When working in the event space, you come to realize that not every event or conference is going to be a smash with attendance. You’ll hear a lot of reasons to explain no-show absences but usually it just comes down to a lack of time, money, or even interest.

So, what should you do for those folks who RSVP’d but never came? Check out our list of ten questions to include in your next post event survey (for no-shows) that should clarify how to reduce no-shows for your next event.

We’ve also included 5 different types of post event survey questions and how they help give you better insights on a range of subjects from initial enthusiasm at the time of event registration to improving your communication strategy. 

Types of Post Event Survey Questions

Multiple Choice

Multiple choice questions are ideal when a variety of options exist and you can use the feedback to visualize data in bar graphs or pie charts to inform future strategies. 

Yes / No

Simple Yes or No questions allow you to cut straight to the meat of an issue by presenting limited options. However, it’s a good idea to pair these with Open-Ended questions so that you can guard against potential blind spots. 


While these questions tend to be more qualitative (and harder to put into data), they are equally important in obtaining valuable information that is personalized. 


Asking survey takers to rate you on a particular topic will provide you with a set of data that can be turned into averages and KPIs that you can use for goal setting. In order to get the most out of this type of question, it’s best to use a larger scale (either 1 – 7, or 1 – 10) and to associate large numbers with positive ratings and low numbers with negative ratings for the highest quality data. 

Likert Scale

A Likert Scale is similar to a rating, but imposes more qualitative feelings into a quantitative range (satisfied vs. dissatisfied). They are also always odd-numbered (3-point, 5-point, or 7-point) so that respondents have a “neutral” option. It’s best to keep these ranges smaller (3-point or 5-point) for the best data and we advise avoiding terms like “satisfied” in favor of more creative emotions (i.e. delight vs. frustration, pampered vs. neglected, etc.).

Sample Questions and Their Best Use

1. How did you learn about our event?

Type: Multiple Choice

Best For: Marketing Optimization

Simply, you want to know how this person came into contact with your event. Knowing how people heard of your event provides you future marketing areas to focus on for your next event. Also, pairing this question with a multiple choice format will allow you to customize to your key outreach channels (Facebook, Email, LinkedIn, etc.).

2. When did you realize that you weren’t going to make the event?

Type: Multiple Choice

Best For: Marketing Optimization

This post-attendance survey question allows you to see your no-shows timeline in realizing they couldn’t attend your event. These answers will allow you to nail down when their excitement dropped so you can ensure that next time you’ll keep them for good.

3. Which of the following reasons is the closest to why you could not attend?

Type: Multiple Choice,  Open-Ended

Best For: Data Refinement

This question serves as a follow-up to question two, as you know they didn’t make it – so why not? You can also provide a short-answer aspect to this question, but typically your no-shows can easily determine their reason. This also has the added benefit of refining your data by removing outliers (cancellation due to illness, emergency, etc.).


4. What dates/times/seasons are best for you to attend events?

Type: Multiple Choice

Best For: Data Refinement, Marketing Optimization

By directly asking someone what time of the week works best for their social and professional calendar, you can pinpoint what works across a variety of groups to achieve the best engagement for signing up.

5. Did you attend any competing events around this time frame? If so, why?

Type: Yes / No, Open-Ended

Best For: Competitor Comparison

Don’t you want to know if there was another event that caught their eye? Make sure to include a short answer area to see why they ditched your event and see if they’re willing to admit what event they attended instead.

6. If there was one thing that would guarantee that you would attend our event, what would it be?

Type: Open-Ended

Best For: Closing the Sale, Marketing Optimization

After acknowledging all the other details, the information you really want is what factor would close the deal for this potential attendee to come to your next event. This will also help you refine your marketing strategy.

7. How far do you typically travel to attend an event?

Type: Multiple Choice

Best For: Data Refinement, Marketing Optimization

Your event may be out of geographical range for a no-show. While the price of entry may be reasonable, the added costs of travel time, airfare, and overnight accommodations may put the event out of reach. Knowing this can help you refine your audience for future events.

8. How many events or conferences do you attend each year?

Type: Open-Ended

Best For: Data Refinement, Marketing Optimization

Asking this question helps you further zero in on why a potential attendee wasn’t able to make your event. If your event is later in the year, they may have run through their company allowance by the time your event rolled around.

9. How would you rate the communication leading up to the event? What could be improved?

Type: Scale, Open-Ended

Best For: Data Refinement, Marketing Optimization

This type of post event survey question helps you determine how engaged your potential attendees are with your brand/industry/company/event. Depending on the responses, you might find that you need to increase how often you’re emailing and promoting on social media, or you may find that too much contact turned off your potential attendee.

10. How excited were you when we announced our speakers/classes/panels/etc.?

Type: Likert Scale

Best For: Data Refinement, Marketing Optimization, Competitor Comparison

Using a limited 3- or 5-point range on a Likert Scale will help you appropriately gauge the enthusiasm for what you offered at your event. You might use emotions like “delighted” and “disappointed” (instead of “satisfied” and “disappointed”) to pinpoint the reason why your attendee didn’t show. 

Final note: It’s key that you remember to segment your survey list so you can target your no-shows specifically. Don’t forget to personalize your content to each list to foster a connection between your company and your potential future attendee.

Planning an event, especially a big one, can seem like a daunting task. Which is why our event registration software can help. There are a million things to do and, if you’re like most organizations, very few people to help. But don’t worry! We’ve broken down the event planning process into nine simple steps for overall success. Check out our free guide, 9 Steps to Event Planning, below!