Conference and Event Planners are the party planners of the Hospitality Industry. Whenever a company or individual needs to use hotel spaces for any kind of special event, including weddings, congresses, conferences, conventions, and any other social events, they get in touch with the Event Planner.
An Event Planer’s work consists mostly of planning and coordinating every aspect of the event, from guests to food and beverages, staff, security, and entertainment. They may also decorate the venue according to the client’s requirements and are in charge of setting up all the necessary technological equipment. Their main goals include ensuring that all aspects of the event meet the client’s requirements, keeping guests satisfied, and guaranteeing that the event runs as expected and without a hitch.
Although most Event Planners work at either a hotel or an event agency, they may also work in Public Relations firms or be self-employed.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Event Planners are required to complete.
- Coordinating and handling all aspects of the event at hand (e.g. guest list, entertainment, food, security, and promotional material if needed):
- Discussing clients’ expectations and goals regarding the event;
- arranging accommodation and lodging of attendees;
- planning food and beverage for the event (e.g. catering, buffet, bar);
- planning themes and decorations;
- recruiting and instructing the necessary staff for the event (e.g. Security Guards, Servers, caterers, audiovisual experts, entertainers, Translators); and
- installing or arranging for the necessary audiovisual equipment to be installed according to the activities planned for the event.
- Supervising the progress of the event, ensuring it’s aligned with the established budget and deadlines:
- Facilitating meetings with professional associations, sponsors, and other groups to promote and discuss the details of the conference, convention, or event (e.g. budget, guests, and deadlines);
- promoting the event when necessary and delivering invitations;
- inspecting the facilities, the foodservice provider , table distribution, entertainment activities, guests, etc.; and
- doing one last inspection of the facilities before the event starts in order to ensure it complies with the client’s requirements.
- Communicating with the customer:
- Being the point of contact between customers and the establishment during the entire event process;
- efficiently communicating event details to coordinating establishment’s departments to ensure proper delivery of event expectations;
- ensuring all information provided to the client is current and accurate;
- assisting customers in all inquiries related to the event and resolving any conflicts that may arise;
- responding to all requests in an accurate and timely manner, accommodating special requests, if any;
- interacting with clients to obtain feedback on quality and service levels; and
- following up with customers post-event.
- Managing administrative procedures:
- Reviewing and approving tenders, invoices, and any related paperwork; and
- keeping track of all the necessary purchases made for the event, reporting all expenses to their client.
- Developing a business network with the local venues, vendors, and service suppliers:
- Networking and securing contracts with providers of food and beverages, entertainment, musicians, transportation, and audiovisual equipment, among others.
- Complying with the establishment’s event planning and hosting policies, as well as to any laws and regulations that may apply.
- Coordinating and overseeing all aspects of the event at hand, ensuring they’re being handled properly.
- Monitoring budgets and deadlines.
- Being the point of contact between the client and the hotel or venue.
- Liaising with vendors, service suppliers, and staff throughout all the phases of the events.
- Meeting the clients’ requests and negotiating with them in case of changes.
- Visiting event facilities to ensure that they meet the customer’s requirements.
The average Event Planner salary in USA is $37,734 per year or $19 per hour. This is around 1.3 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $26,000 while most experienced workers make up to $53,000. These results are based on 105 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding interpersonal, communication, and negotiation skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients, vendors, service suppliers and staff members; and
- displaying strong customer service skills.
- Exceeding organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills;
- being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- being able to perform duties with minimal supervision;
- being able to meet all the client’s requirement within the established deadlines; and
- being detail-oriented.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Being driven to provide high quality service;
- identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner exercising good judgment;
- being a clear thinker;
- dealing with stressful and unexpected situations; and
- being able to think independently.
- Self-motivated, decisive, responsible and driven to provide the best service.
Aside from the skills listed above, an Event Planner also needs to have an extensive and thorough knowledge of convention/catering, food and beverage, and other hospitality professions. College education in Hospitality, Public Relations, Communications, or Marketing is usually preferred, as well as proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and other related software. Similarly, several institutions offer courses and training programs in this field.
Event Planners are also required to have a minimum of 3 years of experience in the Hospitality industry. Experience in the Sales area could also be a requirement when applying for this position. It is advisable to complete an internship and to do volunteer work to gain experience before applying for this position. Conference and Event Planners must also be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends and holidays, as well as to stand and walk for an eight-hour long shift. Additionally, in order to get more clients, it is important to create and develop a business portfolio, which covers all the events.
Event Planners may join event associations, such as The Meeting Professionals International Association (MPI), or The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) as these offer educational and job opportunities for applicants.
Although not obligatory, Event Planners may obtain certifications from important organizations as a way to demonstrate and support their skills. The most popular certifications include:
- The Certified Meeting Professional credential (CMP);
- the Certified Government Meeting Professional credential (CGMP); and
- the Certified Special Event Professional designation (CSEP).
Something most positions in the Hospitality field have in common is that the candidate doesn’t necessarily need a college degree to get promoted. An entry-level job will help the applicant develop and master the skills and abilities required to progress in their professional journey.