Event coordinators, also known as event or meeting planners, are in charge of coordinating all the details required to ensure an event runs smoothly and successfully. Event coordinators can work independently as freelancers, but are often hired by corporations, trade associations and nonprofit organizations to work as an employee. In-house event coordinators can expect to manage a variety of events for their organizations, including trade shows, sales meetings, business meetings, employee appreciation events and virtual events.
Event coordinators are expected to coordinate every aspect of an event to make sure that it occurs without a hitch. Event coordinators are often expected to calculate a budget for proposed events. Coordination of approved events can include managing details like choosing the event location, arranging the schedule, selecting speakers/entertainment, choosing vendors, selecting menus, procuring accommodations, creating and distributing marketing materials (invitations, flyers, advertisements,), and arranging transportation for attendees. Event coordinators are also expected to be onsite the day of the event to oversee set-up or perform the set-up themselves, and to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
Training and Education
Most organizations require entry level event coordinators to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in marketing, public pelations, hospitality management, business or communications. It is possible to acquire event coordination through on-the-job training and it is not unusual for administrative assistants to enter the field after gaining event planning experience as part of their administrative duties. Meeting planner organizations, including the Connected International Meeting Professionals Association (CIMPA) and the Convention Industry Council, have begun to offer certification programs that, while not required, can indicate to potential employers a certain level of experience, which could lead to promotions and higher salaries.
Event coordinators must be detail-oriented and very organized, to manage the many details of an event. Written and verbal communication skills are important because event coordinators must be able to interact with a variety of people ranging from vendors to company management to attendees. Event coordinators must be able to work under pressure and be willing to work with tight deadlines. An event coordinator must also be flexible and capable of multi-tasking since many of the actions required to manage an event must be arranged concurrently. Finally, an event coordinator must be prepared to work long hours and potentially to travel as necessary to attend events.
Earnings for event coordinator vary based on experience and industry. According to 2010 salary research from Payscale.com, a global compensation research firm, nonprofit event coordinators can expect a median salary of $36,000. Entry level event coordinators generally earn a median salary of $30,000 and event coordinators with 10 or more years of earn a median salary of around $45,000. Federal government event coordinators show the highest earnings with a median income of approximately $46,000.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for event coordinators is expected to grow 16 percent from 2008 to 2018. Employment opportunities for event coordinators, however, can be strongly affected by the economy since businesses often cut meeting expenses to save money when budgets must be trimmed. The best industries to seek employment would be any high growth or emerging industry because these industries generally also experience a growth in meetings and conventions.