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Become An Event Planner

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Working As An Event Planner

  • 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

  • $45,217

    Average Salary

What Does An Event Planner 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 An Event Planner

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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Event Planner jobs

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Real Event Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Event Planner Alfaro Family Office New York, NY Dec 08, 2016 $120,000
Event Planner Alfaro Family Office, LLC New York, NY Aug 18, 2014 $120,000
Event Planner Sam DS, LLC Los Angeles, CA Mar 04, 2013 $85,000
Event Planner Get The World Moving Inc. New York, NY Mar 18, 2015 $80,346
Event Planner Get The World Moving Inc. New York, NY Mar 06, 2013 $75,000
Event Planner Get The World Moving Inc. New York, NY Mar 18, 2013 $75,000
Event Planner I-Advize Corporate Communications, Inc. New York, NY Oct 15, 2015 $73,133
Event Planner York Street Staffing and Events Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2013 $73,000
Event Planner York Street Staffing and Events Inc. New York, NY Jun 09, 2015 $73,000
Event Planner York Street Staffing and Events Inc. New York, NY Jun 21, 2015 $73,000
Mtg/Conv/Event Planner (INT Title: Conf & TRG Prog Institute of Gas Technology Des Plaines, IL Feb 01, 2014 $72,000
Program Event Planner Jaffe Management New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $50,067
Wedding & Event Planner Tall and Small Events, LLC Mahopac, NY Aug 01, 2015 $50,067
Events Planner Obaltan Inc. New York, NY Sep 12, 2015 $50,000
Event Planner Society56, Inc. CA Jun 01, 2014 $50,000
Event Planner Absolute Fencing Gear Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Sep 10, 2015 $50,000
Culinary Convention and Event Planner New York Mutual Trading, Inc. Secaucus, NJ Dec 11, 2015 $49,899
Cultural Events Planner Fivemyles, Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2013 $48,001
Cultural Event Planner Rhythm Media Group, Inc. Alhambra, CA Sep 05, 2015 $48,000
Art Market Event Planner Herlar LLC New York, NY Sep 12, 2015 $39,500
Event Planner Wal Branding & Marketing LLC Chicago, IL Sep 02, 2015 $39,437
Event Planner Logistics Fine Arts, LLC Miami, FL Dec 21, 2015 $39,042
Staffing and Event Planner Ruprecht Company Mundelein, IL Sep 25, 2013 $39,000
Event Planner The Side-Out Foundation Fairfax, VA Sep 01, 2014 $38,693
Event Planner L'Olivier, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $38,422
Events Planner University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine Coral Gables, FL Nov 03, 2014 $38,147
Event Planner Musicality International Inc. Burlingame, CA Aug 27, 2016 $38,000

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Top Skills for An Event Planner

PlanEventsSpecialEventsCustomerServiceConferenceCallsD CORCorporateEventsFacebookBirthdayPartiesSocialEventsAudio-VisualEquipmentBanquetTradeShowsTravelArrangementsContractNegotiationsEventManagementSuperviseEventLogisticsTwitterPowerpointCustomerSatisfaction

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Top Event Planner Skills

  1. Plan Events
  2. Special Events
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Plan events by securing location, audiovisual equipment, staffing, advertising, ticket sales, concessions and stage management.
  • Receive money for special events, deposited in United Way account and reported to client's campaign auditor.
  • Utilized strong customer service skills to ensure the clients were always happy.
  • Arranged conference calls between clients and industry professionals and participated in the meetings.
  • Solicited corporations and businesses by providing product/program presentations and selling sponsorship packages and program advertisement space.

Top Event Planner Employers

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