#Eventprof Tips

Sample Survey: How to Gauge Attendee Interest in Returning to In-Person Events

Wondering how to gauge attendee interest and comfort level in returning to in-person events?

Speaking for myself, I know I am READY to get back to in-person meetings and conferences! Don’t get me wrong, virtual events have been absolutely invaluable in the past year, keeping businesses connected and moving forward (see here and here!). But I’m ready to get to be surrounded by industry peers and to feel the energy that only an in-person event can bring.

Chicago Event Photo

So, I’m headed to two industry events in the next month:

Let me know if you will be attending either of them!

Plenty of research has shown that in-person meeting planning is picking back up. For example, Northstar’s latest PULSE Survey shows that 8 out of 10 planners will hold an in-person event this year.

But what about attendee sentiment? Now is the perfect time to survey your audience of previous event attendees to see how they are feeling.

  • Are they just as ready as me?
  • Are they not quite comfortable yet?
  • Are they happy with staying virtual?

Use the below questions to gauge their interest and comfort level so that you can get clear direction on which types of events make sense to be planning in the months ahead.

We’ve used language specific to conference organizers, but tweak it to make it your own!

~ Chrissy

Sample Survey: Gauging Attendee Interest and Comfort Level in Returning to In-Person Conferences

1. In general, when are you thinking you’d be comfortable attending an in-person domestic conference for 200 people?

  • As soon as possible – Q2 2021
  • Soon – Q3 2021
  • Not too long – Q4 2021
  • A bit – Q1 2022
  • A while – Q2 2022 or later

2. In general, when are you thinking you’d be comfortable attending an in-person domestic conference for 500 people?

  • As soon as possible – Q2 2021
  • Soon – Q3 2021
  • Not too long – Q4 2021
  • A bit – Q1 2022
  • A while – Q2 2022 or later

3. In general, when are you thinking you’d be comfortable attending an in-person domestic conference for 1,000 people?

  • As soon as possible – Q2 2021
  • Soon – Q3 2021
  • Not too long – Q4 2021
  • A bit – Q1 2022
  • A while – Q2 2022 or later

Iterable Active

4. Which of the following would be the biggest factor in your decision to attend an in-person domestic conference?

  • Herd Immunity via Vaccination
  • Safety Protocols communicated by and provided by host organization
  • Government Permission
  • CDC or WHO Permission
  • Other (Fill in) _______________

5. Which of the following would play a role in your decision to attend an in-person domestic conference? (Check all that apply)

  • Herd Immunity via Vaccination
  • Safety Protocols communicated by and provided by host organization
  • Government Permission
  • CDC or WHO Permission
  • Other (Fill in) _______________

6. Which of the following safety protocols would you expect conference organizers to use for an in-person conference taking place in Q3 2021 (Check all that apply):

  • Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from all attendees (and data to be collected and managed by host organization)
  • Mask mandate by event organizers
  • Attendees agree not to attend if they have COVID-19 symptoms (and sign an agreement plus liability waiver)
  • Socially distanced room setups
  • Altered Food & Beverage serving practices
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • On-site rapid COVID testing – at conference organizer’s expense
  • On-site rapid COVID testing – at attendee’s expense
  • Contact tracing with Bluetooth bracelets

Iterable Active 2

7. I understand that costs for event organizers will increase to accommodate safety protocols and am willing to pay more for a ticket.

  • Yes, I will pay more due to increased costs.
  • No, I will not pay more because the organizers should find other ways to save, and the value for me to attend has not increased.
  • No, I will not pay more because I don’t think those protocols will be necessary much longer.
  • No, I will not pay more because I cannot afford it due to economic hardship from the pandemic / shutdowns.
  • Other (Fill in)

8. I expect in-person conference organizers to offer a hybrid/digital option going forward that is as sophisticated as the virtual conferences that have been offered during the pandemic (rather than scaling back the digital experience).

  • Yes
  • No

9. In years ahead, once things have settled down, and safety is of low concern, for the conferences I have attended in the past / pre-pandemic, I would prefer to attend those:

  • Online
  • In-Person

Webinar World

10. I imagine I will attend __________ conferences in-person as I did pre-pandemic.

  • More
  • Less
  • The same amount of

11. I imagine I will attend __________ conferences online as I did pre-pandemic.

  • More
  • Less
  • The same amount of

12. Additional Comments (Optional):

If you do survey your attendees, let us know! We’d love to hear what the results were.