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Become A Conference Services Manager

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Working As A Conference Services Manager

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $46,840

    Average Salary

What Does A Conference Services Manager Do

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Duties

Meeting, convention, and event planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to understand the purpose of the meeting or event
  • Plan the scope of the event, including time, location, and cost
  • Solicit bids from venues and service providers
  • Inspect venues to ensure that they meet the client's requirements
  • Coordinate event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service
  • Monitor event activities to ensure the client and event attendees are satisfied
  • Review event bills and approve payments

There are millions of meetings and events held each year. Meeting, convention, and event planners organize a variety of these events including weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions. They coordinate every detail of these events, including finances. Before a meeting event, for example, planners will meet with clients to estimate attendance and determine the meeting’s purpose. During the event, they handle logistics, such as registering guests and organizing audio/visual equipment. After the meeting, they make sure all vendors are paid and may survey attendees to obtain feedback on the event.

Meeting, convention, and event planners search for potential meeting sites, such as hotels and convention centers. They consider the lodging and services that the facility can provide, how easy it will be for people to get there, and the attractions that the surrounding area has to offer. Planners may also consider whether an online meeting can achieve the same objectives as one that requires attendees to meet in a physical location.

Once a location is selected, planners arrange the meeting space and support services, such as catering and interpreters. They negotiate contracts with suppliers and coordinate plans with the venue’s staff, and they may also organize speakers, entertainment, and activities.

The following are examples of types of meeting, convention, and event planners:

Association planners organize annual conferences and trade shows for professional associations. Because member attendance is usually voluntary, it is important for associations to emphasize the meeting’s value and location; for some association planners, marketing is an important aspect of their work.

Convention service managers work for hotels and convention centers. They act as liaisons between the meeting facility and the planners who work for associations, businesses, and governments. They present food service options to outside planners, coordinate special requests, and suggest hotel services that work within a planner’s budget.

Corporate planners organize internal business meetings and meetings between businesses. These events may be in person or online, held either within corporate facilities or offsite to include more people.

Event planners arrange the details of a variety of events. Wedding planners are the most well-known, but event planners also coordinate celebrations such as anniversaries, reunions, and other large social events, as well as corporate events including product launches, galas, and award ceremonies.

Government meeting planners organize meetings for government officials and agencies. Familiarity with government regulations, such as procedures for buying materials and booking hotels, is essential to their work.

Healthcare meeting planners specialize in organizing meetings and conferences for allied healthcare professionals. Healthcare meetings have to meet strict standards in order for the meeting to count as continuing education and to comply with government regulations.

Nonprofit event planners plan large events with the goal of raising donations for a charity or advocacy organization. Events may include banquets, charity races, and food drives.

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How To Become A Conference Services Manager

Applicants usually need a bachelor's degree and some experience related to event planning. 

Education

Many employers prefer applicants who have a bachelor's degree and some work experience in hotels or planning. The proportion of planners with a bachelor's degree is increasing because work responsibilities have become more complex. Although some colleges offer degree programs in meeting and event management, other common fields of study include hospitality and tourism management. If an applicant’s degree is not related to these fields, employers are likely to require at least 1 to 2 years of related hospitality or planning experience.

Planners who have studied meeting and event management or hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than those from other academic disciplines. Some colleges offer continuing education courses in meeting and event planning.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a voluntary certification for meeting and convention planners. Although the CMP is not required, it is widely recognized in the industry and may help in career advancement. To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of 36 months of meeting management experience, recent employment in a meeting management job, and proof of continuing education credits. Those who qualify must then pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic planning, financial and risk management, facility operations and services, and logistics.

In 2014, the Convention Industry Council created the Certified Meeting Professional-Healthcare (CMP-HC) certification, a CMP specialization related to healthcare industry meeting planners. Planners who want to earn CMP-HC certification must first hold CMP certification and also meet the work and planning requirements specifically in healthcare industry meeting planning.

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) offers the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation for meeting planners who work for, or contract with, federal, state, or local government. This certification is not required to work as a government meeting planner; however, it may be helpful for those who want to show that they know government purchasing policies and travel regulations. To qualify, candidates must have worked as a meeting planner for at least 1 year and have been a member of SGMP for 6 months. To become a certified planner, members must take a 3-day course and pass an exam.

Some organizations offer voluntary certifications in wedding planning, including the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants. Although not required, the certifications can be helpful in attracting clients and proving knowledge.

