Events are a huge component to a successful association strategy. They can make or break financial goals and be the reason a member sustains or cancels. Planning, organizing and executing a great event is a lot of work so let’s make sure the effort is worth it.

As you’re planning your next event, take note of past metrics. What was your attendee rate when you offered special networking sessions? Did you see a drop in overall revenue when you didn’t send out pre-event emails? Understanding these metrics arms you with concrete knowledge. Don’t depend on your own memories or feelings of an event – utilize the hard data to make decisions.

So what are the key KPI’s to pay attention to? We’re outlining our top 5 below. Keep in mind that these KPI’s are relative to the event. For this example, let’s think in the context of a conference.

1. Total Registrations

 “The total number of registrations is one of the most immediate ways to measure event success,” says Stephen Kim of the Bizzabo Blog. High registrations numbers usually translate to increased revenue and thus event success. Keep in mind that registration numbers won’t necessarily predict exact revenue generated. This metric can quickly change based on “check-in” percentages and cost to revenue ratio, which we’ll break down below.

2. Overall Revenue

After your event has wrapped up, it’s time to calculate the total amount of revenue – registrations, new member sign-ups, sponsorships, luncheons, special workshops, etc. Compare your total revenue to estimated goal and see how you did.

3. Cost to Revenue Ratio

“Gross revenue is not an insightful metric unless it is compared with the total cost of the event,” (Kim). If you spent a chunk of dough on event decor, the venue space or high-end food, make sure to subtract that from overall revenue. Removing expenses from the total amount will give you a more accurate picture of total revenue made. This metric is also important for sponsors and stakeholders.

4. # of Returning Attendees

If you’ve got reoccurring events, track how many attendees came last year. A high % of returning attendees tells you you’re doing something right. To dig even deeper, analyze the details of returning attendees. Were they all from the same industry or company? Were they close in age range? Use these variables to direct your decisions.

5. Members Acquired

If your group hosts non-member and member events, track the number of conversions you get at each event. It makes more sense to put money and effort into an event that yields high conversion rates.

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