as a proxy, i.e. clicks, com­ments, shares).

Through­out your com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paigns, you will be able to see the impact they have on vis­its to your web­site for exam­ple, or on your sales. The impact of print cam­paigns in terms of vis­i­bil­i­ty or expo­sure will be observed using the above-men­tioned indicators.

In terms of media, doing a press review will give you an overview of the media impact once the event is over: arti­cles men­tion­ing you, inter­views giv­en, con­tacts made after send­ing press releas­es or com­mu­ni­ca­tion time.


First­ly, com­pare the first indi­ca­tor — i.e. sales and rev­enue — to the num­ber of peo­ple actu­al­ly present at your event. Access con­trol at the door allows you to track your even­t’s fill in real time, peak hours, num­ber of par­tic­i­pants and the type of attendee — based on their tick­et. Turnout is a key piece of infor­ma­tion to mea­sure the suc­cess of your event.

At the end of the event, do not hes­i­tate to ask your atten­dees and your teams for feed­back. Using an e‑mailing cam­paign, you can send a form to col­lect their views. Remem­ber to do it as soon as the event has end­ed, par­tic­i­pants will answer and take the time to fill out the form while this is fresh in their minds.

It is impor­tant to care­ful­ly con­sid­er the ques­tions — only ask questions/opinions for which you have a real need for data and feed­back. Ask about the dif­fer­ent parts of the event: recep­tion, cater­ing, solu­tion, jour­ney and user-expe­ri­ence. Do not for­get the open-end­ed com­ments to give them an oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak their minds. The form must remain short and sim­ple — drop-down menu, mul­ti­ple choice, scale or rat­ing — to encour­age atten­dees to respond and to avoid cre­at­ing a bar­ri­er that will cause them to give up before the end.

All this infor­ma­tion will enable you to draw con­clu­sions for your next event and its sales and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy. The good times to com­mu­ni­cate, which mes­sages to con­vey and any poten­tial pro­mo­tion­al campaigns.

Take time to analyse, com­pare with pre­vi­ous years and oth­er events. Your teams’ and ser­vice providers’ feed­back is just as impor­tant — were there any unfore­seen events that could have an impact on atten­dees’ feed­back and on their experience?

Pay atten­tion to both neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive feed­back, it’s very important!

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