Trade Show Surveys To Enhance Your Trade Show Participation

Don’t miss your chance! Event survey questions or trade show surveys can help generate good intel, in turn helping you make your products or services as appealing as possible. As trade show managers, it’s easy to become complacent and adopt an “if we build it, they will come” mentality about our participation in shows. But that only works in Kevin Costner movies.

What really works on the trade show floor is knowing your customers and prospects as intensely as you can, so you’ll know how to make your products or services as appealing as possible. That means you need good intel.

trade show surveys

"Please take a minute to share your opinion."

You can get that intelligence from trade show surveys that focus on both your customers and your prospects. Both groups have information that will prove valuable to you. Trade show surveys are one of the most important marketing research tools because they allow you to capture valuable information about clients and prospective clients. You can discover how much these groups know about you and what you can do to serve them better.

KEY suggestion: keep it short. It’s better to ask participants to take two or three shorter surveys than to hope they’ll remain interested and engaged in one long, ponderous inquisition. In fact, introduce your trade show surveys with a time frame like this: “Please take a minute to share your opinions with us.”

If you absolutely must use a longer survey, provide a benefit for the survey taker: a chance to win something of value (that represents value to the respondent personally, not his or her company), a thoughtful premium item, a coffee house gift card, etc.

Numerous online resources can assist you in creating surveys to help you study your audience. But first, you have to determine what you want to know. You might want to design your survey with these guidelines in mind:

Where Are You Now?

I’d suggest you begin your trade show surveys with questions that help you gauge your current relationship with your customers and prospects.

  • Ask them how your connection could be strengthened. 
  • Quiz them to find ways you could increase your level of service to better meet their needs.

What Else Can You Do For Me?

It’s always easier to sell more to an existing client than to find new clients to sell to. You might also want to find out if your existing customers would be interested in doing more business with you if you had more to offer.

  • Ask, “In addition to widgets, what other widget-like products do you use in your business?”

What’s Your Biggest Problem?

People want to tell you what they think, good or bad (particularly if the survey is anonymous). So, ask respondents what the top three to five frustrations are that they experience in their work lives, and then plan to show how your product or service can solve them.

Having gathered that information, you can generate a customized landing page that shows prospects how you can help. It could be as simple as “If you answered ‘C’ to Question 4, you’ve got a problem with ‘x.’ Stop by our booth at the ABC show and check out our product that does ‘y.’”

Is Our Marketing on the Mark?

This might also be a good opportunity to see how well your marketing efforts are doing with the very people you’re trying to reach. Are your current marketing campaigns on target, or do your customers and prospects feel you’re missing the mark? Remember New Coke? There’s an example of a company trying to do exactly what its customers didn’t want.

Consider using the same survey in your trade show exhibit. Set up a few iPad kiosks and invite attendees to share their opinions. Your booth staffers can walk prospects through the survey, helping to build face-to-face relationships. Then your people can steer attendees to the product or service that meets their needs. This in-booth surveying adds to your collective intelligence about your marketing program's various aspects, giving you a bigger sample size.

different types of event survey questions

Different Types of Trade Show Surveys & Questions

There are many ways you can pose questions to attendees of a trade show. 

NPS Questions

These questions are multiple choice and ask the attendees to rate an item on a numeric scale. The values you get from the answers to these questions can help you determine the net promotor score or NPS. 

Some examples of NPS questions include:

  • How satisfied were you with the following aspects of the event? (Name of the speaker, venue, session quality, etc.) Have them rate each aspect.
  • How would you rate our organization during this event?
  • How do you rate the engagement of our booth staff?

Yes and No Questions

This is a binary question that is often followed up with a more open-ended question based on logic. Some examples of good yes and no questions include:

  • Are you likely to participate in one of our events in the future?
  • Will we see you again next year?
  • Would you recommend this event?
  • Was this a positive networking opportunity?

Open-Ended Questions

These trade show surveys questions are open-ended, meaning there is room to expand on the information the attendee provides. It also allows you to gain valuable feedback to improve on different aspects of your trade show booth.

Some examples of open-ended questions include:

  • What elements of this event did you enjoy?
  • What did you dislike about this event?
  • Why did you choose to attend this event?
  • What was the best part of your experience?
  • What can we improve on for future trade shows?

What Is the Importance of Event Survey Questions?

Event evaluation is important so you can better identify positive and negative practices to improve future performances. An event feedback survey is the best way to accomplish this because it gives you the opportunity to speak to an event attendee and even event organizer to see which areas you can improve.

Attendee satisfaction is important because you want people to continue to follow your brand and visit at future events. With an event feedback survey, you can ask a mix of multiple choice, open ended, scaling, and yes or no questions so you can learn how to be more efficient and effective as a brand and event organizer in the future.

Think carefully about the questions you want to include in your post event survey so you can take advantage of all the event feedback you receive.

What About Pre-Event Trade Show Surveys?

There are also several questions you should ask potential event guests ahead of the event as well. These are known as pre event survey questions. Ask attendees questions such as:

  • How did you hear about this event?
  • Why did you choose this event?
  • Have you attended this event before?
  • What is your preferred social media platform?

Pre event survey questions allow you to figure out what potential attendees want so you can plan a more successful event. Also, an engaged audience is more interested and will show up. 

after trade show surveys - What Our Customers Are Saying

What Next?

The next step in dealing with the information from good trade show surveys may be to share it with those who took part in its gathering. There are benefits to letting your prospects and customers know what you’ve learned.

After the show, analyze your responses and create a report to share with those who participated. This report should also include information related to how your products or services helped prospects and customers, providing solutions to problems they identified.

It may also be worthwhile to include a section titled “What We Learned” or something to that effect. In it, you can share what respondents had to say about your company, your products, your customer service, or any other issues they highlighted.

Then explain what action steps your company has taken (or plans to take) to improve in any area(s) where respondents found you lacking. Honesty breeds respect, so don’t sugar coat things. I suggest you own up to any mistakes your company may have made.

There’s no mystery to conducting good trade show surveys. However, they’re only as good at uncovering useful information as their construction allows. So put ample time into the creation and wording of each question. You want to ask the right questions for the best attendee feedback, so you can be sure you’re soliciting responses you’ll benefit from.

Those show attendees you want to attract to your trade show exhibit make judgments about your company based solely on the look of your booth.


If your trade show booth is starting to appear a little road-weary or dated, you may be turning off potential customers before you even have the chance to demonstrate your product or service. 

Let us show you how we can help your exhibit make a positive statement about your company. Call (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected]

For more, check out another discussion about event surveys , and remember, trade shows are not stand-alone events!