Your meeting went off without any major glitches. But, was it a triumph?

No matter your role, you always want to make each meeting more effective than the last. However, determining if an event was a ‘win’ can mean different things to all parties involved. Most meetings have a wide range of stakeholders, from planners to speakers to sponsors. This can often make it difficult to get a true reading of an event’s success.

Moreover, it’s easy to overlook evaluating performance and sentiment afterward, with all the other details and stress surrounding event planning.

While each event and the total number of its stakeholders vary, at the heart of every meeting – large or small – are three parties:

  1. organizer
  2. venue
  3. participants

It’s crucial to get a post-event assessment from all three perspectives. The learnings from these reviews can provide invaluable feedback and guidance for future meetings and events. These “take-aways”can benefit planners and venues alike.

Current Evaluation Methods

Most hotels and hotel brands have formal ways of tracking satisfaction of transient guests. However, evaluating meeting planner satisfaction is often more sporadic and informal. Various methods are used, from post-event surveys, to speaking directly with organizers afterward, to even hearsay from convention services staff.

The hotels that organize post-con roundtables with their executive team and the planning staff are way ahead of the curve when it comes to truly understanding meeting success, said Kemp Gallineau, CEO of Groups360. These candid conversations allow both hotel staff and the planner to gauge event satisfaction and exchange suggestions and feedback for future improvement.

True Barometer of Event Success

Even with different insights and the varying points of view that meeting organizers and hotels bring to the table, “the attendee is the ultimate measurement of a successful event,” Gallineau said.

“Working together and sharing the workload is also extremely important, but the audience is why the event is held,” he added.

Event participants are everyone’s customers and all goals should be tied to their success, not just those that benefit the meeting owner.

“Everyone must be invested in fulfilling the audience’s goals,” said Gallineau.

Define Success Ahead of Time

Understanding what registrants need – even before the event begins – is key to assessing event performance.

When both the hotel and the planner are transparent with objectives and the focus on attendees’ success BEFORE the event, it can be freeing to both sides, said Gallineau.

“This transparency enables alignment of objectives for all parties ….a great meeting! This also sets the stage for continuous improvement.”

When answering the questions, “How did the event go?” and “Should we do it again?”, look at the goals tied directly to the registrants and how they benefit from the meeting program. Even with sky-high registration or booming product sales, it’s whether or not a participant would return that serves as the final barometer of meeting success.