Crafting Effective Pre-Event Surveys: A Comprehensive Guide

It is well known that an event is only successful when all the participants’ needs, preferences, and expectations have been met. One way to achieve this is through pre-event surveys—they’re a great tool for gathering information, insights, and expectations from your attendees, speakers, or sponsors before the event. A pre-event survey helps event organizers understand what everyone is expecting and how they can deliver.

By gathering information before your event, you can anticipate what your event participants need and want, leading to happier, more engaged attendees. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the importance of pre-event surveys and provide strategies for using them effectively. This article will walk you through picking the right survey tools, designing the questions, and using the feedback to improve your event planning. 

pre-event surveys

How to Create a Pre-Event Survey 

The key to creating an effective pre-event survey is nailing the right survey platforms and asking the right questions to get your attendees to start talking. If you are a Guidebook customer, you can begin building your survey here today. 

Selecting the right tool

Selecting the right tool for your pre-event survey is all about finding the perfect fit for your needs. Choosing the appropriate software and channel will lay the foundation for a highly successful pre-event survey. For instance, Google Forms is very simple and offers easy collaboration, making it great for straightforward surveys. SurveyMonkey has a range of features and different question types and is very good if you want a detailed survey.  Guidebook customers can easily build surveys within their event app at no extra cost. 

In picking a tool for your needs, consider factors like ease of use, customization options, and how much you are willing to spend on surveys. 

Designing Relevant Questions 

Once you have decided on a platform, the next step is to design questions that will help you get information from your participants. Some question ideas you can start with include:

  • Demographic information: Basic information like age, gender, location, and occupation can help you learn more about your attendees’ profiles.
  • Expectations: Ask your attendees about their expectations for the event, what goals they have, and any specific wishes or requirements.
  • Preferences: Ask if they have any preferences about event format or any special accommodation requirement they may need, such as dietary needs.

Some tips for crafting engaging and informative questions include using plain language and skipping the jargon so everyone understands what you are asking, throwing in different types of questions to keep things interesting—multiple-choice, ratings, and open-ended—and sticking to questions that matter for planning that specific event and skipping the general stuff that doesn’t.

pre-event surveys

Ensuring Clarity and Conciseness

A perfect pre-event survey is one everyone can understand regardless of educational level. Make sure your survey questions are easy to understand as it helps people give accurate answers. Also, keeping the survey short and sweet makes people more likely to participate and give their opinions – especially on mobile 

When to Send the Survey 

Look at this like sending out wedding invitations. You need to send the survey well before the event so that people will have enough time to answer and send their responses. In return, it will give you plenty of time to use their feedback to plan the event according to their preferences. However, it is also essential to find the right balance. If you send it too early, your attendees will forget about it and find it irrelevant. If you send it too late, you won’t have enough time to implement the suggestions or requests.

Factors to Consider 

In addition to timing, here are some other things to consider:

  1. Times when people might be free – For instance, weekdays and business hours may not be ideal as some attendees may be at work. It is better to send the survey in the evenings or on weekends.
  2. Reminders – Consider reminding people who have yet to respond. Some people simply get busy and forget.
  3. Use social media platforms – These help ensure as many people as possible see your survey form.
  4. Where will people complete this?  – Mobile, desktop, paper? – mobile surveys have a 10% higher completion rate than desktop.

Choosing the Right Platform to Host the Survey Email 

Sending survey invitations via email is one of the best ways to reach people. When you send these invitations, make sure to write a message that feels personal and explains why you are doing the survey. Give a quick summary of the event and stress how important it is for them to share their thoughts to improve it. Include a clear button or link to make it easy for them to click the survey link and fill it out. 

Alternatively, use push notifications to encourage people to go straight to your app and complete the form – bypassing cluttered inboxes. 

event management platform

Event Management Platforms 

Registration is usually one of the first steps in organizing an event. This is where you first interact with your attendees, so integrating registration with surveys can provide insights into what your audience is looking forward to most about the event. This can help you shape tailored campaigns for the event and avoid disappointment.

Thankfully, most event planning mobile apps have surveys built in, so you can easily add surveys to the sign-up systems. Conducting surveys on these platforms gives attendees one place to find all the event details and answer questions. Plus, you can quickly see survey results and change event plans as necessary.

Social Media and Websites 

Using social media to distribute surveys can reach more people and elicit more responses. You can post survey links on different social media sites and ask your followers to share them with others. Also, consider putting the survey on your event website or a page dedicated to the event. This makes it easier for attendees to fill out the survey.

What to Include in the Survey 

Here are some important things you might want to include in your pre-event survey:

  1. Event Expectations: Inquire about what attendees hope to gain or experience from the event.
  2. Content Preferences: Find out what topics or activities most interest attendees.
  3. Feedback on Past Events: If applicable, ask for feedback on previous events to learn what worked well and what could be improved. You can read here why collecting feedback from attendees is important.
  4. Preferred Communication Channels: Determine how attendees prefer to receive information about the event. Examples are email, social media, or text messages.
  5. Interest in Additional Activities: Gauge interest in any supplementary activities or workshops you may be considering.
  6. Networking Expectations: Inquire about attendees’ interest in networking opportunities or preferences.
  7. Overall Satisfaction: Include a section where attendees can rate their overall satisfaction with past events or their anticipation for the upcoming one.
  8. Open-Ended Questions: Allow attendees to share any additional comments, suggestions, special wishes, or concerns.

Logistics and Preferences 

Aside from asking about what your attendees expect, be sure to find out about their logistical needs and preferences. This might include dietary restrictions, accessibility requirements, what type of event they prefer (like in-person, virtual, or a mix of both), and topics or speakers they’re interested in. Getting this info upfront helps organizers ensure everyone can participate comfortably and feel included.

Analyzing and Utilizing Survey Responses 

After collecting survey responses, it is important to look at the data carefully to determine what attendees like and want. Break down the data into groups, compare different categories, and check the overall mood of the responses. Look for clear trends or common ideas to help you better plan the event and decide what content to include.

Incorporating Feedback into Event Planning 

Once you have understood what your attendees want from the survey, make changes to the event planning to match their needs. Let attendees know about any changes you make based on their feedback so they know their opinions matter. By listening to feedback and making changes accordingly, you can make the event more enjoyable for everyone, leading to happier attendees and a more successful event overall.

pre-event surveys for your event


Pre-event surveys are helpful if you want to deliver an outstanding event tailored to your attendees’ needs, expectations, and desires. You can learn a lot about what attendees want and think by making sure the surveys are easy to understand, picking the right ways to send them out, and looking at the responses carefully. When you use this feedback to plan the event, you’ll end up with happy attendees who give great reviews and want to use your services again. So, don’t forget about pre-event surveys when planning your event—give them a try and see how much better your events can be!