FeaturedImageSize2For anyone thinking about developing a career in corporate event planning, there has been no better time than now. The meetings industry has seen major indicators of the growing state of this field in the last few years. Not only are businesses allocating more dollars on meeting spend, but occupations in this field are expected to become even more important. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is expected to grow 44 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

So, what does this mean for hopefuls trying to break into the industry? Expect fierce competition, because this is a highly demanding industry that is constantly changing and only the strong will survive. Fear not and read on, because the secrets to corporate event planning will be revealed. Find out the Who, What, When, Where, Why of Corporate Event Planning.

WHO

Planners are typically people who started in a single aspect of special events and then grew to coordinate entire events, and to providing one or more services for those events. As a general rule, most people agree that you have to have a passion for the event planning industry. Although the backgrounds of event planners may differ depending on their specialization, planners share similar qualities.

When asked which attributes are most important to the industry, planners listed the following:

  •  Organizational ability
  •  Attention to Detail
  •  Nerves of Steel
  •  Decision-Making Ability
  •  Good Communication Skills
  •  People Skills
  •  Creativity
  •  Flexibility
  •  Time Management

WHAT

The United States Department of Labor defines Meeting, convention, and event planners as someone who “coordinates all aspects of professional meetings and events. They choose meeting locations, arrange transportation, and coordinate other details.”

Planners may handle any or all of the following tasks related to a particular event:

  1. Know your audience and stakeholders – Evaluate demographics to ensure the organization has clear expectations and a way to measure whether the program delivers.
  2. Define Meeting Objectives – Consult with clients to determine objectives and requirements for events such as meetings, conferences, and conventions.
  3. Implement Technology – Utilize event management software to create an event website, set up registration functions, enter attendee data, or process information.
  4. Budgeting/Cost Savings – Develop and monitor the budget, timeline, and event agenda.
  5. Site Selection/RFPs – Inspect event facilities to ensure that they conform to client requirements; Solicit bids from applicable facilities and solidify meeting date agreements.
  6. Accommodations – Arrange any necessary accommodations for participants such as: special needs requirements, printing, and event security.
  7. Travel Arrangements – Plan air/ground transportation for participants to and from the event.
  8. Catering/F&B – Arrange the availability of food, beverage, and catering services for all participants throughout an event.
  9. Guest Speakers – Retain speaker to present information during an event.
  10. Recreation/Entertainment – Coordinate attendee activities and entertainment, such as music performances.
  11. Risk Management – Monitor event activities to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and laws, satisfaction of participants, and resolution of any problems that arise.
  12. Audiovisual/Production – Arrange the availability of audio-visual equipment, displays, signage, staging, room setups, and other event design needs.
  13. Event Staff/Personnel – Confer with staff at event site to coordinate details.
  14. Sponsors – Meet with sponsors and organizing committees to plan scope and format of events.
  15. Measure – Run analytics, review event payments, administrative procedures, and event progress to determine if program was a success and implement a plan to improve on the next event, if applicable.

WHEN

Most corporate planners work full time, but very few work 9-to-5. Long, irregular hours in the time leading up to a major event can be expected, but most of the planning will be done during business hours.

Although meetings can be a year round effort, there are some on and off seasons to this industry. Generally speaking, October is said to be one of the busiest months for corporate events, followed by December. Summer is typically a slower period for corporate events.

WHERE

Industries employing the largest numbers of meeting, convention, and event planners are as follows:

  • Business, professional, labor and political organizations
  • Hotels and motels
  • Other support services, including trade show organizers
  • Colleges, universities and professional schools
  • Grant making and giving services

Some of the most popular types of corporate events include:

  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Meetings
  • Team Building
  • Trade Shows
  • Business Dinners
  • Golf Tournaments
  • Press Conferences
  • Networking Events
  • Incentive Events/Travel
  • Product Launches
  • Theme Parties
  • VIP Events
  • Shareholder Meetings
  • Award Ceremonies
  • Executive Retreats

WHY

Businesses hire event planners to bring their members together —from golf tournaments to trade shows—that are needed each year. Business leaders often find that they lack the expertise and the time to plan the events themselves, so they are looking for experienced planners who can step in and give these events the attention they deserve.

So if you’re just getting started or in need of a refresher course, I hope we’ve opened up the possibilities for you by offering up some useful information to get you going on your way to a successful event planning future. Also, check out these additional industry resources and add them to your toolkit. Happy Planning!

Industry Resources:

Planning Basics 101 – Infographic
Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
MeetingsNet

Event Planning Blogs:

Event Manager Blog by Julius Solaris
Corporate Event Planning Blog by Business Exchange
Strategic Meetings Management Blog by Ashley Carter (Shameless Plug)