Event Planner Jobs and Careers
Event planners are involved in planning and organising special events, such as trade exhibitions, major public exhibitions, corporate conferences and indoor and outdoor events of varying sizes, including sporting events, parties, wedding receptions, product launches and promotions. They may work for a specialist event management company, managing such events on behalf of clients, or they may be part of an in-house team planning events for their own organisation. Some event planners become involved in a wide range of events, whilst others specialise in one particular area.
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Event planners are generally involved in all aspects of planning and managing an event, from the initial client pitch and proposal submission, through organising the event, to co-ordinating everything on the day, then breaking the event down quickly and efficiently, and finally evaluating and reporting back on the event's success.
Specifically, their role may include researching and booking an appropriate venue, overseeing the "design" of the event, creating a publicity campaign aimed at companies or the public, as appropriate, working closely with various forms of the media to promote the event, selling exhibition or stand space, attracting sponsors, and organising caterers, equipment hire, insurance and various external contractors such as security services. They will also be present on the day to co-ordinate all aspects of the event, manage staff on-site and resolve any problems that arise.
In some larger event management organisations, executives may focus on one particular aspect, such as marketing (researching the sector and organising a promotional campaign for the event), sales (seeking sponsors and promoting the event to potential exhibitors) or operations (managing the practical aspects of the event, from booking the venue through to organising external suppliers and contractors).
The pace of work in events planning is fast and pressurised. People in the industry work to very tight deadlines and budgets and regularly encounter changing goal posts and unforeseen problems. They often work on several projects simultaneously and may have to travel frequently to event sites. While working hours may be fairly regular in-between events, substantial additional and unsocial hours are common just before and during an event, often including weekends.
Skills and Personal Profile
Events planning is an expanding field, but competition for event management jobs is fierce, especially at entry level. Although there are no set entry requirements, with many people entering the field through related experience, an increasing number of new entrants are graduates, often with some kind of business qualification. Relevant work experience might have been gained through organisational or administrative roles in the tourism or retail industries, or alternatively in a sales or marketing environment.
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Employers in the events planning field look for the following attributes in particular:
- Good organisational skills and a keen attention to detail.
- Strong project and time management skills.
- The ability to meet tight deadlines and to cope with a number of tasks simultaneously.
- The ability to thrive in a pressurised environment, to think on one's feet and to make rapid decisions.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to relate to a wide variety of people.
- A strong customer focus.
- The ability to supervise and motivate a team and to delegate effectively.
- Highly developed negotiating skills.
- Good knowledge of sales and marketing principles.
- Sound financial awareness, with the ability to manage budgets.
- Good IT skills.
- High levels of imagination, creativity and resourcefulness.
- Energy and stamina.
Employers and Prospects in event management Jobs
Organisations in the events management field range from relatively large companies managing all aspects of the events in-house, through to small, specialist consultancies, where elements of the event management role are subcontracted, under the overall control of the consultant in charge. Some major exhibition centres, event venues and public attractions employ their own event organisation teams, whilst others contract this work out to external companies or freelance consultants. In-house event management teams are also found in large corporations, trade and professional associations, tourism associations, hotels, educational institutions, charities and public bodies
Training in events planning is largely on the job, with short courses offered in areas such as finance, sales and marketing or customer care. Other areas where training may be offered include specialist subjects such as sponsorship, exhibition marketing, IT and health and safety. Courses may be run either in-house or externally.
There is no clearly defined career path in events planning. As they gain experience, event planners may work on larger scale events or higher profile clients, while promotion may lead to management responsibility for a small team and perhaps to specialisation in a particular kind of event. Progression can also be achieved by moving companies, whilst self-employment and freelance work are possible for those with an established network of industry contacts and a solid base of experience.