Henley Women’s Regatta

Henley Women’s Regatta used SmartSurvey to get feedback from stakeholders so they could grow and improve their event.

Case Studies / Henley Women’s Regatta


Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) is one of the most important rowing events in the sporting calendar and is the largest all female rowing event in the world. They used SmartSurvey to get feedback from competitors, spectators, and other stakeholders so they could grow and improve their event.

Phillip Plato, (Director Venue Facilities), told us about his experiences using SmartSurvey, and how it’s helped the regatta to make better decisions and establish economic benefits of the event to sponsors and the local community.

The requirement

This year organisers of HWR were looking to obtain feedback from competitors and spectators. As the regatta runs on a tight financial budget and operates entirely through unpaid volunteers, getting this feedback via a traditional paper survey or paid consultancy would have been problematic.

This feedback would help to:

  • Support local grant applications to Henley Town Council
  • Assist in future facilities planning
  • Identify where the Regatta needed to improve to meet athlete expectations

The solution

HWR needed to obtain feedback on what people like/dislike about the event and establish where people stay & dine during the Regatta. Both of which were crucial to establishing what economic benefits the Regatta brings to Henley. They faced the difficult challenge of how to engage with 1,800 competitors individually as well many thousands of spectators, using only a few volunteers. So they contacted SmartSurvey about our Not-for-profit plan that would allow them to create and use online surveys.

With SmartSurvey, HWR was able to;

  1. Acquire statistical evidence to support grant applications or presentations to sponsors
  2. Gain firm feedback on the value attendees placed on new facilities being introduced
  3. Establish a clear economic benefit to Henley from hosting the Regatta

SmartSurvey has helped the organising committee make important decisions and work more effectively.

Phillip, Henley Women’s Regatta

The results

With SmartSurvey it was possible to gain feedback from athletes, coaches suppliers, contractors, volunteers and virtual spectators from TV internet streaming.

Survey found that;

  • HWR generates in excess of £300,000 of economic benefit to the town of Henley
  • Virtual spectators for the Regatta have increased, reflecting the events growing reach
  • Competitors and supporters greatly valued live filming and additional site facilities

By using online surveys for event feedback, HWR have been able to further improve how it engages with spectators and monitor approval of its ongoing initiatives.

SmartSurvey has become a valuable management tool that is very cost effective. It does require investment in the form of time from one person to co-ordinate the project but the information gathered is invaluable to this not for profit organisation!

Phillip, Henley Women’s Regatta


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