Some 48 percent of association meeting attendees fill out online session evaluations, according to a study by MeetingMetrics of users of its meeting measurement software.

“I’m pleased, but not all that surprised, because I know our licensees do a really good job,” says Ira Kerns, managing director at New York–based MeetingMetrics, owned by GuideStar Research. It was the first time that MeetingMetrics had conducted a study of the associations that use its online session and program evaluation system. The results are based on responses from 260 conferences/programs (with multiple sessions per program) representing 175,659 attendees that MeetingMetrics has served over the past few years. Evaluations were filled out either during the conference or up to a few weeks after the meeting.

With the average response rate at 48 percent, a rate of 75 percent or higher would fall into the top percentile, while rates of 25 percent or lower would be in the bottom percentile. Also, MeetingMetrics found that there was a higher response rate, 53 percent, for sessions that offered continuing education credits.

The company also looked at the response rates for post-conference evaluations—those made available to attendees only after the conference—not during. Those response rates, based on feedback from 174 conferences, were slightly lower at 40 percent. That’s not surprising, said Kerns, since attendees are typically more engaged during the event.

A key to getting more responses is in how well, and how frequently, survey reminder messages are communicated to attendees. About half of all evaluations are completed during the meeting, he says.

Obviously, higher response rates capture the attitudes of your attendees more accurately, says Kerns. It also gives meeting planners or education directors more intelligence on the speakers and content they are producing so that they can create better programs for their attendees.