The Complete Guide To Building a Post-event Report
After months of planning and preparation, your event is finally complete. But before you move on to the next project, it’s essential to take a step back and evaluate the success of your event.
A post-event report is a comprehensive document that summarizes the key aspects of your event, including its goals, attendance, budget, and overall success. It serves as a valuable tool for future event planning and can also be used to showcase the success of your event to stakeholders and sponsors.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through building a post-event report and provide you with a template to help you get started.
Why Post-event Reporting Is Important for Event Success
A post-event report is an essential part of the event planning process, particularly when building a 365-day cycle of community and engagement around your event portfolio. Here are some of the key reasons why it’s important to create one:
Helps You Recap and Evaluate the Event’s Success
A post-event report allows you to take a step back and evaluate the success of your event. It provides a comprehensive overview of the event, including its goals, attendance, and budget, which can help you determine if the event was a success or if there are areas for improvement.
Informs Future Event Planning
A post-event report is a valuable and indispensable tool for planning smarter and more streamlined events. By delving into the details of your event and conducting a careful analysis, you can uncover successes and possible shortcomings, which helps you plan for the future more meaningfully.
Moreover, this meticulous examination lets you discern what aspects worked well and which didn’t quite meet expectations. Armed with this invaluable information, you can confidently make substantial improvements and adjustments to ensure the resounding success of all forthcoming events.
Supports Exhibitor, Sponsor, and Speaker ROI Conversations
You can also use a post-event report to communicate the success of your event to stakeholders, such as exhibitors and sponsors or even speakers. It provides concrete data and insights that can help you showcase the impact of your event and secure future support and speakers.
Learn more about building a post-event strategy in this article: “Building a Post-event Strategy To Drive Pipeline“
When To Create a Post-Event Report
The ideal timing of a post-event report can vary depending on the timeline and goals of the event. Ideally, start working on the report as soon as possible after the event has concluded, while the details are still fresh in your mind. This could be within a week or two after the event.
However, it may take longer to gather all the necessary data, such as participant net promoter score (NPS) surveys, and craft meaningful insights for larger or more complex events. In such cases, completing the report within a month after the event is advisable to ensure that all relevant information is included. The key is to balance completing the report promptly and allowing enough time to gather accurate and comprehensive data.
What To Include in a Post-event Report
A comprehensive post-event report should contain several key elements essential for a thorough evaluation and analysis of the event. These elements provide important insights and information that can help in making informed decisions and improvements for future events. Here are some of the key elements to include in your post-event report:
The first section of your post-event report should briefly overview the event, including its name, date, location, and purpose. This will help provide context for the rest of the report.
Next, you should outline the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) of your event. This could include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or raising funds for a cause. Be sure to include quantitative and qualitative goals, such as the revenue generated and overall attendee satisfaction.
[inline link to Setting Long-Term Goals for Event Planners: Tips and Guidance]
Attendance and Demographics
Provide an overview of the attendance at your event, including the total number of attendees, as well as any relevant demographic information. This could include age, gender, job title, or industry.
Be sure to include your anticipated attendee demographic and the actual attendee demographic, to0, so you can plan better messaging and marketing for future events.
Budget and Expenses
The event budget and expenses section of your post-event report should outline the total budget (planned and actual) for the event, as well as any unforeseen expenses incurred and why. Be sure to also account for any sponsorships.
The more thorough and detailed your financial picture, the more clearly you’ll understand the overall cost of the event and identify areas where you may have overspent.
Include a timeline of the event, including key milestones and any changes or adjustments made along the way. This will help provide context for the success of the event and account for any challenges that come up. Here’s an example of what you might include in your report’s timeline section:
- January 1: Event planning begins
- February 1: Venue booked
- March 1: Catering, speakers, and A/V equipment arrangements finalized
- April 1: Marketing and promotional materials designed and printed
- May 1: Event day
- March 15: Change of venue due to emergency renovations
- April 15: Increase in catering budget to accommodate additional guests
- April 27: Change in keynote speaker because of medical emergency
Event Marketing and Promotion
Outline the event marketing and promotion efforts, including any social media campaigns, email marketing, or advertising. This will help you determine which channels most effectively drove attendance and engagement.
