Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Duties

Meeting, convention, and event planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to understand the purpose of the meeting or event
  • Plan the scope of the event, including its time, location, and cost
  • Solicit bids from venues and service providers
  • Inspect venues to ensure that they meet the client’s requirements
  • Coordinate event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service
  • Monitor event activities to ensure that the client and the attendees are satisfied
  • Review event bills and approve payments

Meeting, convention, and event planners organize a variety of events, including weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions. They coordinate every detail of these events, including finances. Before planning a meeting, for example, planners will meet with clients to estimate attendance and determine the meeting’s purpose. During the event, they handle logistics, such as registering guests and organizing audiovisual equipment. After the meeting, they make sure that all vendors are paid, and they may survey attendees to obtain feedback on the event.

Meeting, convention, and event planners search for potential meeting sites, such as hotels and convention centers. They consider the lodging and services that the facility can provide, how easy it will be for people to get there, and the attractions that the surrounding area has to offer. Planners may also consider whether an online meeting can achieve the same objectives as a meeting that requires attendees to gather in a physical location.

Once a location is selected, planners arrange the meeting space and support services, such as catering and interpreters. They negotiate contracts with suppliers and coordinate plans with the venue’s staff. They may also organize speakers, entertainment, and activities.

The following are examples of types of meeting, convention, and event planners:

Meeting planners plan large meetings for organizations. Healthcare meeting planners specialize in organizing meetings and conferences for healthcare professionals. Corporate planners organize internal business meetings and meetings between businesses. These events may be in person or online, held either within corporate facilities, or offsite to include more people.

Convention planners plan conventions and conferences for organizations. Association planners organize annual conferences and trade shows for professional associations. Convention service managers work for hotels and convention centers. They act as liaisons between the meeting facility and the planners who work for associations, businesses, and governments. They present food service options to outside planners, coordinate special requests, and suggest hotel services that work within a planner’s budget.

Event planners arrange the details of a variety of events. Wedding planners are the most well known, but event planners also coordinate celebrations such as anniversaries, reunions, and other large social events, as well as corporate events, including product launches, galas, and award ceremonies. Nonprofit event planners plan large events with the goal of raising donations for a charity or advocacy organization. Events may include banquets, charity races, and food drives.

Is This the Right Career for You?

Not sure how to choose the best career for you? Now, you can predict which career will satisfy you in the long term by taking a scientifically validated career test. Gain the clarity and confidence that comes from understanding your strengths, talents, and preferences, and knowing which path is truly right for you.

Take The Test

 

 

 

 

 

Work Environment

Meeting, convention, and event planners held about 134,100 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of meeting, convention, and event planners were as follows:

Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations                          19%
Accommodation and food services 11
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 11
Administrative and support services 10
Self-employed workers 8

Meeting, convention, and event planners spend time in their offices and at event locations, such as hotels and convention centers. They may travel regularly to attend the events they organize and to visit prospective meeting sites.

The work of meeting, convention, and event planners can be fast paced and demanding. Planners oversee many aspects of an event at the same time and face numerous deadlines, and they may coordinate multiple meetings or events at the same time.

Work Schedules

Most meeting, convention, and event planners work full time. As major events approach, they often work additional hours to finalize preparations. During meetings or conventions, planners may work on weekends and for more hours than they usually work in a day.

Education and Training

Most meeting, convention, and event planning positions require a bachelor’s degree. Some hospitality industry experience related to event planning is considered valuable for many positions.

Education

Most meeting, convention, and event planners need a bachelor’s degree. Although some colleges offer degree programs in meeting and event management, other common fields of study include communications, business, and business management.

Planners who have studied meeting and event management or hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than those from other academic disciplines. Some colleges offer continuing education courses in meeting and event planning.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Events Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a voluntary certification for meeting and convention 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 36 months of meeting management experience, recent employment in a meeting management job, and proof of continuing education credits. Those who qualify must then pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic planning, financial and risk management, facility operations and services, and logistics.

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) offers the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation for meeting planners who work for, or contract with, federal, state, or local government. This certification is not a requirement for those looking to work as a government meeting planner; however, it may be helpful for candidates who want to show that they know government purchasing policies and travel regulations. To qualify, candidates must have worked as a meeting planner for at least 1 year and have been a member of SGMP for 6 months. To become a certified planner, members must take a 3-day course and pass an exam.

Some organizations, including the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, offer voluntary certifications in wedding planning. Although not required, the certifications can be helpful in attracting clients and proving knowledge.

Other Experience

It can be beneficial for new meeting, convention, and event planners to have some experience in the hospitality industry. Working in a variety of positions at hotels, convention centers, and convention bureaus provides knowledge of how the hospitality industry operates. Other beneficial work experiences include coordinating university or volunteer events and shadowing professionals.

Personality and Interests

Meeting or convention planners typically have an interest in the Helping, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Helping or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a meeting or convention planner, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Meeting or convention planners should also possess the following specific qualities:

Communication skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners communicate with clients, suppliers, and event staff. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills and be able to convey the needs of their clients effectively.

Composure. Planners often work in a fast-paced environment and must be able to make quick decisions while remaining calm under pressure.

Customer-service skills. Planners must understand their clients’ needs. They must act professionally in a variety of situations, know how to keep an audience engaged, and help participants network with peers.   

Interpersonal skills. Planners must be good at establishing and maintaining positive relationships with clients and suppliers.

Negotiation skills. Planners must be able to negotiate service contracts to get good prices for their clients.

Organizational skills. To provide high quality meetings, planners must be detail-oriented and be able to multitask and meet tight deadlines. Many meetings are planned more than a year in advance, so long-term thinking ability is vital. 

Problem-solving skills. When problems arise, planners must be able to come up with creative solutions that satisfy clients.

Pay

The median annual wage for meeting, convention, and event planners was $50,600 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,590, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,390.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for meeting, convention, and event planners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Administrative and support services $53,460
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations                        51,970
Accommodation and food services 44,590
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 43,380

Most meeting, convention, and event planners work full time. As major events approach, they often work additional hours to finalize preparations. During meetings or conventions, planners may work on weekends and for more hours than they usually work in a day.

Job Outlook

Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for professionally planned meetings and events is expected to remain steady as businesses and organizations continue to host events regularly.

For organizations with geographically separate offices and members, meetings are the only time they can bring everyone together. Despite the spread of online communication, face-to-face interaction remains important.

Job Prospects

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in meeting and event management, hospitality, or tourism management should have the best job opportunities. Those who have experience in the hospitality industry or with virtual meeting software and social media outlets should also have an advantage.

Job opportunities for corporate planners fluctuate with economic activity. When the economy is in a downturn, companies often cut budgets for meetings.

For More Information

For more information about meeting, convention, and event planners, including information about certification and industry trends, visit

Events Industry Council

Society of Government Meeting Professionals

For more information about wedding planners, including information about certification, visit

American Association of Certified Wedding Planners

Association of Bridal Consultants

Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants

 

FAQ

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

I would like to cite this page for a report. Who is the author?

There is no published author for this page. Please use citation guidelines for webpages without an author available. 

I think I have found an error or inaccurate information on this page. Who should I contact?

This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com.

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.