When it comes to managing special events, it can be difficult to evaluate success because things rarely go as planned and there is always room for improvement. A gap analysis makes measuring the success of special events much easier. A gap analysis creates a set of goals prior to the event and compares these goals to actual outcomes. This will allow you to assess how successful an event has been at meeting these goals.


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Write down a list of goals that you want to achieve prior to the special event. These goals should be measurable. Examples of goals for a special event might include the number of attendees, level of media coverage, expenses or increased brand awareness. Whatever goals you select, make sure that they are what you consider critical to the success of the special event. The goals should be specific; if your goal is the number of attendees, write down the specific number you want to achieve.

Write down a list of achievements after the event. Only include those that you had set out in your goals. Again, you want to use specific figures. Be certain that the figures you use are comparable with your goals. For example, if your goal was to distribute 100 promotional units at the event, your achievement must be measured in units (not cases, pounds or dollar value).


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Calculate the difference between your goals and your achievements. This is a relatively straightforward process: you simply take the figure that you selected for your goal and the figure you achieved, then calculate the difference between the two. If you had a goal to sell 3,000 tickets for the special event and the actual figure was 2,000, then you have a gap of 1,000 tickets. If you sold 3,000 or more tickets, no gap exists.

Write a report based on the gaps noted in the event. This will help you make improvements in the way you organize future special events. You should include all the gaps, with possible explanations and suggestions for improvements, as well as all the achievements where there were no gaps, with explanations as to why the goal was achieved.

Distribute the report to all relevant parties, including everyone who worked on the special event and will be working on similar special events in the future. This will allow them to understand the performance gaps at the previous event and will provide them with advice on how to make improvements in the future. This will reduce future performance gaps.


Remember to only use measurable goals. If you use a less tangible goal, such as increased brand awareness, you need to have a measurable performance indicator, such as a 20 percent increase in brand familiarity among event attendees.


Only use data that you know are reliable. Estimates or guesses will not yield useful results and may cause you to make incorrect conclusions.