Event managers are the stalwart folks who oversee corporate, networking, or entertainment events from start to finish. They are responsible for planning the entire event and making sure it goes off without a hitch. Some of their most common responsibilities include goal setting with the event holder, location selection, budget establishment, timeline and attractions at the actual event, theme, and many more. As you might imagine, this involves a fair amount of travel.
Most event managers travel frequently in the execution of their duties. Since event managers may have clients in disparate locations, they often travel to meet with those clients. Event managers also travel to scout out potential event locations, meet with individuals or entities involved in the event, and to actually attend the event they planned.
Larger corporations or organizations often have in-house event managers if they hold multiple events throughout a year, but event managers are often hired as a contractor or are part of a large firm, to plan a specific event. Read on to find out all about an event manager’s job and responsibilities, and why this job includes a lot of travel. Event managers will definitely be able to take advantage of frequent flyer programs!
Do Event Planners Travel a lot?
With the potential for social events being held all over the world, most event managers have to be able to travel a lot for their job. In 2019, the most popular corporate destinations in the world included the following:
- Orlando, FL
- London, UK
- Las Vegas, NV
- Berlin, Germany
- Bangkok, Thailand
Since most of the organizations holding these events aren’t headquartered there, it falls on the event managers to visit the proposed venues for suitability, budgeting, and planning meetings with the venue staff itself.
If event managers aren’t located in the same place as the company or person who hired them, they may need to travel for meetings with that person as well. Event managers may even need to travel to meet with guest speakers or entertainment scheduled for their event as well.
Of course, small, locally-owned and operated event managers who plan small- or medium-scale events in one area may not travel as much. Even then, though, they might be hired to plan an event in their state but in a city several hours from their home office, in which case they’ll travel as well. Event managers, therefore, can expect to travel a lot for their job. Keep those passports up to date and make sure you enroll in all the airline mileage clubs!
What Does an Event Manager Do?
Event managers, or event planners as they’re often synonymously known, are the people responsible for planning social events for corporations, organizations, or individuals. Corporate conferences at exotic locations, big non-profit galas or parties, or just small, local networking events; all of these events need a person to plan and supervise these events. Here are just a few of the types of events an event manager might plan:
- Trade shows
Generally speaking, events can be held for corporate, private, or charity reasons. In all of these cases, the organization hosting the event will likely charge an event manager to plan the event. While they have many duties and responsibilities, some of the most common for event managers include the following:
- Event planning
- Venue selection
- Vendor interviewing and selection
- Arranging logistical support
- Soliciting post-event feedback
- Post-event reporting
In short, an event manager is responsible for the successful planning and execution of an event. They work closely with the organization hosting the event to determine the goals, what constitutes success, and then how to reach those goals. Every aspect of the event, from where it’s held to what sorts of napkins are used at the cocktail hour, is within an event manager’s purview.
How is an Event Manager Hired?
Generally speaking, there are three ways to hire an event manager; organizations may have their own in-house managers, they may look for an individual who is self-employed, or they may hire a large event management firm. Some of the advantages and disadvantages for each method are listed in the table below:
No extra labor costs
May have competing responsibilities
Organization has direct supervision
May not have much experience
May not have as many industry contacts
Better for smaller events
May not be able to handle large events
May provide more personal touch
Could be more expensive than an in-house manager
Event Management Firm
Lots of experience
Years of industry relationships with vendors and venues
May not get as tailored of an experience
Organizations may take these advantages and disadvantages into account when deciding who they want to manage their event, as well as how frequently they hold events. An organization which holds an event every quarter or month, for instance, may want to have an in-house manager, while one that holds one or two a year may find it more cost-effective to hire an outside manager or firm.
Companies could also look to the location at which they want to have their event for an event management firm. There are firms located near the most popular venues in the world, and organizations can save significantly on travel expenses if they hire one of those firms. Instead of having to pay an in-house event manager or a different firm to travel across the world, the organization can just have remote conference calls and working groups with the firm located near their chosen venue. This also gives the event host the added benefit of working with a firm that has probably planned hundreds of events at that specific venue.
How Much do Event Managers Travel?
The amount that event managers travel depends on how many events they plan and execute, as well as where their events are held. According to CareerExplorer.com, event planners and managers travel regularly to both scout out venues, speak with vendors, attend conferences and events, and meet with clients. It also depends on whether they’re part of the organization, or if they’re with an outside firm or business.
In addition to traveling to venues and meetings, outside firm event managers will travel regularly to meet with their clients. Since they may be working in various capacities on several events simultaneously, they may be traveling constantly throughout the year. It really depends on the firm and the events being held, as well as the locations where they’re being held.
Self-employed event managers may not travel quite as much, especially if they focus on a specific region or city. Many event managers have quite lucrative careers focusing on one city for their entire career, and if they devote some time to managing their Google rankings, they may end up being the go-to event manager for a particular venue.
Some very popular venues may even have a preferred event manager that they recommend the organization works with, which provides regular business as well. In these cases, event managers may not travel much at all.
