There are several starting points and aids for measuring the success of a conference or convention. The traditional methods are: delegate surveys (nowadays mostly conducted online after the event), number of contacts, visitor observation and employee surveys. Subjective assessment, financial performance indicators, checklists or even external reports are also possible.
Beyond the financial aspect, i.e. that everything should at least have paid its way, there are as many ways of interpreting the success of a particular event as reasons for attending it. Consequently, performance analysis increasingly includes the behavioural, knowledge-related, learning/developmental and attitudinal aspects of all participants, plus qualitative factors such innovativeness, employee expertise and customer relationship skills.
It is essential to consider the measurability of results like these and to set up suitable evaluation methods so that they can be built into processes such as registration and checking out.
Tip: A consortium of UK-based tourism organisations has developed the eventIMPACTS Toolkit (in English only), an evaluation guidance aid that event planners can download free of charge after registering on the website. The European Event ROI Institute based in Norway offers a free 45-minute webinar on performance monitoring/analysis.