Use Mobile To Gather Attendee Feedback

UPCEA uses Guidebook to learn more about their attendees

You have the power to make your conference better. The key is being in touch with the people who experience it firsthand. Think of the things that you did during your last conference: solved logistical emergencies like a conference ninja, pitched in at the registration table when you were down a man, rewrote the entire welcome speech an hour before. But how much of it was spent experiencing it as if you were one of your attendees?

The truth is, not many organizers will ever have the luxury of just simply attending their event. Organizers can, however, take advantage of attendee feedback to understand an event’s inner workings. In fact, asking for feedback might be the only way to truly improve on an event. Some would argue that you’re simply wasting your time if you’re not soliciting feedback. UPCEA has been able to use Guidebook to make sure that feedback surveys are easily in the hands of their conference attendees.

Providing real professional development

The University Professional & Continuing Education Association is a 99 year old organization with 400 institutions that serve over 4,000 members. A membership in UPCEA gives professionals in the field of professional, continuing, and online education access to innovative conferences and specialty seminars in order to meet their professional development needs.

Each year UPCEA holds 8 conferences – 3 national and 5 regional – and uses Guidebook to create mobile guides for each one of them.

Attendees at a general session

UPCEA values attendee feedback

Patrick O’Rourke, UPCEA’s Associate Director for Membership and Corporate Engagement, has taken on the task of building the organization’s national guides and considers feedback to be essential to a conference.

“It’s a moral imperative to do assessments at a conference – especially an academic one.”

Coming from higher education, it was a no-brainer for Patrick that UPCEA’s conferences needed to be evaluated in order to assess their effectiveness. How do you know which sessions are good unless you are conducting an evaluation? Now UPCEA is able to easily establish that information.

Patrick sees including session feedback surveys in the guides as a way to not only evaluate individual sessions, but also as a way to attach a value to entire conferences and all 8 conferences together. Now UPCEA can evaluate regional conferences, see what people are saying about their marketing conference, or even break out feedback given by members versus non-members.

Making surveys accessible by making them mobile

Patrick was able to employ different ways of gathering feedback. For last year’s Marketing Seminar, an overall conference evaluation survey was accomplished with third party survey web software. Each individual session then had its own evaluation survey within the app that had been created with Guidebook’s feedback module. Driving attendees to the session feedback was easy due to the fact that they were already using the mobile guide for event information.

Patrick ORourke explains using the mobile app

Patrick O’Rourke explains to attendees how to use the Guidebook app.

Keeping session surveys short and to the point also ensured that attendees would be willing to participate. Length is a major factor in whether attendees will engage with your feedback survey. SurveyMonkey found that nearly half of people will give your survey 5 minutes at the most.

Type of feedback depends on when you collect it

Having session feedback and overall feedback allows for different levels of evaluation. When attendees rate a session in real time, Patrick finds that he will receive information he might not get two days later with a more general survey. For example, he may have never known that the room was too cold in one particular session without immediate session feedback.

More general conference feedback, however, was best saved for a more comprehensive survey. SurveyMonkey suggests sending a more comprehensive feedback survey after the event to get a holistic view of your attendees’ overall satisfaction.

For UPCEA, Guidebook is delivering a convenient way to know exactly how their attendees are reacting to their events – information that will only be used to improve their conferences in the future. Patrick has been able to integrate different levels of feedback all within the mobile guide – ensuring that the surveys are used and give actionable results.

“Assessments are the most important thing we do with Guidebook.”

Create your own app today, and use mobile surveys to improve your event year-over-year!