Attendee Journey Mapping: How to Plan the Perfect Guest Experience

Try these tips to learn how attendee journey mapping can upgrade your next event

Thinking about your attendees’ goals and needs is the foundation of a great event. What do attendees expect from their experience? How can you make the event unforgettable? What theme will bring the event to life? What activities will attendees enjoy the most? 

To answer crucial questions like these, you need to know as much as possible about how your guests will interact with your event. The key is attendee journey mapping, which will allow you to plan out every step of the guest experience, including before, during, and after the event. 

Ready to get started? Follow these three tips to get to work on attendee journey mapping for your next event.

Identify Touchpoints

Touchpoints refer to the ways attendees interact with your event. These points take many forms, from the methods used to announce the event to the photographs attendees receive after it’s over.

To help identify all the touchpoints at your event, put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Starting with pre-event activities like booking a ticket and continuing through to post-event activities like completing a survey, catalog all the interactions your guests will have with your event. Pay special attention to all the times you ask them to take an action.

To give you a firmer idea of what to look for, here are some touchpoints to consider:


Pre-event

  • Ticket purchase
  • Social media interaction
  • Event website navigation

During event

  • Check-in
  • Entertainment
  • Meals and breaks

Post-event

  • Surveys
  • Follow-up emails
  • Invitations to future events

Generate an Experience Grid

Now that you’ve identified the touchpoints, it’s time to create an experience grid, which will help you rank touchpoints in order of importance. An experience grid will help give you an overview of the guest journey, so you can then determine attendees’ satisfaction and use your findings to design future events based on the focus areas established.

Put each touchpoint on one axis of the grid, with importance on the other axis. (Here’s an example.) From there, use this grid as the basis of a post-event survey: Send out a survey after the event and ask guests to rate their satisfaction in regard to each touchpoint on a scale of 1 to 10. Also ask them to rate the importance of each aspect and to leave comments or feedback about their experience with each touchpoint.

You can now order your touchpoints by importance and see how satisfied your guests were with each touchpoint. This will also enable you to prioritize which touchpoints to improve in the future. 

Using Technology to Your Advantage: Obtaining Experience Data

The relationship between technology and your attendees’ journey is getting closer all the time. There are now many digital methods for collecting and analyzing attendee data, which can help transform strategy and the guest experience.

When creating your experience grid, consider using data from digital platforms to help get a better picture of how attendees respond to your touchpoints. For example, comments and likes on a Facebook post about special event ticket prices could be included in the pre-event section of your experience grid. If you gave guests RFID bracelets, you can update the post-event section with data about what activities attendees preferred or the attendance rate of guests throughout multiday events.

Putting It All Together

With all this data collected, organized and analyzed in your experience grid, you now have a much more complete view of how attendees feel about their experiences. Even after you’ve completed your experienced grid and implemented what you learned, don’t stop collecting and analyzing data about attendee touchpoints; up-to-date information about guest preferences will come in handy as you plan events in the future.

There’s always a way to make your event better, and attendee journey mapping offers an effective option for identifying opportunities for improvement. Also, don’t be afraid to seek outside help with your event. Bringing in a third party, like Marriott’s event consulting service, can be a great way to get another pair of experienced eyes to help identify areas where your attendee journey can be improved.