Whether you want to undertake this career path as an employee of an event agency or you’re thinking of starting your own business in the field, when it comes to becoming a successful event planner, there are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into consideration. In this article we’ve put together what we think are the ingredients for success if you want to work in the industry.
Becoming a successful event planner – do you have what it takes?
The aspect we’re going to start from are the skills. Most of them can be practiced and perfected but you need to examine yourself and see whether you have a natural predisposition to them. That’s because you’ll have to use them a lot on the job. Therefore, here they are.
An event can be compared with a puzzle made out of numerous tiny pieces that need to be put together in a precise manner to create the overall image. Or with a mechanism in which elements need to perfectly function together. An event is also a time-sensitive affair, so an organized attitude to your work is indispensable to make sure all details are in place for that one final deadline: the date and time when doors open and you have to welcome your attendees.
This also means you’ll work a lot with numbers. You’ll have to organize not only time, but also money. The budget is at the core of any event. You can put together the most beautiful event in the world. But, be it large or small, it will still crumble disastrously if you don’t manage to keep it within the given budget.
We know, there is a school of thought that says there is no such thing as multitasking, and that trying to do several things at the same time is counterproductive. But the reality of the industry is that very often you’ll have to manage different aspects of the same event at the same time. You’ll also have situations when you’ll be working at several events at the same time. Each of the events will be at different stages in the planning process. You’ll have to switch rapidly between deciding on the best supplier for floral arrangements for a charity ball and negotiating a rental contract with a venue for a conference.
Needless to say, if you want to work in events and be good at it, you need to be comfortable with being around people. And the other way around, you need to make people be comfortable around you. All the time. From vendors/suppliers to media to, most of all, the guests themselves, people are at the heart of any event. You just can’t have an event without people. So one thing is for sure, event management is not a career path for a hermit.
Events are such a time sensitive matter, in which precision is key, and in which several professionals are involved in order to put them together. Which is why efficient communication is fundamental both for the success of an event and for your long term success as an event organizer. It comes into play in every phase, from negotiating fees with vendors, to writing an informative yet catchy press release to handling a group of belated attendees who can’t find the right hall for a seminar.
Needless to say, events are a creative industry. And this has two sides. On one hand, you need to be able to come up with exciting event concepts and themes. This, because a big chunk of events are meant to entertain a large number of people. On the other hand, you will use your creativity to come up with solutions to meet low budget requirements and still make the event look top notch.
Although a specific educational background is not required in order to become an event planner, you definitely start from an advantaged position if you have already got a degree in one of these fields:
- public relations
- tourism and hospitality
There are also a lot of specific event management masters and training courses that you can take in order to become specialized in the industry. And there is one more important thing to consider. You’ll need continuous training and updating of your knowledge throughout your career. This is because the event industry is very dynamic and dependent on the continuous cultural and technological changes in our society as a whole.
Event management is a complex job. You’ll need to work extensively under the coordination of experienced professionals in the field before being able to handle planning an event from start to finish by yourself. Begin by doing volunteer work at events in your area. This way you’ll get a feel of whether you see yourself handling the rapid pace of the field. Then, look for internships at event agencies, or in the event departments of larger companies, or even at companies that have a significant amount of business as suppliers/vendors for events. Hotels, wedding venues, conference centers, are just some examples.
After the internship phase, the next one should be to find an actual job working alongside a more experienced event organizer. From there, you can continue your career while “climbing the ladder” as an employee. Or you can decide to turn event planning into your own business. However, our advice is, if you want to open your own event management business, to not skip the phase of first working for someone else. Your education and skills will not be enough to run a successful event business, you need to experience the challenges of the industry first in “real life”.
Tools and technology
We think that the event industry is a mirror of how society itself evolves over time. Since events are about people, what makes a successful event (and successful events make successful event planners) is the way it intercepts how people like to do things.
Why they are important
Some examples: 10 years ago it was still normal to receive an invitation to an event by email and actually see the email, without the sender having put too much effort into it. Now, our inboxes are so clogged and our spam filters so ruthless, that an email invitation might not even reach us. That is, unless we are already subscribed to the sender’s mailing list. 10 years ago we would still find out about cool shows, concerts, seminars and courses by browsing the weekly free press in our hometown. Now, we may not even remember when was the last time we opened a newspaper. But we can still find out about events that might interest us, through precisely targeted ad campaigns on social media.
This is why, being able to master tools and technology is essential for becoming a successful event planner in 2018.
Choose the right tools
When we say tools, we think about templates, checklists, and spreadsheets, that help us keep track of all the various aspects of the event and make sure we don’t miss any detail, whether it’s a tiny expense within the event budget, or a moment in the event timeline.
Choose the right technology
When we say technology, we mostly mean information and communication technology. And the most suitable example that comes to mind is an online event management platform. In 2018, using an online event management platform is crucial and already standard for creating successful events. There are various options on the market and the key is to choose the one that holds together as many elements as possible of the organizational process.
If you choose Metooo as your online event management platform, you’ll have all these elements (and many more) in one place:
- a complete, efficient and beautiful event website
- a ticketing system with automatic invoicing, safe transactions and even a discount codes option
- fast guest check-in management through a dedicated app
- interactivity with your attendees through storytelling
What will make a difference at your events and make them (and you) successful if you use features like the ones above? For example, decreasing waiting time of your guests when they arrive at the event, since all they need to do is to show the ticket (even only on their smartphones) and you’ll be able to check them in by simply scanning the ticket QR code through the app. Or, adding a social dimension to your event by allowing your guests to post their own photos and messages on the event wall through the storytelling feature.
These were our tips for becoming a successful event planner in 2018. And while we know this topic is much more vast, we hope they will serve you as guideline to take your event planning career to the next level!