An Event Planner coordinates every detail of an event, from the speakers and meeting location to arranging for printed materials and audio-visual equipment.
Common Work Tasks
- Determine the purpose, message, or impression that the sponsoring organization wants to communicate
- Choose speakers, entertainment, and content, and arrange the program to present the organization’s information in the most effective way
- Monitor event activities to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and laws, satisfaction of participants, and resolution of any problems that arise
- Review event bills for accuracy, and approve payment
- Confer with staff at a chosen event site to coordinate details
- Negotiate contracts with such service providers and suppliers as hotels, convention centers, and speakers
- Design and implement efforts to publicize events and promote sponsorships
- Promote conference, convention and trades show services by performing tasks such as meeting with professional and trade associations, and producing brochures and other publications
- Direct administrative details such as financial operations, dissemination of promotional materials, and responses to inquiries
- Inspect event facilities to ensure that they conform to customer requirements
Other Job Titles
Event Planners are also known by other titles, including:
- Meeting and Convention Planner
- Wedding Planner
- Public Relations Specialist
- Party Planner
- Events Manager
- Hospitality Manager
Education, Training, and Experience
Education and Training
Many employers prefer applicants who have a bachelor’s degree, but this is not always required. The proportion of planners with a bachelor’s degree is increasing because the work and responsibilities are becoming more complex.
Planners have backgrounds in a variety of disciplines, but some useful undergraduate majors are marketing, public relations, communications, business, and hotel or hospitality management. Individuals who have studied hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than those with other academic backgrounds.
Certification and Licensure
The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a voluntary certification for event planners. Although the CMP is not required, it is widely recognized in the industry and may help in career advancement. To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of 3 years of meeting management experience, full-time employment in a meeting management capacity, and proof of accountability for successfully completed meetings. Those who qualify must then pass an examination that covers topics such as adult learning, financial management, facilities and services, logistics, and meeting programs.
Event planners must have excellent written and verbal communications skills and interpersonal skills. They must be detail-oriented with excellent organizational skills, and they must be able to multi-task, meet tight deadlines, and maintain composure under pressure in a fast-paced environment. Quantitative and analytic skills are needed to formulate and follow budgets and to understand and negotiate contracts.
Some event planners enter the occupation after working in hotel sales or as marketing or catering coordinators. These are effective ways to learn about meeting and convention planning because these hotel personnel work with numerous meeting planners, participate in negotiations for hotel services, and witness many different meetings. Workers who enter the occupation in these ways often start at a higher level than those with bachelor’s degrees and no experience.
The median annual salary of an Event Planner is $44,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $75,000 annually, and the bottom 10 percent earn less than $27,000 annually. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of event planners are:
- Traveler Accommodation - $41,840
- Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations - $50,610
- Other Support Services - $53,330
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $44,070
- Management of Companies and Enterprises - $52,370
- 2006-2016 Employment growth: 20%
- Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 10,000
- Employment 2006 : 51,000
- Employment 2016: 61,000