How to become a successful event planner

How to Become a Corporate Event Planner

A great event planner is the genius behind every successful company event! Learn everything there is to know about stepping into the role as a corporate event planner.
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September 7, 2022

Have you ever wondered what the secret to a memorable event is? The answer is simple - a skilled corporate event planner. In this blog, we’ll go through everything there is to know about being a corporate event planner, from what they do to the steps someone can take to become one. 

Who is a corporate event planner? 

A corporate event planner is the mastermind behind any successful corporate-sized event. A corporate planner has the skills to not only put together an event when the day arrives, but also has top-tier planning skills to bring all the details together. 

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Corporate Event Planner

Create An Event Budget 

Putting together an event budget is a crucial part of any corporate event. It’s what will guide you as you make heavy financial decisions on certain aspects of a corporate event, like venues and caterers. Some key aspects that a planner applies when creating a budget is identifying expected expenditures of the event, estimating the cost and listing out potential sources of income. 

Arrange the Small Details 

When planning a successful corporate event, or any event at that, it’s all about the small details. A corporate event planner is in charge of a multitude of small details, including things like the amount of vendors an event should have to how much time each guest speaker will have, and even the decorations for an event. They also have a hand in choosing what kind of food there is at an event with catering or any other preferred food vendors. Arranging travel plans is another task that planners deal with- think planning travel for any guest speakers who will be attending the event and more. 

Handle the Booking

Once the decisions are made for things like the venue, vendors, and the agenda, the next step for a corporate event planner is handling the bookings. It’s up to the planner to book said venue, vendors and even hotels where guests are staying. This also includes booking the event venue as well as the right technology they plan to use, like projectors and microphones. They’re in charge of calling and making arrangements for many of the details that require any prior booking on the company’s behalf. 

Negotiate Contracts 

Another aspect a corporate event planner should have a hand in is legal matters like contracts. Contracts will help solidify any key details with vendors, hotels, caterers, speakers, and more. In case any misunderstandings happen with any event participants, contracts are a useful tool to have in hand.    . 

Planning the Agenda 

An agenda is an important piece to include in the planning of any corporate event. Event agendas can not only help your team and speakers, but they can also be beneficial for attendees to have a clear idea of what to expect for the event. Corporate event planners will typically specify in the agenda what time certain presentations or activities start as well as any other important information that may be helpful for attendees. 

Is it hard to be a corporate planner?

Market the Event 

Another duty that is required of a corporate event planner is marketing the event. If there is a marketing team available in the company, they will work alongside them to promote the event. They’ll curate the best marketing materials ranging anywhere from digital campaigns on social media to invitations sent out to attendees and even reaching out to local newspapers to run an ad on your event. They also will arrange any company branding for the event through different digital branded elements or signs and posters. A great corporate event planner will want to get the word out about an event in any way that they can, so they usually have a heavy hand in the marketing plan!

Discussing Event Requirements with Clients & Event Staff

A crucial part of a corporate event planner’s process is making sure everyone is on board with all the details of an event. It’s important to communicate with all members involved with the event on aspects like timing and different expectations of both the team and vendors. Keeping everyone in line with deadlines and details will ensure a smooth and successful event!    

Monitor the Event On the Day-Of

With all the time and energy it took them to plan every aspect of an event, a great corporate event planner will also spend the event day to ensure all those details are in order. This includes making sure everything goes according to the agenda and remains on time, including vendors and guest speakers arriving on time. The planner may also need to help set up any equipment for the event, including seating, projectors and more. 

4 Benefits to Having a Corporate Event Planning Position

A job as a corporate event planner is not an easy one, but it’s one that’s fun and fulfilling. There are a number of benefits to working as a corporate event planner. They are: 

  1. It’s Always In Demand

As long as companies are around, so will corporate event planners. Companies that prefer to be involved with their industry and culture will continue to do so by planning all sorts of events, from important conferences to holiday company parties. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, corporate event planning is projected to grow by 18% from 2020 to 2030- that’s a huge increase - and a sign that planners will continue to be in high demand! 

