Conference and Event Planners plan, organize and coordinate conferences, conventions, meetings, seminars, exhibitions, trade shows, festivals and other events. They are employed by tourism associations, trade and professional associations, convention and conference centres, governments, and by conference and event planning companies, or they may be self-employed.
Event planners coordinate logistics, such as budgets, speakers, entertainment, transportation, facilities, technology, equipment, decoration, displays, food and beverage, and other related logistical requirements.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Event Planners are required to complete.
- Planning and organizing events:
- Facilitating any meetings when necessary, including meetings with professional associations, sponsors, and other groups to promote and discuss the details of the conference, convention, or event;
- organizing committees to plan scope and format of events;
- supervising the progress of the event, including budget establishing and monitoring;
- planning entertainment and social gatherings for participants;
- organizing registration of participants, preparing programs and promotional material, and publicizing the event to ensure maximum exposure;
- planning themes and decorations; 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 liaison between the client and the establishment throughout the event process (pre-event, during the event, and post-event);
- efficiently communicating event details to coordinating establishment’s departments to ensure proper delivery of event expectations;
- coordinating and communicating both verbally and in writing with the customer (internal or external) regarding event details;
- ensuring all information provided to the client is current and accurate;
- assisting customers in all inquiries related to the event;
- resolving any conflicts that may arise in order to ensure a high-quality service and ensure customer satisfaction;
- interacting with clients to obtain feedback on quality and service levels; and
- following up with customer post-event.
- Coordinating services for events:
- Taking care of accommodations and transportation for participants;
- planning food and beverage for the event (e.g. catering, buffet, bar);
- hiring, training and supervising the staff required for the events (e.g. security guards, servers, caterers, audiovisual experts, entertainers, translators);
- taking care of special needs requirements (e.g. ramps, assistants, open aisles);
- accommodating special requests whenever possible, responding to all requests in an accurate and timely manner; and coordinating the necessary audiovisual equipment according to the activities planned for the event.
- Managing administrative operations:
- Negotiating contracts for services;
- approving suppliers’ invoices and maintaining financial records; and
- reviewing final invoice submitted to clients for events and preparing the corresponding reports.
- Developing a business network with the local venues, vendors and service suppliers:
- Networking with providers of food and beverages, entertainment, transportation, audiovisual equipment, etc. in order to promote exceptional work relationships.
- Ensuring compliance with required bylaws, regulations, policies and procedures of the establishment where the event is taking place.
- Being responsible for the smooth execution of all events.
- Acting as a liaison between the client and the hotel.
- Promoting teamwork and quality service through daily communications and coordination with vendors, service suppliers, and staff throughout all the phases of the events.
- Building a network of vendors.
- Inspecting event facilities to ensure that they follow the customer’s requirements.
The average Event Planner salary is $46,377 per year or $24 per hour. This is around 1.4 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $32,000 while most experienced workers make up to $65,000. These results are based on 72 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal and communication 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.
- 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; and
- being organized and 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; 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 is usually preferred, as well as proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and Delphi.
Event Planners are also required to have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Experience in the Sales area could also be a requirement when 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.
Something most positions in the Hospitality field have in common is that you don’t necessarily need a college degree to get promoted. You can easily work your way up the career ladder from an entry-level customer service role. Accordingly, you can first start as a Bellhop or Front Desk Clerk in a hotel and work yourself up to Event Planner position if you’re driven toward planning and organizing events.