February 28, 2020
By Madison Layman

The end of your event doesn’t signal the end of the event lifecycle. In fact, the end means that you’ve entered into the most impactful part of the event – event analysis. According to the Event Technology Engagement Study by Cvent & Event Marketing Institute, 88% of respondents say capturing data is very important to their events. This data is critical to determining event success. But it doesn’t stand alone. Without analysis, there is no accurate measure of success. This analysis requires insights, survey results, and more. An event reporting guide should be the final step in the event lifecycle.

What is an Event Report?

An event report can have many forms, but the purpose is the same, to prove event success. It can be a report, a presentation, or even an email. While format matters, the most important aspect of event reporting is to provide stakeholders with data on how the event met (and succeeded!) event goals. The event report can be thought of as the follow-up to an event proposal. Where the proposal outlined event purpose, goals, and budget, the event reporting guide is the follow-up.  It is a document that reviews the success and impact of your meeting or event and identifies growth highlights.

Why do event reporting guides matter?

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Data is universal. While it may be clear to a planner that one event was more successful than another, without metrics it can’t be proven. With the right event marketing and management technology, event data is readily available. At times, the amount of data about attendees and the event can seem overwhelming, which is why these guides are important. Choosing what metrics to look at and understanding what success looks like for each event means that marketers and planners can activate data to work for them. There is no guesswork. Post-event reporting is that last step in the event lifecycle and an event isn’t complete without it. It proves the effectiveness of a meeting and events program to the C-Suite and links events to organizational success.

Create a Standard Event Reporting Guide

Not all events are the same. From small internal trainings to multi-day conferences, each event seeks to accomplish a different goal. But, even with different event types, the process for planning and reporting on events largely stays the same. Standardization can help align your meeting and event programs to improve them as a whole. It can also provide a common language to speak about event success that stakeholders will understand. Event reports should cover the same points regardless of the event, with slight variations here and there.

Benefits of an Event Reporting Template

  • Consistency across meeting and event planners

  • Clear expectation of how to close out an event

  • Standard language to explain success
  • Cuts down on time spent creating a report from scratch after each event

Don’t get bogged down in the details - focus on growth highlights

It’s natural to want to include all event details about the event (classic everything but the kitchen sink syndrome), but the purpose of an event report is to convey to stakeholders why the event mattered, what the successes were, and what challenges to review for next time. It’s not about the details, but about the big picture. That doesn’t mean that details don’t matter but take care when editing what goes in the report. And, if you want the reporting guide to be a complete account of the event, utilize an appendix. Keep the high-level information up front and send the complete list of all sessions to the back.  

What to Include in an Event Report

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The hardest step is creating a template. We’ve broken down the basic sections that could be included in an Event Report.  Remember, data and analytics factor into every aspect of the report. While we’ve outlined a way to organize your event thoughts, always include data when possible.

Target Audience

Before writing your event report, it’s important to identify the target audience. Each stakeholder will want to know something different about the event and will define event success. The target audience won’t be included in the actual report but knowing from the start will help you understand who should be in post-event meetings and receive the report. For instance, the CMO might care about social media reach while a sales leader wants to know how many leads were captured at the event. Your job is to make the event matter to each stakeholder. To do that, you need to understand their motivation and the language they speak. 

Who will read this report? Identify individuals from different departments.

  • C-Suite
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Event Team

Event Name

Include the event name, date, and location.

Team

Who planned the event and what were their roles? Showing who managed food and beverage or who was in charge of scheduling staff allows stakeholders to direct questions to the correct individual or give praise. The team worked hard, give them credit for the jobs they did. 

Mission Statement or Event Objective

The event objective and primary goals should have been identified before the event in the early planning stages. Pull them into the report early to refresh the team on the measures of event success. They will guide the rest of the event report and show success or identify areas of improvement.

Attendee Demographics

Show who attended the event. Was the audience you were targeting who attended the event? Include the target demographic and personas, the various types of personas (sponsor, exhibitor, attendee), and any other interesting data gathered during the event.

Event Agenda

Include a quick overview of the event agenda or consider including it in the appendix.

Budget

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Everyone understands the language of dollars and cents. The event budget is not the primary indication of event success, but it is important. Consider including an abbreviated budget that highlights the basics. Did the event stick to the budget? Did what the event make money? Include the full budget in the appendix. Your C-Suite will probably be most interested in the budget. 

Data and Analytics: Numbers to Include

Your event report can take any form. Whether you lead with big wins or an event summary is up to you. There is no right or wrong way. Creating a concise guide that is easy to skim is the key. We’ve identified some data points that can be included in your event report. These help to prove success across many departments and functions.

Attendance

  • Final attendance numbers broken down by demographic
  • Final registration numbers

MQLs/Pipeline/Bookings

  • Number of qualified leads
  • Money in pipeline or bookings as a result of event
  • Insights on products/sessions/event of interest

Trade Show Recap

  • Number of appointments scheduled and attended
  • Number of leads scanned
  • Foot traffic to booths
  • Number of meetings per exhibitor

Event Marketing

  • Number of people reached on social media with advertising value compared to prior year
  • Number of visits to social profiles from event posts
  • Number of new followers
  • Total reach

Attendee Satisfaction Based on Survey Results

  • % satisfied
  • % attending the next year (if repeat event)
  • Testimonials

Event Content

  • Highest attended and lowest attended sessions
  • Session scores and survey responses

Sponsorship

  • Budgeting breakdown of sponsorship
  • Increase from previous year
  • Sponsorship satisfaction and desire to sponsor in the future

Sample Event Report

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Your event report should work for you. Below is a sample Table of Contents with one way to organize an event reporting guide.

Sample Event Report Table of Contents

Title Page

  • Event Name
  • Event Date
  • Event Location

Executive Summary

  • Event Summary

High-level achievements

  • Post-Event Recommendations

Introduction

Event Planning Team

Event Mission Statement or Objectives

Event Budget

Event Information

  • Venue
  • Accommodation

Agenda

  • Content and Speakers
  • Staffing

Event Marketing

  • Email Marketing and Event Promotion
  • Social Media Outreach
  • Advocacy Programs

Sponsorship

Exhibitors

Future Recommendations

Appendix

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Madison Layman

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents.

When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.

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