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30 Pre Event Survey Questions to Optimize Your Event

Ever been to an event and couldn’t even find your way in? As an event organizer, that’s the last thing you’d want your attendees to experience! To avoid major hiccups (like a vegan at a...

Ever been to an event and couldn’t even find your way in? As an event organizer, that’s the last thing you’d want your attendees to experience! To avoid major hiccups (like a vegan at a BBQ festival), you need to get to the heart of your attendees’ expectations and design your event details around that. One of the best ways to get the information you need is to send out a pre-event survey.

Event creator speaks to guests at an outdoor event Intro to Beekeeping / Garden for the Environment / San Francisco, CA

Why organize a pre-event survey?

At its core, event planning is a matter of supply and demand. It’s your job to “supply” the type of event experience that your guests want. But how are you supposed to know what they want if you don’t ask them?

That’s where an event planning questionnaire or survey can really help. Sending a survey to your target audience provides you with real-time feedback, so you can make tweaks to cater to your ticket holders. Ideally, you don’t want to hear after an event that you should’ve approached it from another angle. Pre-event surveys are a resource for gathering vital information for an inclusive event. You can even ask ticket holders why they bought tickets and how they heard about the event, so you know how to best market your next event. PS. Surveys aren’t just something you want to do before an event. Consider post-event surveys to hear attendees’ thoughts about your event set-up, organization, food and drink, staff, and everything in between.

Event staff members talk to one another about dietary requirement St. Anthony’s / Make an Impact: Serve Meals at St. Anthony’s / San Francisco, CA

What are the different types of questions to ask when planning an event?

You get an answer to the questions you ask. So, make sure you use the right types of questions. The three types of event survey questions you’ll generally find are:

  • Qualitative questions: These are often open-ended or provide a free space for an open-text response. This enables respondents to offer their thoughts, opinions, concerns, or other actionable insights.
  • Quantitative questions: These are often multiple-choice questions, and they’re perfect for producing data you can use for statistical analysis.
  • Binary questions: These are simple “yes” or “no” questions. Choose a binary question when you want a quick and simple answer that’s easy to compile and measure.

There are wrong ways to ask a question, so it’s important you use the right wording and pose the tone correctly. For example, it wouldn’t be very helpful if you asked a binary question about parking such as “Do you always drive and park at events?”. You’ve got to give guests a chance to provide valuable feedback that you can do something with.

Large crowd wanders through event venue Renegade Craft / Renegade San Francisco / San Francisco, CA

30 essential questions to ask when planning an event

No two events are 100% alike — so your pre-event survey will also be unique. But if you need some inspiration to draft your own, we’ve rounded up 30 questions to encourage attendees to open up. Just remember: You don’t need to cram all 30 into your survey. After all, sometimes less is more. So filter through, and choose the ones that resonate with you!

Voxburner / Youth Marketing Strategy / San Francisco, CA Voxburner / Youth Marketing Strategy / San Francisco, CA

10 Qualitative pre-event survey questions

These are open-ended questions or free test questions where respondents can elaborate on their thoughts or opinions. Here are 10 great questions if you’re looking for qualitative feedback:

  • How did you hear about this event?
  • Why did you choose to register for this event?
  • Which aspects of our event are you most interested in?
  • Do you have any dietary restrictions?
  • Do you have any accessibility requirements?
  • Is there any information you’ve been unable to find?
  • What are your thoughts about our event location?
  • What could we do to make attending this event more valuable to you?
  • What topics would you like us to cover at this event?
  • Do you have any suggestions about how we could make our event more sustainable?

Two event guests talk in between speaker sessions Voxburner / Youth Marketing Strategy / San Francisco, CA

10 Quantitative pre-event survey questions

Quantitative questions produce rich data and are best asked using a multiple-choice format. This question type is flexible in nature, but the answers are usually number-based or fact-based, and you shouldn’t overwhelm the person with choices. Here are 10 great examples of pre-event questions to get quantitative feedback:

  • Which social media platforms do you prefer?
  • Which type of event format do you prefer?
  • How would you like us to communicate with you?
  • What’s your ideal event running time?
  • How are you planning to get to our event?
  • Which event speakers or entertainers in our lineup are you most excited to see?
  • How long will it take you to travel to our event space?
  • When do you plan to arrive at our event?
  • How much money are you willing to pay for food and drinks at this event?
  • How would you rate your customer experience with us so far?

Fans take a selfie in a large crowd Ultra Australia / Ultra Australia 2023 / Melbourne, AUS

10 Binary pre-event survey questions

Binary questions have a simple “yes” or “no” answer. They’re faster and simpler. Include the most important questions in this format, as people are more likely to answer straightforward questions. If you’re struggling with ideas, here are 10 examples you could add to your upcoming event survey:

  • Have you attended one of our events before?
  • Have you attended similar events in the past?
  • Was the event registration process for this event easy?
  • Do you plan to bring a guest with you to this event?
  • Have you previously visited our event venue?
  • Will you require parking at our venue?
  • Do you prefer more interactive audience sessions?
  • Do you plan on purchasing food or drinks at our event?
  • Would you like additional information about where to stay near our venue?
  • Will you tell friends about our event?

Event organizer talks to event staff before event Legacy Boxing Club / End of Summer Club Brawls / Wayne, NJ

How to get more responses to your pre-event surveys

Now you have a list of some core questions to include, let’s talk about how to get lots of responses. You want to get your survey in front of the right people using the right format — and we’re here to help.

1. Make sure you automatically collect contact information

First and foremost, collect all the relevant contact information for your guests. With a ticketing partner like Eventbrite, you can set up an event page that automatically collects key contact information each time one of your guests registers for your event. This way, you can easily send out a pre-event survey. You can then use the information you gather to run automated reports that tell you all about your audience.

2. Choose the right time to send

You want to get as many responses as possible to your surveys, so it’s important to send them out on the right day. According to researchers at SurveyMonkey, people are most likely to open and respond to surveys if you send them on a Monday. So don’t bother sending surveys out on Friday night when people are out having fun!

3. Optimize your subject line

The easiest way to send a survey to registrants is via email — and the subject line you choose impacts whether people open it. Choose an email partner like Mailchimp that lets you A/B test your subject line. This feature enables you to try out two different subject lines that get delivered to separate test audiences in small batches. After a set amount of time, the winning subject line is sent to the rest of your audience — so you can rest easy knowing you did everything possible to maximize your chances of a response.

4. Don’t make it too long

People are busy. If somebody clicks on your email and opens it, you want to maximize the chances of them completing the survey. 42% of consumers are willing to answer 7-10 questions as part of a survey, and 31% said they would spend 10-14 minutes answering questions. So less is definitely more here. Focus on the most important questions that satisfy your survey objectives, and you’ll get more and better quality results.

5. Integrate your event management platform and email marketing platform

Going back and forth between an email marketing platform and your event management platform can get clunky and time-consuming. Partnering with a solution that integrates both tools and makes the survey process seamless. With Eventbrite’s Mailchimp integration you can seamlessly transfer real-time data and use registration questions to segment your survey audience. You can even tag registrants on Eventbrite based on survey responses in Mailchimp, so you can categorize them. Best of all, connecting your Mailchimp and Eventbrite accounts is super easy.

Let’s start asking questions

Pre-event surveys help you gauge interest in your event, manage audience expectations, and ensure you’re doing everything you can to deliver the best attendee experience. Start with asking the right questions and following proven approaches to maximize responses. Choosing an event management partner like Eventbrite can simplify the process and improve your chances of getting meaningful responses.