Being an event manager in the hospitality industry requires the ability to plan, execute, and evaluate a variety of events. Corporate meetings, weddings, fundraisers, and celebratory dinners are just a few of the events you will see in the industry. Each of these has its own clientele with different expectations. As an event manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure all expectations are met. How do you go about doing so you ask? Look no further, the following five steps will help you get started on your journey to becoming a successful event manager.
STEP ONE – Obtain a degree
Most employers will require you to have a bachelor’s degree majoring in hospitality management, marketing, or public relations. There are planners in the industry without a degree that have taken years to learn what you could in 12 months at a great event management institute.
These courses will also give you a better understanding of the technology used on a daily basis by an event planner. Seeing how the organization is a key skill, there are project management programs and spreadsheets that will become your best friend when preparing and executing.
STEP TWO – Additional Training/ Getting Certified
Event planning is a very competitive business to be in. Your competitors will be creating new ways to differentiate themselves so it’s important you do the same. Position yourself as a knowledgeable and professional event planner by taking a free quality event management certification course or training program.
This is also something that is great to include in your portfolio when seeking new clients. It will show potential clients that you have gained a high level of understanding that is needed to fulfill their expectations.
STEP THREE – Experience
Gain experience and make connections by volunteering your time to different event planners, caterers, florists and nonprofits. Most companies will look for graduates that are mature and have phenomenal decision-making skills. You might not be doing the actual work of an event planner, but you will see first-hand what it takes and the skills that are needed.
If you’re still in school check to see what internships are offered. Recruiting firms can be valuable tools for placing ideal candidates with clients. Quality firms, such as Horizon Hospitality, also offer Career Coaching services. These opportunities can help you navigate your new industry and position yourself within it.
STEP FOUR – Choosing your niche
After you’ve gained experience in different areas of event planning, it’s time to figure out your niche. Having a narrow focus on one specific market in the industry could be beneficial. Whether that’s wedding planning, corporate planning, or convention and trade show planning become the expert in one area to start out.
In the hospitality industry, you will be organizing and overseeing a variety of events. Within each event, there will also be many people with a variety of areas of expertise and experience to collaborate with. These people can be a great way to start building your professional network and gaining new skills or clients.
Take a good look at what relevant experience you can bring to the types of events you would like to plan. But no matter what niche you focus on, having an ability to lead a team is key to making yourself an ideal candidate.
Questions you should ask yourself when determining your niche:
- What types of events do you want to plan or that you enjoy planning? (celebratory, educational, promotional, etc.)
- What type of clientele do you want to work with?
- What size budgets are you more comfortable handling?
STEP FIVE – Build a portfolio
Paint a visual representation of your work for your clients by showcasing your portfolio. Be sure to take pictures of your events and save comments/reviews from clients or guests. You can present this information in the form of a hardcover portfolio or since we’re in a more digital age create one on your laptop. This will help you land higher budgeting jobs as well as getting more clients.
Little tip: before meeting with clients it’s a good idea to personalize your portfolio depending on the type events they plan.
Use these steps to help you take that leap of faith and become the best event manager the hospitality industry has ever seen. If you’re looking for an experienced planner to handle your next event or pursuing a career in hospitality check out our services here at Horizon Hospitality.