Other Experience

It is beneficial for new meeting, convention, and event planners to have experience in hospitality industry jobs. Working in a variety of positions at hotels, convention centers, and convention bureaus provides knowledge of how the hospitality industry operates. Other beneficial work experiences include coordinating university or volunteer events and shadowing professionals.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners communicate with clients, suppliers, and event staff. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills to convey the needs of their clients effectively.

Composure. Meeting, convention, and event planners often work in a fast-paced environment and must be able to make quick decisions while remaining calm under pressure. When necessary materials do not arrive on schedule, they make alternative arrangements calmly and swiftly.

Interpersonal skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must establish and maintain positive relationships with clients and suppliers. There are often a limited number of vendors in an area which can be used, and they will likely need them for future events.

Negotiation skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to negotiate service contracts events. They need to secure quality products and services at reasonable prices for their clients.

Organizational skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must multitask, pay attention to details, and meet tight deadlines in order to provide high-quality meetings. Many meetings are planned more than a year in advance, so long-term thinking is vital. 

Problem-solving skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to develop creative solutions that satisfy clients. They must be able to recognize potential problems and identify solutions in advance.

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Conference Services Manager jobs

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Conference Services Manager Demographics

Gender

Female

71.1%

Male

28.1%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

81.4%

Hispanic or Latino

10.1%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.9%

French

13.9%

German

5.6%

Italian

5.6%

Portuguese

2.8%

Romanian

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Thai

2.8%
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Conference Services Manager Education

Schools

Johnson & Wales University

15.2%

University of Central Florida

8.3%

Cornell University

7.6%

Michigan State University

6.8%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

6.8%

Florida International University

5.3%

San Diego State University

4.5%

Central Washington University

3.8%

Washington State University

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

Florida Gulf Coast University

3.8%

University of Delaware

3.8%

Anne Arundel Community College

3.8%

San Francisco State University

3.8%

University of Florida

3.0%

Appalachian State University

3.0%

Northern Arizona University

3.0%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

3.0%

Temple University

3.0%
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Majors

Hospitality Management

24.3%

Business

19.3%

Communication

9.0%

Health Care Administration

7.9%

Management

6.2%

Marketing

6.2%

Psychology

3.8%

Kinesiology

2.9%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

English

2.4%

Culinary Arts

2.1%

Fine Arts

2.1%

General Studies

1.9%

Political Science

1.7%

Elementary Education

1.4%

Criminal Justice

1.4%

Legal Support Services

1.2%

Global Studies

1.2%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.2%

Human Resources Management

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.9%

Other

21.1%

Masters

11.7%

Associate

8.0%

Certificate

4.6%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.4%
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Real Conference Services Manager Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Hotel Senior Conference Services Manager Sheraton Operating Corporation San Francisco, CA Jul 19, 2011 $67,209
Conference Services Manager Highgate Hotels LP New York, NY Oct 02, 2015 $62,331
Hotel Conference Services Manager St. Regis Hotel, Washington D.C. Washington, DC Oct 19, 2009 $60,433
Hotel Conference Services Manager Sheraton Operating Corporation Washington, DC Dec 15, 2009 $60,432
Hotel Conference Services Manager Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Washington, DC Jan 25, 2010 $60,432
Conference Services Manager Highgate Hotels LP New York, NY Oct 02, 2012 $52,083
Conference Service Manager Destination Madison Management, Inc. Washington, DC Oct 01, 2011 $52,000
Conference Service Manager Park Central Management LLC New York, NY Feb 07, 2011 $50,000
Manager In Development/Conference Services Manager 246 Spring St.(Ny), LLC New York, NY Aug 20, 2016 $47,732

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Top Skills for A Conference Services Manager

BanquetSpaceBeverageMinimumsBanquetEventOrdersAudioVisualEquipmentConferenceServicesMeetingSpaceMeetingRoomGroupResumesVIPGroupRoomBlocksMeetingPlannersSpecialEventsHotelDepartmentsSocialEventsSiteInspectionsCustomerServiceGroupBusinessFunctionSpaceSuperviseEventPlanning

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Top Conference Services Manager Skills

  1. Banquet Space
  2. Beverage Minimums
  3. Banquet Event Orders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work to maximize hotel banquet space and forecast labor.
  • Work directly with corporate groups with contracted food & beverage minimums of $250K+ and 1000+ room nights on peak.
  • Created accurate resumes and banquet event orders detailing program specifications.
  • Up sell food & beverage and audio visual equipment to maximize revenue.
  • Developed & implemented new marketing strategy and material for local social business, conference services and wedding department in 2015.

Top Conference Services Manager Employers

Conference Services Manager Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Conference and Banqueting Manager by Jozsef P (Full Version)

Conference Services Manager, Bobbye McCorkle

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