What do guests think of our events?
If you’re asked to participate in a research survey, expect to be asked about:
• Where you’re from.
• How you got here.
• Your impressions of the event you’re attending.
• If you plan to return.
This story has been corrected to better define the methods used in determining “net promoter” scores.
EAGLE COUNTY — If you attended events at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, there’s a chance you’ve been asked to participate in a survey. Your answers may help shape future events in the valley.
The Vail Valley Foundation and Intercept Insight, an Avon-based firm owned by Jason Roberts, have been working together to ask guests about the job the Vail Valley Foundation has done putting together the Championships events. Every day, Roberts and between two and four other people are going through event surveys with visitors. And, Roberts said, most of those guests are willing to help.
“We’ll go four or five hours and get turned down once,” Roberts said. “People are receptive to research — they’re happy to be asked.”
The answers to the questions asked by Roberts and his survey-takers are increasingly important in the world of events. In the case of the Championships, Roberts said the Vail Valley Foundation — the organizing body for the event — wants to understand the impacts of the two weeks of ski racing, concerts and other events.
Those impacts include, but aren’t limited to, what people do while they’re here and whether they came specifically for the Championships. Data gleaned from these surveys will also include how much guests are spending and where they’re staying. The surveys will also calculate the “net promoter score” of the events.
Those scores have become both essential to event promoters and a badge of honor inside the industry. Guests are asked for overall impressions on a scale of zero to 10. On that scale, guests who give events, destinations and services scores of nine or more are viewed as “promoters,” people who not only enjoyed their stay but will talk about their good experiences with their friends, neighbors and social media contacts.
Those scores are an important tool in evaluating the job a destination is doing. They also offer ways to improve those scores, with the goal being to turn people who have had a good time but may not yet be the “brand advocates” companies seek.
Roberts’ company pulls those survey answers into a cohesive whole. And, Roberts said, the results are able to provide worthwhile information for sometimes disparate events.
“You can’t compare the (GoPro) Mountain Games to the Fourth of July,” Roberts said “Over the years, we’ve developed benchmarks so we can compare apples to apples.”
Roberts started Intercept Insight about five years ago, after a stint managing the market research department at Vail Resorts. That company does great, sophisticated work, Roberts said. But a lot of that information stays in-house.
“I saw the need elsewhere (for information),” Roberts said. “I live here, and I want to see the valley grow and be successful.”
To that end, Intercept Insight is building a valley-wide database using information gathered from events from one end of the valley to the other.
Michelle Meteer is the economic development director for the town of Minturn. The town has used Roberts’ company for its summer markets, and Meteer said the information has been well worth gathering.
“We want to learn who’s coming, what they’re looking for and whether they’ll shop at the stores in Minturn,” Meteer said.
Meteer has just finished a sponsorship package for 2015 markets. That packet includes a lot of the information Roberts’ company has generated. Knowing the audience is a powerful tool to take to potential vendors and sponsors, Meteer said.
Meteer called guest research “extra helpful” to virtually anyone involved in event production.
In Avon, the town government has recently started using a different kind of research tool. Town Manager Virginia Egger said the town has recently started using an electronic system that can provide daily tracking of sales and lodging tax collections.
When a town is spending taxpayer money on events, “You need to know whether you’re getting a meaningful return,” Egger said. “It’s invaluable.”
For other events, though, expect to see Roberts or his survey-takers taking four or five minutes of guests’ time, helping shape those events in seasons to come.