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Event Planning: What Should You Be Tracking, And Why?

Historical data plays an enormous role in the future planning of any event. We all need to break out the crystal ball once in a while — but having access to well-organized historical data can help you make much better decisions.

What are the benefits of maintaining a detailed tracking document — and what should you be tracking?

Benefit 1Managing Your Current Event Operational Needs Throughout The Campaign

  • Capturing all attendees registered and labeling/tagging them appropriately is key. Some attendee types you’ll want to track: paid attendees, guests, speakers, sponsors, staff, security, senior management, etc.
  • Being aware of full attendee count at all times — and who is entitled to participate in what function at the event — will help in planning your meeting space set-up and capacities, catering requirements, event budgeting (which should be re-forecast frequently!) and managing your room block and onsite material needs.

Benefit 2: Preparing A Request For Proposal (RFP) For Your Next Venue Search

When you are working on an RFP to find the venue for your next event, having a detailed history helps you determine your needs so you can avoid over or under committing to a venue.

Benefit 3: Audience Recruitment for the Current Event and Events Moving Forward

Understanding your audience is key. Getting insights into the demographic profile of people responding to your marketing campaign will help you better target your efforts in the future.

Your goal should be to capture the demographics and personal preferences you need, but without making it a lengthy process to register. As we know, most folks are very busy and get frustrated if a process takes too long, so be thoughtful about the questions you need to ask during the registration process to get the most out of your reporting.

What Makes A Good Tracking Report?

A good tracking report includes the list of attendees and key demographic data, of course. In addition, I highly recommend tracking your numbers, both week by week and year by year, so that you can see trends.

Tab 1 Of The Event Tracker: The Full Attendee List

You always want to see who is registered for the event. Everyone who has registered who should be on that list, whether it be a presenter, sponsor, or an attendee who is a “must have at the event”. This simple report also captures any demographic details and marketing information, such as the source or campaign that resulted in the registration. It’s a great snapshot of which marketing campaigns are working, and should provide some insight on how to move forward in getting the word out.

Attendee list template

Tab 2 Of The Event Tracker: At-A-Glance Week Over Week Count Of All Registered Attendees

Monitoring your attendance week over week is key for tracking marketing trends, and is always useful when you need a realistic head count for those multiple operational decisions that are updated and tweaked throughout the event campaign. This tab will also provide historical information so that in future cycles, you’ll know how far in advance of the event people typically register.

Week over week template

Tab 3 Of The Event Tracker – A Year-Over-Year Outlook

This provides an honest look at when your campaign started (how far in advance), what months seem to be trending more than others based on your current and past marketing plans. It will provide key data for your post-event analysis, too.

Year over year template

Do you have additional recommendations that should be incorporated into a pace report/tracker or a template that you can share?