ROI of Events: The Metric of Success

As with most things in life, the resources one puts into something should yield a greater result. But, when it comes to meetings and events, it’s often harder to tack on ways in which one can measure success. For most event planners, event return on investment (ROI) is hard to define.

Events are an investment and usually one of the larger annual budgeted items, so planners need to bring this to the forefront of the planning process. However, often successful event measurement is poorly defined, if at all. Positive meeting feedback from attendees is always welcomed but if the event does not translate to revenue and ROI, planners have a challenge ahead.

If we dive in a little deeper – what can we find as our return on investment (ROI) for a program?

One way to do this is through a straight calculation to determine the exact ROI of your event. As Eventbrite’s blog details, there is a standard formula for this: [(Total Sales Revenue – Total Cost of the Event) ÷ Total Cost of Event]  X 100 = ROI. This calculation works well when your event has a sales or metric focus, and one that is determinable through your CRM system. But, oftentimes, it’s not so black-and-white.

In those instances, then, your ROI is calculated a little more creatively. Is your event about employee appreciation or to celebrate a stellar sales team? Track performance after the event and see if the cost invested into an incentive trip yielded higher returns from your sales team. Was a new procedure adopted and shared during your annual meeting? Have your quality assurance team survey your staff to see how successful the adoption was post-program. Finally, if there was a CSR component to your event, having a deep-dive conversation with the charity you partnered with can give you insight into the impact your event had on the lives of others. What can be more motivating than that?

ROI isn’t just a metric for success, it’s also a tool for course correction. No matter how you measure your event’s success, make sure to remain an optimistic critic on how to improve your events year after year.

How else do you measure success at your event? We’d like to hear from you. Comment below with your ideas.

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