At the end of the day, it’s essential that you prove your conference accomplished what it set out to do. What you report depends on the conference, but it always connects to the goals you outlined while planning your event.

Here are some ways we suggest clients demonstrate the value of their efforts.

Please raise your hand when your name is called

Attendance, attendance, attendance. Aside from ticket sales and registrations, stakeholders like to know how many seats were filled at each event. There are traditional ways to record this, like counting rooms. There are also more technologically savvy methods, such as tracking attendee wristbands or asking guests to check in to each event on the conference app.

When to measure: If one of your conference goals is to establish and foster a community that’s devoted to education and continued learning within your field.

Would you be willing to take a short survey?

The easiest way to understand the guest experience is to ask them to explain it in their own words. Unfortunately, you can’t talk to everyone in such a short amount of time, which is why surveys are so valuable. Like attendance, there are traditional and modern methods of retrieving this data. But first, you’re going to want to decide how frequently you want to pull from this well.

If you’re looking for a lot of data, consider shorter surveys that can be accessed by the conference app or even via text message. If you’re only planning to ask guests for their opinion a few times, leave a little buffer room at the end of each segment for them to fill out traditional survey cards or to navigate to the app. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to incentivize your surveys. Whether attendees are entered into a raffle after filling out a certain number or they gain access to exclusive content, your guests will be way more likely to help you if they’re being rewarded.

When to measure: If one of your conference goals is to provide a positive guest experience that stacks up or exceeds expectations based on prior efforts, as well as increasing attendance numbers in years to come.

All the bang you got for all those bucks you spent

To start, ROI (return on investment) is about way more than just ticket sales. Sure, it’s essential to show your stakeholders how much profit you made, but if you really want to wow them, get creative. Show them how others profited from the event too. Highlight deals that your attendees and sponsors made while on the floor. Outline any collaborations audience members may have struck with a speaker. In short, find additional ways to demonstrate how your event’s revenue streams go beyond the conference and its record-breaking ticket sales.

When to measure: If one of your conference goals is to create an ecosystem of support and collaboration for those within your industry.

Just look at everything we accomplished!

Pictures, videos, and testimonials also help document the success of your event. Images of packed rooms and excited faces are obviously fun to look at, as they help recall the magic of each and every event, but they do much more than that. They reach people in the industry who couldn’t make the conference. You’re finding ways to include them in the experience and entice them to make the effort to attend next year.

Social media will play a huge role in this documentation. Prepare to post from your pages, as well as share, like, and comment on attendee-generated content. Also, like your surveys, consider incentivizing both staff and guests to check in and post about the conference often. As for the data that you should show stakeholders, try focusing on new followers, shares, likes, and tags. There are many services that can help you generate compelling social media reports.

When to measure: If one of your conference goals is to become an industry institution, one people are interested in and engaging with even if they can’t attend in person.