It’s been said that the bathroom is a place where people speak freely. There’s a reason that people often go to the bathroom in pairs. They have something to say but need to do so behind closed doors. While you may hear some gossip in the bathroom, it’s also the best place for you as an event planner to hear genuine feedback.
Feedback Is Critical to Event Planning
As an event planner, you want to engage attendees and drive them to participate. If you have an annual event, you are probably always looking to improve it. You may currently gauge the impact of your event with surveys. Surveys are usually provided many days after the event. This may mean they aren’t as accurate as you’d like simply because people forget about the details of the experience. Plus, you have to get them to take the survey. Even if it only takes a few minutes, people are busy.
Real-time feedback is the most valuable kind, especially when people are in the moment. In the moment is when they’ll either experience satisfaction or frustration. And they are likely to voice this to someone they feel comfortable with and in a space that is deemed to be private—hence the bathroom.
How Can You Tap into What’s Happening in the Bathroom?
By no means should you stake out the bathroom to get feedback. And you also have to be careful that whatever you overhear isn’t used negatively. What you can do is ask your team to visit the bathroom regularly during your event and be on the lookout for what people have to say.
You can even ask them to jot down a few notes, but you shouldn’t assign the task to an actual attendee because that could become a privacy issue. You just want to observe and listen for sound bits about a variety of different things.
Maybe you’ll catch a conversation about how the event was organized or if the food was exceptional. This real-time, unabashed feedback could help you change the way you do things. If you do provide a post-event survey, these additional comments can add context.
What Should You Do with Bathroom Feedback?
You should look at bathroom feedback a bit differently than traditional channels like surveys. You are catching people in the moment where they feel they can be truly genuine. Bias happens when we take surveys. We don’t mean to have a bias, but there are already preconceived notions in our heads.
So, you are basically stripping out that bias. Take everything you hear as constructive criticism—even it’s not intended this way. It won’t serve you well to get angry or upset by something overheard in the bathroom. Rather, you should look at these comments and try to determine why the attendee felt that way. Looking at it from their perspective will allow you to re-imagine and reassess your event.
Any Event Has the Capacity to Improve
No matter how much money you spend on an event or how impressive the AV setup is, there is always room for improvement. And the best way to determine how to improve is by listening to your attendees. You want them to be straightforward and honest about their experiences.
When you can capture how they felt during the event, this leads you to be innovative in planning the next event. It’s easy to get complacent in event planning. Why change something that seems to be working well? Because it's a very competitive world. There will always be a new event that could sway your attendees. Embrace feedback from wherever it comes so you ensure the attendee experience meets and exceeds expectations.