So, You Wanna Be an Event Planner?
3 Insider Secrets Revealed
#1 There's more to event planning than weddings.
Event professionals operate in a wide variety of vibrant categories:
- Corporate Planners serve large corporations and structure meetings for their employees. This could also include incentive trips or skill-building training sessions. Attendance is often mandatory or earned, so marketing the meeting isn’t as essential, and those that attend don’t typically pay a registration fee.
- Association Planners work with groups of people with a united interest or industry such as agriculture, manufacturing, or a specific vocation (think funeral directors or dog walkers). Attendance is optional, so attracting attendees by marketing the educational components is often in the scope of work. Attendees pay a fee to attend and there's generally a networking component as well as a buying and selling opportunity between decision-makers (association executives) and those selling a product (vendors) that would benefit their organization. Associations often rely on annual conferences as a key source of revenue.
- Government Planners work for a local, state, or federal agency and plan conferences or training for those entities. Attendance is typically mandatory and event budgets are modest and highly regulated. (Think: bring your own coffee and bag lunch)
- Social Event Planners focus on a specific type of event—like weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, anniversaries, baby showers, etc. They're paid by the hour or a flat rate by the event host.
- Independent or Third-Party Planners work with multiple clients on their events and tend to develop a niche for the types of meetings or clients they work with (think medical meetings, product launches, etc.) They're also paid by the hour or a flat fee negotiated with the client.
#2 It's not exactly glamorous work.
Instagram might be full of beautiful parties and lavish décor, but most events aren’t like that. If you're responsible for managing the event or part of the team, you are not having fun AT the event. You’ll be crawling around on the floor to plug things in, dealing with lots and lots of boxes, sweating, stressing, and looking forward to putting your feet up. Event planning often makes the top ten list for most stressful jobs in the US. That doesn't mean it isn't fulfilling or fun, you just need to know that it's hard work.
#3 Customer Care is EVERYTHING.
It’s called hospitality for a reason. You’ll be working with all kinds of people and personalities. Learn how to anticipate the needs of your attendees and be able to solve their problems with a smile!
Final thoughts as you navigate new career opportunities:
- Seek experience and sneak a peek behind-the-scenes by volunteering at community events (check with your local convention and visitors bureau) or at your favorite non-profit fundraiser.
- Being willing to work hard with a positive attitude will take you far.
- Relationships are everything. The people you meet and connections you make WILL open doors for you down the road. Make a positive impression from the get-go.
Truth is, the events industry is a creative and rewarding space to learn and thrive in. We support and encourage one another around here. If you've been considering an event planning career, we'd love to have you in our community!
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