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Event management is a career path that creates and applies project management to events. Event Managers oversee and organize events, such as festivals, weddings, conferences, concerts, and formal parties, through the use of project management to make an impact with a target audience. This includes understanding all aspects of the client and event, as well as coordinating technical aspects. By 2026, the growth rate for the career outlook will be 11%, which is higher than the average occupation. This means there will be at least 12,700 more jobs available putting the number of jobs at around 129,400.
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
The purpose of this research is to explore a career as an event management professional by exploring the job perspective, qualifications, and the challenges in planning successful events. Event coordination, event management, and the strategies to throwing successful events that go off without a hitch will be examined and a strategic plan for development will be presented. Organizations will be identified for aspiring professionals within the field for more knowledge and present trends within the industry.
The research will be based on a thorough exploration of academic articles, publications, blogs, and interviews with industry professionals, along with a self analysis.
Event managers plan, execute, and control the work of one or many teams to achieve specific goals relevant to the event they are managing. Not only is it the event managers’ job to successfully plan and execute the events, but it is also their responsibility to understand their client and their brand. Event managers also, identify and understand their target audiences while making sure the event is constructed in a way that speaks to that specific audience and remains true to the brand of the client.
Event managers must be creative, organized, and interpersonal—all while being able to thrive and multitask in a fast paced environment.
A day in the life of an event manager is very different from your traditional career. Work days are usually broken up into periods of time: pre-production, event days, and post-event. Pre-production consists of the months and weeks before the event, where everything is being coordinated from budget to location to suppliers. Event days are spent working at the actual event, which involves delegating responsibility to staff and managing on-site from set-up to breakdown. Post-event work days deal with finalizing documentation, and analyzing the success of the event or how it could be improved in the future.(Kirk, 2016)The job of an event manager is very diverse. Event managers have to interact with a smorgasbord of people, including: other event managers, staff, suppliers, clients, travel agencies, delivery companies, and even entertainment professionals. The Jaimi Slockee from Ivy College, describes everyday as being something new. “I’ll pull together executive financial summaries with my right hand and at the same time be compiling name-tags with my left. Managing events is all about seeing into the future to plan for the best and against the worst. It’s about using all the resources you have available to you (Slockee, 2016, para. 3).” She compares the job of an event manager of that of a firefighter. When working the events, your main job is put out all the “fires”, or in other words “resolve all the conflicts”. Most of the work for the event manager is to “walk towards the heat”(Slockee, 2016, para. 4).
Consists of accounting for the finances needed, the estimated cost, and the actual cost. It is extremely important balance every fund, as to not go over budget.
Event Managers are in charge of coordinating vendors, venues, branding, promotion, sponsors, staff, attendee, etc. They all must be organized with a set schedule to ensure the event goes smoothly.. Most event managers use a software system, such as eSPACE, to keep everything in line.
When organizing events, site selection is a crucial in the planning process. Some events already have the location set by the client, while others’ allow the manager’s the freedom to select a site. However, professionals must know the event’s objectives, target audience, number of attendees and available budget, in order to make their selection.
Event permits vary from entertainment tax,. PPL, and IPRS. There are also Loudspeaker License, Performance License, Premises License, Excise License, and NOC from collectors.
Event managers oversee the bus and shuttle system, so they know how many people can be transported to the location, and if enough drivers are trained and available. For other events, they manage parking to make sure their are enough spots for attendees and staff. Other aspects, such as pedestrian flow and signage plans are also important.
Arranging entertainment may involve musicians, DJs magicans, or speakers. This area can be very broad, depending on the event. Event decor is also very broad due to the look and feel that the client is going for. This could include accent lights, flowers arrangements and centerpieces, as well as balloons. But, is also not limited to marketing material such as banner, signs, and expositions. Depending on the location of the event, off site catering and bartending may be needed. Food and Beverage create an additional cost of service labor fees, as well as tax and gratuity.
When booking a venue, event managers and clients have a few things to consider. They first need to consider the basics such as location, parking, cost and capacity. Next, they need to consider the service and amenities, layout, ambiance, insurance coverage, accessibility, and acoustics. Finally, they need to confirm flexibility on the event date with the venue.
A big part of event management is hiring the correct security team to keep everyone safe. This team should know the venue inside and out, gauge attendee rise, control the crowd, assess for potential attacks, and keep communication tight.
Event manager control the contracting vendors and suppliers from marketing firms to video/ photography production, as well as advertisement, print work, and design work.
Despite a competitive job market, the industry shows growth in terms of jobs and opportunities. The average salary for Event Managers is $78,000 a year, making it above the average household income in the U.S (Salary.com,2018). There are a number of different types of jobs within the event industry such as management, marketing, sales, retail, and more. There is a multitude of opportunities for business development in the event industry, due to various sectors that utilize event management. Opportunities include sports, entertainment, social affairs, political, business, socials, and more. (Ruiz’Castilla, 2015) Business professionals can own their own companies, work independently as a freelance contractor, or work for a firm or group. Some of the most popular event companies in the United States are MKG Marketing in New York, A Perfect Event in Chicago, and Rafanelli Events in Boston. Popular international event firms include Quintessentially events in London and Bassett Events in Toronto. (Yau, 2018) With the growth of event management and the diversity that events bring to their clients brand, professionals can work almost anywhere in the world.