  1. Flexibility

A great benefit to this position is the flexibility of it. You can choose to work either as a freelance planner or an in-house event specialist. If you choose to go the freelancing route, you have the option to take on as many or as little event planning projects as you’d like. 

  1. It’s A Long-Term Opportunity 

The good thing about being a corporate event planner is there will always be more events other than the one you put together- AKA more opportunities. If the event you put together was a success, there’s a good chance that company will want to hire you for more events in the future if you freelance. If you’re an in-house corporate planner, you can guarantee that different events will continue to occur since that’s your permanent position at the company. 

  1. It’s A Fun Job!

While at times it can be stressful with a lot of pressure to put on an event for a company, the upside is there’s a lot of fun to be had - after all, you’re providing all the fun for others! The amount of new people you meet and connections you make during the corporate event planning process is like no other job! Anyone who loves to make new connections, plan events, and coordinate a fun time for others would be a pro as a corporate event planner! 

Are event planners needed?

How To Become A Corporate Event Planner

Since there are no mandatory educational requirements in the field of event planning, there are a multitude of ways to get your foot in the door with corporate event planning. 

  1. Earn A Degree

While it is not required, the majority of corporate event planners you see out in the working world usually obtained a bachelor’s degree. However, the major in which that bachelor degree is in may vary. Some common majors of those in the corporate event planning space are events management, business administration, public relations, communication, hospitality management, marketing, or any related field. 

  1. Get A Certificate

If you’d like to expand your event planning credentials past your bachelor’s degree, consider obtaining a certificate. Certificates are a great way to add to your experience in a specific job or industry and are often offered in topics that are more niche, like corporate event planning. If not corporate event planning, think about getting a certificate in subjects like catering and events, marketing, business travel, digital events, trade shows, public relations and more. 

  1. Volunteer

The best way to gain experience to plan events? Volunteer at one! Research different venues and event spaces in your area and look to see if they offer any sort of volunteer opportunities. The more exposure you can get to any kind of event, whether it’s to help set up, organize, or plan, the better. Adding any and all event planning experience to your portfolio will only help as you enter the corporate event planning space. 

  1. Find An Administrative Job

Although it might seem like an unusual way to gain corporate event planning experience, getting a job as an administrator is a great way to start training for event planning since the skill sets and duties are similar. Although you’ll have other duties required of you, a lot of times administrators are in charge of planning different types of corporate events. Positions such as admin assistant or office operations manager have the potential to do things like schedule company meetings, schedule client meetings, manage budgets, and book travel for different occasions. Administrators are constantly communicating with clients, so adding that skill to your resume or portfolio is a big bonus. 

  1. Utilize Friends & Family 

If you’re unable to gain experience through the methods mentioned above, another great way to build up your portfolio is to put together great events for family and friends. You can save any materials from these events that you think may help, like invitations, spreadsheets, contracts and more. Even if it’s a small event like a barbeque or birthday, any form of planning you partook in could be used to your benefit in your professional career! 

  1. Apply For Internal In-House Positions

If you choose not to go the freelancing route, there are many companies who hold positions strictly related to event planning if they’re medium or large-sized companies. Depending on the position, this will have you planning full-time for one company, which allows you to get familiar with every aspect of the company. Some examples of in-house positions are ones like marketing coordinator, events manager, public relations specialist, travel coordinator and more. 

  1. Apply for Agency Positions 

Another great option for corporate event planning experience is taking a position with an event planning agency. Agencies are a great place to gain experience as you’ll deal with a multitude of different clients which will likely have you working on a variety of different events. Having a wide range of clients and projects makes it fun, too! The experience you’ll gain from an agency will carry you through your professional career. 

