Sometimes you just don’t want to know, right?
Like them or loathe them, post event surveys are an essential part of your West Coast Swing event. I get it, it can be horrible to put yourself out there, you worked so hard to provide the best event possible, and reading any kind of negative comments can be so disheartening.
But, the benefits of having anonymous data about your teaching staff, your schedule, your hotel staff, and even your volunteers is priceless. Why anonymous? Simply because people will be more honest if they know you can’t trace it back to them. Maybe your closest advisors and partners feel bad to tell you that they hated the DJ, especially if the DJ is a friend of yours! Whatever their reasons, anonymous surveys are your best bet for honest feedback.
Why post event surveys are so important
You have your own bias/experience
It can be easy to think that you are impartial about your own event, and that you want to do whatever it takes to make it successful, but the truth is, your event is like your baby, and nobody wants to hear that their baby is ugly! You work so hard to make a wonderful weekend for attendees, but your experience of the weekend is totally different than your attendees.You are not in the workshops, you are not in the ballroom at 4am with the late night DJ (at least most EDs have gone to bed at this time!), you may not be experiencing the same issues with the hotel room as some of your guests are. You may love your pros, especially if some are close personal friends, but you need to know if they are doing a good job for your customers, too.
You have your own inner circle of advisors who have their own bias
Most, if not all EDs, have a close circle of friends who support them in their events, and thank goodness! Being and Event Director is no walk in the park, you need your people. But listening only to these people as your source of feedback on the weekend means you are missing out on a diversity of voices.
Your friends don’t want to upset you. Your friends are likely seasoned event pros who are not experiencing the same thing as the newcomer dancers and out-of-towners….. and many of them may even be on staff, and want to retain that paid position again next year, so may choose to be selective in the information they give back to you.
There is growing competition for event dollars
A quick glance at the WSDC events page shows just how many events are now competing for dance dollars on the same weekend, or a weekend apart. Dancers have more choice than ever! Add in the non-WSDC events and intensives happening across the world and all of a sudden your “core” attendees may be swayed to try something new. An anonymous post-event survey will give you hard data about the things people like and don’t like about your event.
The team behind Swing Over Orlando learned last year that their attendees wanted more social dance time, and less competitions – guess what! The schedule this year has much less in the way of competitions and way more focus on social dancing, and lots of fun events including a Sunday night City Walk after party for attendees still in town.
The growing popularity of West Coast Swing is putting Event Directors in an interesting position. More people want to dance and compete, and they want to do it more often, too! This is great news! But running events is not (usually) a charitable endeavor, either. You have costs to cover and a life to support, too. More events are being created each year to meet the “demand”, which means you can’t rely on “our weekend” being enough. Taking the time to do post event surveys is now a necessary step towards ensuring that you remain competitive in a changing and growing landscape of dance events around North America, and globally.
– Clare Levy