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 outlines the 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?
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. Event data is readily available with the right event marketing and management technology. Sometimes, 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 the last step in the event lifecycle; 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 successes
- 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 upfront and send the complete list of all sessions to the back.
What to Include in an Event Report
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.
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.
- Event Team
Include the event name, date, and location.
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.
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.
Include a quick overview of the event agenda or consider including it in the appendix.
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 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.
- Final attendance numbers, broken down by demographic
- Final registration numbers
- Number of qualified leads
- Money in the pipeline or bookings as a result of the event
- Insights on products/sessions/events of interest
Trade Show Recap
- Number of appointments scheduled and attended
- Number of leads scanned
- Foot traffic to booths
- Number of meetings per exhibitor
- Number of people reached on social media with advertising value compared to the 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)
- Highest-attended and lowest-attended sessions
- Session scores and survey responses
- Budgeting breakdown of sponsorship
- Increase from the previous year
- Sponsorship satisfaction and desire to sponsor in the future
Sample Event Report
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
- Event Name
- Event Date
- Event Location
- Event Summary
- Post-Event Recommendations
Event Planning Team
Event Mission Statement or Objectives
- Content and Speakers
- Email Marketing and Event Promotion
- Social Media Outreach
- Advocacy Programs