If you are thinking of a career in meeting and event planning, there is a lucrative market awaiting you on many fronts. An event, whether big or small, always require planning and preparation. As families, corporations and organizations involved may not have the time, resources, expertise or inclination to organize the event, they turn to professional event planners to handle everything for them. They seek the help of event planners to turn their events into a memorable and successful one.
What does an event and meeting planner do? Below are some of the key tasks that a full-service event planner performs for the clients:
- Determine client’s needs and expectations
- Plan and create the overall design of the event
- Develop timelines and production schedules
- Manage the operations team or support staff
- Coordinate and provide service to the clients and vendors as needed (even 24 hours!)
- Oversee all aspects of the event execution
- Select and secure appropriate vendors to supply all components of the event
- Monitor and evaluate the event
Be warned though: this business can be tough. As an event planner, your work can often exceed the 9-to-5 grind and you may be expected to work on evenings, weekends and even holidays. Strong competition also exists, particularly with corporate accounts, as organizers vie to oversee major events. Some venues such as large exhibition centers and major companies already have their own in-house organization team, and may only outsource to freelancers small aspects of the event.
What You Need to Start an Event Planning Business
Getting into the event planning business requires a combination of education, experience and excellent networking. This is one business where the importance of networking cannot be overemphasized. In fact, many consider networking to be the most important aspect of finding a career in event planning. Knowing the right contacts can help get your feet in the door quickly.
To increase your attractiveness to potential clients, you can also try to earn professional certifications based on your event planning and meeting specialization. These certifications are typically awarded after you meet their performance, experience, and service criteria as well as passing the exams given. Many clients, particularly those from the corporate sector, look for these designations before hiring an event planning professional because it assures them that they are dealing with a professional and someone well-experienced in the field. Some of the certifications in this field include:
- International Special Events Society: Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) http://www.ises.com/csep/intro.cfm
- Meeting Professionals International: Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) http://www.mpiweb.org/education/cmm/
- Convention Industry Council: Certified Meeting Professional Program (CMP) http://www.conventionindustry.org/cmp/
- Connected International Meeting Professionals Association: Certified Global Meeting Planner http://www.cimpa.org/cgmp.htm
- Association of Destination Management Executives: Destination Management Certified Professional http://www.adme.org/members/DMCPCertification.asp
Keys to Success
Your success will depend on the commitment to quality by every person who is part of your team. Other factors that can push your event planning business to success include:
- Able to fulfill client’s vision and demand.
- Control your costs.
- Competitive pricing for the quality of services offered.
- Significant profit made on each event planned.
- Extensive database of contacts, vendors and suppliers.
- Able to work as a team.
- System for tracking events.
Resources on Starting an Event Planning Business
- How to Start a Home-Based Event Planning Business
- The Essential Event Planning Kit
- The Business of Event Planning: Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Successful Special Events
- Entrepreneur Magazine’s Start Your Own Event Planning Business : Your Step by Step Guide to Success (Start Your Own Event Planning)
- Event Planning : The Ultimate Guide to Successful Meetings, Corporate Events, Fundraising Galas, Conferences, Conventions, Incentives and Other Special Events
- Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meeting and Event Planning
- Opportunities in Event Planning Careers
- Event Planning Ethics and Etiquette: A Principled Approach to the Business of Special Event Management
- Convention Industry Council
- International Special Events Society
- Meeting Professionals International
- National Association of Catering Executives
- Professional Convention Management Association
Magazines and Publications
- Corporate Meetings and Incentives
- The Meeting Professional
- Special Events Magazine
- Meetings and Conventions
- Successful Meetings
- Tradeshow Week
- Travel Weekly