Whether you’re planning one or a hundred events every year, tracking and reporting an event’s return on investment (ROI) can be a tricky proposition. With the right processes in place you will be able to report metrics that can directly measure an event’s contribution to the company’s goals or bottom line.

Before undertaking this process, be sure to understand each meeting’s importance and how it aligns with business goals. Without proper executive buy-in, your journey through ROI land may be bumpy. It’s vital you take this first step before proceeding any further.

Below is a definition of ROI, how to calculate it and why it’s so important to the events industry.

ROI concept with a tablet

What is ROI?

Return on Investment is the ratio between the net profit and cost resulting from a resource investment, which is usually measured in money and/or time. A high ROI means the investment’s gains compare favorably to its cost.


How is it Calculated?

ROI is the net profit of an investment divided by the cost. The result is expressed as a percentage. For example, if the net profit from an event is $7,000, which is divided by a $20,000 cost, your total ROI is 35 percent. A good ROI is around 15 percent and with anything larger, the dollar outlay is considered positive, according to TrendShare.

ROI is examined within three categories: fixed, variable and indirect costs. A fixed cost might be your meeting room rental or speaker fee. A variable cost is your food bill because it’s based on the number of attendees at your event. Indirect cost is the event staff’s hours tied to planning and executing the event.

Here are six additional factors to consider for measuring and reporting on event goals:

  1. How many returning attendees signed up for your event? How much did you spend on marketing to them?
  2. How many new people registered? What marketing dollars were designated for this audience?
  3. How many VIPs came?
  4. How many registrants took advantage of:
    • Discounts?
    • Early Bird Specials?
    • VIP pricing?
  5. How fast was your check-in process? For example, if you used self-service kiosks instead of a manual check-in process this year, were you able to move people through quicker, easier and more accurately?
  6. How many people registered through email campaigns or social media postings? With Google URL Builder you can track which channels are working and devote more attention and dollars to them, negating ineffective methods. This is especially useful when looking at PPC and SEM spending.

Other key areas to track:

  • Session poll responses, including the sentiment of the event
  • Session attendance overall and for each breakout program
  • One-on-one appointments for exhibitors
  • Social media mentions and sharing among attendees


Why Do It?

Without measurements, it will be hard to determine the worth of each marketing investment when compared to your business goals. In addition, this process establishes a baseline to effectively measure growth or stagnation of future events. Lastly, positive ROI helps gain future executive buy-in, especially if your conference has been trending up over time.


Kalahari is Here to Help with ROI

The staff at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions can help in all of your measurement areas. We combine the best in family friendly resort amenities with a massive, state of the art convention and trade show space. One of our professional group sales representatives is standing by to take your call at 855.411.4605.