Event Content and Activities
Provide a summary of the content and activities at your event. This could include keynote speakers, workshops, networking sessions, brand activations, or entertainment. Be sure to highlight any particularly successful or well-received elements.
Also, include any post-event content initiatives that have either been executed or will be shortly. Some examples include event recap blog articles, email nurtures, post-event VIP gatherings, and so on.
Include any feedback or comments from attendees, whether it be through surveys, social media, or direct communication. This will help you gauge the overall satisfaction of attendees and identify areas for improvement.
Key Takeaways and Lessons Learned
The final section of your post-event report should include key takeaways and lessons learned from the event. This could include what worked well, what could be improved, and any recommendations for future events.
Be honest and direct about what could have been done to improve the event. Was the venue too small? Were there enough people working the onsite check-in counter? Did certain types of sessions fill up, leaving long lines of people waiting? Think of this section as a way to guide next year’s organizers in making better decisions!
4 Steps for Building a Post-event Report
Now that you know what should be included in a post-event report, let’s walk through the steps of building one.
Step 1: Gather and Organize Event Data
The first step in building a post-event report is to gather all the necessary data and information. This could include attendance numbers, budget and expense reports, marketing and promotion data, and attendee feedback.
Once you have all the data and information, it’s essential to organize it clearly and concisely. This could involve creating charts, graphs, or tables to help visualize the data.
Step 2: Analyze and Compare Against Past Events
After organizing the information, take the time to analyze the data and compare it against benchmarks from your industry or past events. Look for trends, patterns, and key metrics to better understand the event’s impact. Analyzing the data against similar past events is also crucial for the following reasons:
- It helps you see how your events have improved over time. You can find patterns and trends that show what is working well and what needs improvement.
- It empowers you to set realistic goals for future events.
- It helps you find any strange or unusual data that needs more investigation.
- It gives you a starting point for evaluating your event’s success and helps you make smart choices for future improvements.
Curious how to measure event ROI? Check out our article: “The Ultimate Guide To Event Marketing Attribution and Measuring Event ROI“
Step 3: Write the Report
As you write your report, be sure to be as thorough as possible but not overwhelming in the data and conclusions you include. To make your post-event report more engaging and visually appealing, include relevant visuals throughout the report, such as charts, graphs, photographs, and GIFs.
Step 4: Share with Stakeholders and Debrief
Setting up a post-mortem or debrief with key stakeholders is essential in creating a comprehensive post-event report. This allows you to gather valuable insights and experiences from the stakeholders, ensuring that the report captures a holistic view of the event. Here are a few steps to ensure debrief success:
- Share the report: Before the debrief session, share the post-event report with the stakeholders. This will give them time to review the report and come prepared with their insights and experiences.
- Document the insights: Document stakeholder insights and feedback in the report during the call. This will help create a comprehensive and well-rounded documentation of the event. Be sure to attribute the insights to the respective stakeholders to give credit where it’s due.
- Identify action items: Based on the discussions and insights shared during the debrief session, identify actionable recommendations and next steps. These can be included in the post-event report to guide future event planning and improve upon the areas highlighted during the debrief.
By setting up a post-mortem or debrief with key stakeholders, you can add their insights and experiences to the post-event report, making it a valuable and comprehensive event documentation. This collaborative approach ensures that all perspectives are considered and helps drive improvements for future events.
Reasons To Use a Post-event Report Template
Using templates for your post-event report can significantly enhance your efficiency and streamline the reporting process. Here are some benefits of using a template:
- Save time: Templates provide a structured format, saving you time by eliminating the need to create a report from scratch. You can fill in and customize the required information to suit your specific event.
- Establish consistency: Templates ensure consistency in event reporting year over year so you can create benchmarks and meaningful insights from one event to the next.
- Keep it professional: Templates provide a polished and professional look to your report, which is key if you share with board members or high-ticket sponsors. They help present the information in a clear and organized manner, making it easier for readers to understand and digest the content.
By using templates for your post-event report, you can save time, ensure consistency, and present your findings in a professional and visually appealing way.
How To Use AI and Event Software To Streamline Post-event Reporting
Event organizers can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the process of data analysis and streamline post-event reporting. You can use AI technology to efficiently analyze large volumes of data collected during an event for valuable insights and trends. Using AI-powered algorithms, event organizers can identify patterns and correlations in attendee behavior, preferences, and feedback.