As Event Management grows every year, several trends develop with it. The first trend is event marketing. Event marketing is on the rise as a new trusted form of marketing for businesses, because it leaves a lasting, brand impression. Now, with the rise of technology and social media, this is creating an even stronger impact, with algorithms allowing them to target their audience. The increased growth of this aspect of the industry will bring a call to even more jobs (Cain, Griff, & Minor, 2012). The second trend is that clients are having larger events. Events are becoming more complex and elaborate so that clients can reach out and connect with more people. Convention centers are requiring more space to reach out to more people about their brands and associations. High profile clients are throwing more extravagant parties and galas to accommodate thousands of people. These larger events create more room for creativity, allow more coordinators to work on the project and break into the industry, and allow the current coordinators to really find their niche. The third trend is that event industry is becoming more technologically advanced. RSVP’S and cancellations can all be organized with online programs to give the coordinator an updated guest list. Many Exhibitions and Expositions have their own phone applications to give attendees site maps and schedules at their fingertips. Event technology gives events a fresh new look and allows guests to be more flexible.
Organizational skills: Highly organized professionals have the ability to help a company save not only time, but money as well. This leads to consistency in their work. Typically, workers with strong organizational skills are able to prioritize their schedule, boost productivity, and expedite tasks in a timely manner. This skill is especially important for event managers, because they have to coordinate all the parts of the event, from contractors to employees . If there is no systematic approach to the event, it will be very difficult for the event to be successful. (Piech-Lukas, 2017)
Network Savvy: Networking in the events industry is key. Staying up to date with products and technology can be difficult. However, networking gives professionals the opportunity to exchange fresh ideas, express their opinions, and find resources from their peers. Positive networking eventually leads to professional growth because it expands the network of people, thus increasing resourcefulness.
Resilience and Adaptability: Event managers must be very versatile. Work varies from cleaning up messes, organizing production, event decor, construction of marketing supplies, etc. They must be ready to put out “fires” quickly, quietly, and efficiently. Every aspect of events is in a state of flux ,and can change at the drop of a hat. Thus, a event managers must be adaptable enough to take these changes in stride and work accordingly. They must be ready to face any sort of situation and be able to think on their feet for long hours. (Piech-Lukas, 2017)
A basic understanding of events: Clients utilize event managers because they are experts. The more experience you have working and planning events, the easier it becomes because you know the business and how it operates. Even for new event managers breaking into the field, it is important that they have worked, interned, or volunteered at events did get a basic understanding of how they operate.
Creativity: Experienced event managers should be able to “think outside the box”. They must be innovative with their problem solving skills, in order to create a unique and personalized event for their client. (Woodward, 2018)
Personable: One thing that all events have in common are people. From the event itself to the planning process, people are who they are aiming to please. Being personable entails pitching ideas to a potential client, meetings with vendors, supervising, interacting with guests and workers. (Higgins, 2018)
Communication Skills: Nimbly resolve conflicts, be a condiment but pleasant negotiator, and maintain your sense of humor. Having great communication skills involves both verbal and written communication. (Woodward, 2018)
Multitasking Skills: Multitasking should come naturally in event management. There are numerous tasks to be performed at all times. Prioritizing their work goes hand in hand with multitasking. (Piech-Lukas, 2017)
Flexible: A career in the events industry is not like the usual 9 to 5 job. Event professionals must be flexible with working odd hours, weekends, and holidays. Their schedule is not the same everyday. During slow season, their are not as many events, so not as much work needs to be done. However, during the busier seasons, you can be putting in over 60 hours a weeks. Some events require professionals to travel out of state, or even out of the country, with little or no notice. Event Managers must be able to live a flexible lifestyle based around their events. (Higgins, 2018)
Passionate:. Passion is an innate quality that people are born with. To thrive at event management, you must have a passion for people, events, and hardwork . With all the stress combined of the hospitality industry, professionals must love the work they do in order to excel. To work in the events industry as a successful event manager, one must have the passion that drives them to be productive and overcome obstacles they face while organizing events.
(Madison) I feel as if the hospitality industry has called to me for many years. Every job I’ve had so far has, in some way, involved hospitality. I feel that the Event Management field is perfect for me due to the fact that I love dealing with people and providing the best experience for them as possible. I feel there is a lot of job security in the field as well, especially here in Orlando. International Drive in particular houses a number of large and small scale events, meetings, and conferences and that is only one of the popular spots for events to be hosted. The amount of these gatherings held in Orlando shows that there is and will be a high demand for Event Managers and Coordinators for years to come.
I feel as if I have experience that can be translated to event management industry. One of my first jobs that dealt with events involved managing and operating a photo booth for a party rental company. This job really helped sparked my interest for events and management. Not only did I enjoy contributing to and being a functioning part of the events, I enjoyed managing the team that operated the booth. I’ve also worked with restaurants as part of the event management staff. These jobs included organizing, setting up, and running private events at the restaurants and really made me want to do event management on a much larger scale.
Through my work experience I have learned skills that are required to be successful in the event management industry including how to effectively multitask, problem solve, and deal with guests and employees alike. The ability to multitask is a big requirement for this field because there are so many different things to coordinate when it comes to events. From caterers to entertainment, to venue and third party staff, there’s many moving parts to throwing a successful event and it’s important to be able to stay on top of every single aspect of the event to keep things running smoothly. If something were to go wrong, which happens very often in this industry, it is important to be able to think quickly on your feet and effectively solve problems as they may arise. Multitasking and problem solving go almost hand in hand because often times, as an event manager, you must solve several problems at once. It is also very important to be personable and know how to deal with people because most of the time the events you manage are for other people, or clients. You must know how to appease the client as well as the guests, and on top of that be able to manage your own team and crew. Both guests and employees need to be treated differently and as the event manager it is your responsibility to know how to do both.
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