When events are not your core business, and you don’t have a professional event planner on staff, planning events can get complicated quickly. The common myth about event planning is that it’s easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Planning events requires many specialized skills including —but certainly not limited to —hospitality industry knowledge, contract negotiation experience, multitasking abilities, an understanding of various efficient and effective technologies, attention to detail, and both excellent communication and interpersonal skills. The bottom line: Planning events isn’t easy.
For this reason, many companies hire an event planner to help take care of the logistics so that they can focus on their core business. When hiring a corporate event planner, it is important to consider a few attributes to ensure that your event runs smoothly:
1. Unique expertise
In general, the number one rule to follow is to seek out someone (or a company) who has a proven track record in creating your specific type of event. Whether it’s a corporate, social, or industry event, experience is key. The last thing you want to be is someone’s guinea pig.
Not sure where to look? Consider reaching out to professional groups like Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the International Live Events Association (ILEA),or the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE). Not only will you find professional meeting/event planners within those groups but you’re also likely to find relevant event planning publications to assist in your search.
Another great place to look is the local convention and visitors bureau. Since many corporate event planners are likely active members, you’ll be targeting from a pool of professionals with working knowledge of the local venues and vendors. Hiring someone who is well connected within the city where your event is hosted gives you a leg up in the planning stages.
2. Professional brand
It’s also important to conduct some due diligence prior to your first encounter. A strong brand is important, and this begins with a professional, modern website. The company must portray their capacity as a corporate event planner by providing a portfolio of past experiences, photo galleries, and a sampling of their client base. Event planner bios and contact information, not just a website form,is a huge plus and adds a personal flare.
An active social media presence is as important as a website. These outlets show how the company interacts with past, current, and future clients. Be sure to read reviews and check to see if they produce their own social content through blogs or articles.
3. Education Learning
Learning is a part of being. Be sure that the next corporate event planner you hire is up to speed on all the latest meeting/event planning trends. MPI, ILEA, and NACE all offer continuing education and certification programs. Additionally, if you operate in a niche market like life science or health care, it’s important that your corporate event planner be versed in all the regulatory requirements involved in pulling off your event.
4. Soft skills
Sometimes, it’s hard to measure the capacity of someone’s soft skills. When hiring a corporate event planner, however, it’s vitally important that they exemplify the following skillsets:
•Organization: How many events does the corporate event planner juggle at one time? Do they have the capacity to give your event the attention it deserves? Do they have a system in place to manage schedules and milestones?
•Detail oriented: Details are what truly set one event apart from all others. Does your event planner know how to focus on the details? Do they pay close attention tothe small things without losing sight of the big picture?
•Problem solving: Let’s face it, things don’t always go “as planned. Is your corporate event planner good at solving problems on the fly? Do they have a “Plan B”(or C, or D)? Someone well versed incontingency plans, who can think under pressure, is someone you want on your team.
•Transparency: From budgets to venues, your event planner should be able to answer your questions at any time, promptly and accurately. You should never have to guess when it comes to the information you need the most.
•Communication skills: Along with all the requisite interpersonal skills, it’s extremely important that your corporate event planner is always on the same page with you. Do they keep the lines of communication open? Do they communicate any troubleshooting issues that may arise? Are they able to get their points across effectively and swiftly without creating larger issues?
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into becoming a corporate event planner. It requires experience and integrity, grace under fire and nerves of steel. Thankfully, our decades in the event industry have given us a keen eye for finding individuals with both the general and specialized talents to make truly great corporate event planners. So, if you’re looking for a world-class event management experience, reach out to us today. We’d love to hear from you!