Furthermore, AI can aid in the creation of post-event report templates. With the help of AI, event organizers can automate the process of generating post-event reports by extracting relevant data from various sources and organizing it in a structured format. This saves time and ensures that the report includes accurate and comprehensive information.
In addition to AI, event management software is crucial for streamlining post-event reporting. A robust event management software should have built-in features that enable event organizers to generate comprehensive post-event reports. These reports should include key metrics such as the following:
- Event and session attendance
- Engagement levels
- Attendee feedback (such as in polls or surveys)
- Revenue generated
- Benchmarks to measure against
- Networking connections
- On-demand content views
- Session participation and ratings
- Registrations and revenue by promo code and UTM campaign
Event organizers can leverage these reports to evaluate the success of the event, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions for future events.
Common Pitfalls and Solutions When Preparing Post-event Reports
Creating a comprehensive post-event report is a crucial step in event management, but it’s not without its challenges. Awareness of common pitfalls can help event organizers produce more effective and insightful reports. Additionally, maintaining data security and integrity is paramount in today’s data-driven world. Here’s a look at some common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Inaccurate or Incomplete Data
- Pitfall: Basing your report on incomplete or inaccurate data can lead to wrong conclusions.
- Solution: Ensure all data sources are reliable. Double-check figures and facts, and make sure all relevant information is included.
2. Ignoring Negative Feedback or Data
- Pitfall: Overlooking negative aspects can create a biased view of the event’s success.
- Solution: Embrace both positive and negative feedback. This holistic approach is crucial for learning and improvement.
5. Delay in Report Preparation
- Pitfall: Waiting too long to prepare the report can lead to forgotten details and less relevance.
- Solution: Start compiling data and insights immediately after the event while memories are fresh.
6. Neglecting Data Security and Integrity
- Pitfall: Inadequate attention to event data security and integrity can lead to data breaches or misuse.
- Data security: Implement robust data protection measures. This includes storing and handling data securely, using encrypted communication channels, and ensuring that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data.
- Data integrity: Maintain the accuracy and consistency of data throughout its lifecycle. Performing regular audits and validation checks and adhering to data governance policies can safeguard data integrity.
7. Failure to Act on Findings
- Pitfall: Not using the insights from the report for future planning is a missed opportunity.
- Solution: Develop action plans based on the report’s findings. This should be a key component of your event planning cycle.
8. Insufficient Stakeholder Engagement
- Pitfall: Not involving key stakeholders can result in missing perspectives.
- Solution: Engage with various stakeholders (attendees, sponsors, and team members) during the report preparation for a more rounded view.
Avoiding these pitfalls can significantly enhance the quality and utility of post-event reports. By focusing on clear objectives, ensuring data accuracy and security, and effectively using the insights gained, event organizers can showcase past successes and pave the way for future event excellence.
Bonus: Post-event Report Template
We’ve compiled a comprehensive post-event report template that you can access at the following link or by clicking the image. Just click this link or click the image to make your own copy and get started! If you prefer to have a spreadsheet for your reporting, definitely download one of our free kits that has the post-event report in spreadsheet format.
Take Charge of Post-event Reporting for Better Events
Building a detailed and insightful post-event report is more than just a formality — it’s a strategic tool that can significantly influence the future success of your events. From outlining clear objectives and gathering and analyzing relevant data to embracing both positive and negative feedback, each step is crucial in crafting a report that reflects the event’s impact and paves the way for continuous improvement.
However, creating a post-event report can be daunting, especially when managing and analyzing large volumes of data while ensuring data security and integrity. This is where Bizzabo comes into play. With comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities, Bizzabo streamlines the process of gathering and analyzing event data, making it easier for you to focus on what matters most: planning and executing memorable, high-impact events.
By leveraging Bizzabo’s tools, you can effortlessly collect data on various aspects of your event, from attendee engagement to session popularity, and turn this data into actionable insights. Bizzabo’s platform is designed to help you understand your event’s performance in depth, enabling you to make informed decisions for future events.
We invite you to see how Bizzabo — especially Bizzabo’s Klik SmartBadge™ with powerful attendee behavioral data — can transform your event reporting process. Schedule a demo today.