What do Meeting and Event Planning Professionals Do?
Meeting and event planning requires bringing people together for a stated purpose, and planners in this field have the goal of making sure that is achieved with no or few problems and glitches. Planners facilitate every detail of meetings, events, and conventions, from the location to speakers, to printed and support materials.
Meeting and event planner duties
Understanding the purpose of the meeting or event is the first step in planning. Planners center their activities on how the meetings they plan deliver the goals of the organization(s) or group(s) that hired them. Once planners understand the objectives, they begin the process of choosing speakers, entertainment, arrange the program, and handle attendant logistics.
Meeting and event planners search for potential meeting sites, typically convention centers, hotels, and conference centers. When choosing a site, the planner considers who the projected participants are and make arrangements for transportation. Because of this, meeting and event locations tend to be near major airports with access to automobile rental agencies and limousine service.
Once a number of potential locations are selected, RFPs (Requests for Proposals) are sent out asking for bids on hosting the event. Dates, number of participants, lodging requirements, food an beverage needs, and other important data accompany the RFPs, and the targeted sites bid on the event, with proposals that outline their capabilities and costs. The bids are reviewed and recommendations are made to those who hired the planner, or the planner makes the decision alone.
After the site is selected, a planner goes about arranging for support services, establishing communication with the facility, prepping the site staff for the meeting, and setting up the location for all meeting needs, including telecommunication, audio-visual equipment, and computer access.
Meeting and event planning skills
Management of event and meeting details is also required. Meeting and event planning entails registering attendees, providing name tags, training staff, arranging for delivery of supplies, and, if necessary, making sure all exhibits are set up properly. Planners also ensure that all permits have been obtained, proper security is present, and fire codes are followed.
A background in financial management is increasingly important, as planners must navigate the contractual world with vendors and facility providers. Planners must also manage the finances of meetings and events in order to come in at or under budget.
The final stage of meeting and event planning is determining the success of the convention or conference. While different measuring tools are used, the most frequently used is a questionnaire that addresses different aspects and solicits attendee feedback regarding how well objectives were met.
Meeting and event planning professionals also coordinate with service managers of the different businesses engaged for the convention or conference. Planners need to have access to food service options, be able to coordinate special requests, access hotel services based on the budget, and any other service that will help the event move smoothly.