What should be in your post show survey?

What should be in your post show survey?

We all need attendee feedback after the trade show is over. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Without it, it can be tricky to measure how successful something is or isn’t.

Feedback also makes us aware of what we might be blind to; it propels us to keep making improvements.

Positive feedback can be exhilarating. Negative feedback can be downright painful – it’s why no one actually wants the honest response to does this make my butt look big?

Because we aren’t always ready for the response.

We’ll take the good news. The bad news can wait.

It sounds cliche – because it is – but the truth is you can’t take it personally.

A small portion of the responses you receive will be negative just for negativity’s sake.

Shake those off and focus on the details that matter like the tangible things that you have control over.

Asking The Right Questions

When I send out post-trade show surveys I like to keep the questions focused enough to garner helpful responses but not so super-specific that they could foster tangents.

Questions like what did you think about the show and what didn’t you like about the show are too open-ended and will likely leave you feeling empty-handed.

I find that if an attendee has a particular (specific) complaint or praise, they will be sure to let me know regardless of the line of questioning.

Also, keep the survey concise…if it’s too long you’ll lose people. Make it too short and you’ll be short-changing yourself on useful information.


I like to ask the following questions of my attendees…

  • Were you satisfied with the quality and number of exhibitors?
  • Was it easy to navigate the “traffic” flow of the showroom floor? Were there enough directionals for ease of travel?
  • Did the speakers and educational content create a good learning atmosphere? Was the content sufficient or lacking in any way?
  • Are you satisfied with the service you received from the show organizers? Were you able to get the information you needed in a timely manner? Did you feel properly prepared for your experience at the show?
  • Did you experience any issues registering for the show? If so, did you find the staff helpful in assisting you in the process?
  • Did the hotel meet your expectations (i.e. value and location)?
  • How did you hear about the event?
  • Would you recommend the event to others?
  • Will we see you again at future events?

For most questions, I prefer to use a rating scale; It’s quicker for people to fill out and it makes it easier for me to sift through.

Here’s an example:

Please rate the trade show in terms of meeting your needs or expectations.

  • Very Satisfied
  • Somewhat Satisfied
  • Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied
  • Somewhat Dissatisfied
  • Very Dissatisfied

I leave comment sections under questions that warrant further elaboration or when I don’t provide a rating scale.


And because I get asked all the time, yes you should send out surveys to your exhibitors.

Their feedback might actually be valuable because they have been there, done that, and can offer some really great insight.

Check out my blog post where I talk about the benefits of post-show feedback from your own show team which is super relevant.  

Here is a taste of the kinds of questions that I like to ask in my survey to exhibitors…

  • What was your reason for attending the (fill in the blank) show?
  • What were the goals of your participation at the (fill in the blank) show this year?
  • Did you achieve that goal?
  • What type(s) of future attendees would you like to see more of?
  • Where else do you exhibit?

I also like to ask exhibitors to rate the following: customer service, booth value, attendance, show management, show marketing, registration, exhibition space, electrical, and labor.

Keepin’ It Real

Think of feedback as your lifeline to who you need to stay connected to in the trade show world.

Sure, it can get a little murky, but it’s one of the best things you can do to grow and improve your business.

It keeps me grounded to what is really important in this industry – the people – and helps me to see things as they really are.