Events managers or organisers plan, co-ordinate and publicise a wide range of promotional, corporate, educational, sporting and social events. They usually specialise in one or two areas, such as exhibitions, conferences, product launches, fundraising events, festivals, parties or wedding planning.
Events managers may work for an events management company or freelance, with clients hiring their services. Alternatively, organisations and businesses may organise their own events and employ an in-house events manager. Some people working for specialist suppliers within the events industry (such as venues, audio-visual production companies and catering/hospitality services) could also be seen to have an events management role.
In larger organisations, roles may be divided between sales and marketing, and operations, which involves overseeing the practical details, from the initial planning stages to running the event on the day. They may outsource some of the work to specialist suppliers, but events managers have overall control of the project and ensure that all the elements come together on schedule to create a successful event. Duties will vary according to the size and type of event, but typically include:
- liaising with clients to determine exact requirements
- proposing budgets, ideas, timescales and venues
- researching venues, contacts and suppliers
- publicising the event and producing promotional materials
- booking venues, entertainment, equipment and suppliers, and managing contractors such as caterers and security
- making sure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event
- ensuring that health and safety, insurance and security regulations are followed
- managing finances and contracts.
There may also be additional responsibilities in other specialist areas. For example, exhibition organisers market and sell exhibition space/stands; conference organisers may arrange transport and accommodation. Wedding planners organise photographers and flowers, and may have considerable creative freedom to suggest ideas to clients.
Hours and Environment
Events organisers are expected to work as many hours as are necessary to complete the project, although core hours are likely to be 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In the run up to important deadlines, they may work outside normal office hours and can work up to 12 hours or more a day. They may need to attend events in the evenings and at the weekend, particularly in wedding and party planning.
Sales and marketing staff are likely to work in offices, but may need to travel to visit clients and promote events. Operations staff are also office-based, work but work closely with venues and suppliers. They may be expected to travel extensively at home and possibly abroad, including overnight stays away from home.
Organising events can also be a role undertaken by someone with other duties in an organisation. For example, their main role may be in sales and marketing, human resources or as a personal assistant, but they manage events when necessary.
Skills and Interests
To be an events manager you should:
- have excellent time management and organisational skills
- be enthusiastic, self-motivated and outgoing
- have good communication and presentation skills
- be commercially aware and customer-focused, with a knowledge of sales and marketing
- have a positive and adaptable approach to problem solving, and the ability to ‘multi-task’
- be innovative and creative
- have an understanding of budgeting and financial management
- be able to work as part of a team
- be able to pay close attention to detail
- be able to work under pressure to strict deadlines.
A clean driver’s licence is often essential.
There is strong competition to get into events management, so although there are no set qualifications, employers usually look for relevant experience or strong transferable skills.
It may help your chances to take a degree, foundation degree or HNC/HND in events management, as courses often include work experience placements. Other useful subjects include business administration, marketing, leisure and tourism management or hospitality management. Please check with colleges or universities for entry requirements.
See the Association of Exhibition Organisers’ website for a list of HNCs and degrees in events management.
Whatever qualifications you have, you will find it useful to have experience of organising events or a background in a related industry, such as:
- hotel conference and banqueting
- leisure, tourism and travel
- sales and marketing
- public relations.
You could also start as an administrator or assistant in an events company or marketing department, and progress to organising your own events as you gain experience.
You could gain useful experience by organising events and activities in your personal or social life. Volunteering at large events can also be a good way of building contacts in the industry.
You may be able to get into the leisure, tourism and hospitality industry through an apprenticeship scheme. Funding for apprenticeships is available for 16-24 year olds and some over-25s. To find out more, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk. For information about apprenticeships in other parts of the UK, see Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You will usually develop your skills on the job. Some larger companies may also offer short in-house or external courses covering areas like customer care, marketing and IT.
Once you are working in the events industry you may have the opportunity to work towards the following City and Guilds NVQs:
- NVQ Levels 2, 3 and 4 in Events
- NVQ Level 3 in Events (Temporary Structures).
Contact City and Guilds or the Association for Conferences and Events for more details about the NVQs.
The following organisations also offer various training courses for events professionals:
- Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO)
- Association for Conferences and Events (ACE)
- Society of Event Organisers (SEO)
- Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
See Further Information section below for all contact details.
As an events manager you could work for:
- events management companies
- leisure companies
- marketing departments of large commercial companies or public sector organisations.
Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, events industry magazines like Event and Exhibition Bulletin, and on trade association websites. It is also common to find work through word of mouth as you build your contacts and reputation in the industry.
With experience and a good track record, you could progress to managing larger events, specialise in a particular kind of event, or move into management. You could also set up you own events company or become a freelance consultant.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Junior events organisers may start on £16,000 to £18,000 a year.
Experienced events managers may earn £21,000 to £35,000.
Some events managers working with large budgets can earn over £40,000 a year.
Salaries vary widely between employers. Pay is usually higher in the private sector.
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