  1. Go Freelance

If you’d rather not be tied down by an in-house or agency position, working as a freelance corporate event planner may be for you. With freelancing, you have the ability to select the events you’d like to work on with the clients you’d prefer to work with. You can also set your own rates; as you gain more experience and plan more successful events, you can raise those rates. There are different ways you can advertise your services and establish yourself as a freelancer in the corporate event planner; you can create your own social media page or create a great website. You can even reach out to companies through social media and attract clients that way. 

Steps for event planning

The Top Corporate Event Planner Skills You Need

To be a corporate event planner, it requires a special set of skills to make a name for yourself. They are: 

  1. Communication

One of the top skills someone who seeks to be a great corporate event planner needs is excellent communication skills. The majority of this role requires constant communication with your company’s team, vendors, guests and more; so, interpersonal skills are not only a preference, but a requirement. You’ll want the connections that you make to last your entire career, so communicating in a way that’s professional but friendly is of utmost importance when choosing to be a corporate event planner. 

  1. Organization

When it comes to planning an event of any kind, one of the most important skills to have is organization. Think about it- for a successful event to come together, it takes a lot of moving pieces to come together perfectly. In order for this to happen, it requires someone to know how things work and how to get things done in a timely manner. Time management skills tie into organization as a corporate event planner as well. If you can organize the effort it takes to hit your event goals, you’ll have a successful event! 

  1. Working Well Under Pressure

With tight deadlines and relying heavily on others, working under pressure as a corporate event planner is almost inevitable. Being able to work in a high-pressure environment is a must, as you’ll be faced with a lot of decisions that need to be made in a short amount of time. 

  1. Problem Solving Skills

As we’ve mentioned previously, planning an important event for a company requires lots of moving parts, and sometimes, those moving parts unfortunately do not fall into place. In this circumstance, whether a vendor doesn’t follow through or a speaker arrives late, you’ve got to know how to troubleshoot and solve those problems. It’s important to think on your feet and always have a back up plan in place in case anything goes wrong! 

  1. Teamwork

Planning a corporate event shouldn’t just rely on one person - there are many different moving parts that require experts in different fields. That’s where teamwork is another necessary skill to have as a corporate event planner! You might be communicating with different parts of your company for details like your finance department about the budget, or the marketing team for promoting your event. Having the skills to work with others and collaborate on certain projects will make the planning process go much smoother for you and everyone else!

  1. Professionalism 

Being the point of contact for everything involving the event, a corporate event planner needs to not only know how to communicate well, but also hold themselves to a high standard of professionalism. You’re one of the first representations of your company when talking to vendors, event staff, and more, so conducting yourself in a manner that’s professional but friendly is a great way to go.  

  1. Positivity

As a corporate event planner, attitude is everything! Remaining positive even through times where the planning process is a little hectic is a very important trait to have, especially if you’re working with a large team! As the event planner, you set the tone for what happens from the beginning stages of the planning process all the way to the end of the event, so keeping a positive attitude will help everyone do the same especially if things don’t go as planned! 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the salary of corporate event planners? 

In 2021, the median salary of a corporate event planner in the United States was about $40,729 per year, with the top 10% of planners earning up to $95,000. The amounts can vary depending on factors like location, experience, and demand. 

2. What is the job outlook for event planner careers? 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, corporate event planning is projected to grow by 18% from 2020 to 2030- that’s a huge increase!  

3. What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Corporate Event Planner?

To be a corporate event planner, the type of skills you need are great communication skills, organization, working well under pressure, problem solving skills, and a positive attitude! 

4. Do I have to earn a certification to get an event planning job?

There are no mandatory requirements to become a corporate event planner, but it is helpful to obtain some sort of certificate! Applicable certificates can include ones for catering and events, marketing, business travel, digital events, trade shows, public relations and more.

5. What are the job responsibilities of a corporate event organizer?

The job responsibilities of a corporate event planner include arranging the details of an event including planning, organizing, and managing all aspects of an event. They deal primarily with setting up the event and making sure everything runs smoothly and in a timely manner. 

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