What Sort of Events do Event Managers Typically Plan?
In general, the types of events that event managers plan and supervise can be broken into one of three categories: corporate, private, or charity events. Each of these types of events are described in more detail below.
As the name suggests, corporate events are social events that are held by corporations or companies, usually with the purpose of building their business. These events can be further broken down into multiple types of events that better describe what happens at the event, as well as provide a general idea of the goal of the event.
Conferences can be put on for a number of reasons and may be hosted or sponsored by one or several companies within a particular industry. The purpose of a conference is usually to join industry leaders together and provide a one-stop-shop for customers and clients to meet with representatives from all the companies who may be able to help them. Conferences often have a number of guest speakers as well.
Seminars are typically held as a way to cover some particular aspect of an industry, or as an educational experience. Well-known seminars may include topics on personal finance or real-estate investing, usually held by an expert in the field trying to sell their knowledge. A company or organization may also hold a seminar as a way to educate people in the industry on particular problems or challenges being faced. Usually, seminars cost money to attend.
- Trade Shows
Trade shows are similar to conferences, but their purpose is more to show off new products in an industry. The toy industry has multiple trade shows, where companies and buyers can come and see the newest toys on the market. Almost every industry has various types of trade shows, which are hosted by whatever professional association represents that industry. They are also usually hosted by the largest companies in the industry.
- Product Launches
Typically hosted by a single corporation where they unveil their newest product, product launches are large-scale social events that have a heavy journalist and industry enthusiast presence. A good example of a product launch may be a private movie premier that’s geared towards movie critics and the media. The main goal of a product launch event is to gain maximum media exposure and create some buzz for the product or service.
- Team-Building Events
Instead of being geared towards potential customers or clients, many corporations host multiple team-building events for their employees throughout the year as well. These events are intended to help build a more cohesive team, help employees better understand the goals of the organization, or simply as an incentive for good work.
Corporations need event managers to pull these huge events off, and since many of these corporations are headquartered all over the world, there is a very likely chance that the event manager will have to travel during the planning and execution of the event.
Private events are any event that’s hosted by an individual for an exclusive list of people. Parties are probably the most well-known example, but this category could include weddings, huge birthday parties, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, or exclusive private parties held by celebrities; the list includes basically anything someone might want to throw a party for.
While you probably won’t hire an event manager for your kid’s seventh birthday, you may consider hiring a wedding planner for your big day, and these wedding planners are essentially event managers. If your wedding planner is local and you’re planning a destination wedding, the event manager will likely have to travel at least once to scout out the venue.
An event manager can definitely help make a private event reach the next level of sophistication and class, and if you’re not experienced in putting on fun events for a large group of people, it may be worth the money to hire a professional who has experience in those particular events. It will at least remove some of the stress of holding the party.
Finally, the third broad umbrella of social events are charity events. You’ve probably heard of the dinners that cost $20,000 per plate; the point of these events isn’t to overcharge for a piece of chicken, but rather to raise money for a particular cause. You had better believe that an event manager is there to make sure every part of these types of events goes just according to plan.
In virtually all cases, the point of charity events is to raise money for a nonprofit organization or worthy cause. However, many non-profits hold community outreach events as well as a way to give back to their local community.
In these cases, event managers work closely with the non-profit to determine the goals for the event, pick the location, arrange for any guest speakers, experts, or entertainment, and arrange for food or catering.
Charity events can include a wide variety of specific events; among these, charity auctions, walk-a-thons, galas, or sporting events or concerts are some of the most well-known, and they raise millions for charity every year. In order to make sure the guests have a good time, an event manager is an integral part of the process of putting on one of these events.
Where Might Event Managers Travel?
In a word, event managers can potentially travel all over the world. In-house managers for large corporations might find themselves traveling to a new venue every year as the company tries to switch up the locales for its annual events.
There are extraordinarily popular locations all over the world; think Dubai in the Middle East, Paris, Rome, or Berlin in Europe, Singapore, Bangkok, Thailand, or Tokyo in Asia, Sydney Australia, New York City… the list is endless.
Events bring huge amounts of revenue to the locations where they’re held, not only the specific venue, but also the local economy. If the attendees aren’t staying at the venue the entire time, they’ll likely leave the area to see the sights, eat on the local economy, or see some sort of entertainment.
Because of this massive amount of potential revenue, exotic locations all over the world are in a constant struggle to try and coax event managers to consider their locations for their next event.
An event manager might find themselves in Asia one month for an event, then Europe for an event the month or quarter after that. In other words, the busiest and best event managers can easily find themselves traveling to every major continent, except Antarctica of course, in the course of any given year.
If you love to travel, it doesn’t get much better than the life of an event manager with global reach. It’s especially great because if you’re traveling for business, you’re not paying for the flight or expenses either!
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if event managers travel, the answer is a resounding yes. The largest firms in the world hire out their expert managers for events all over the world, local venues have in-house event managers that travel to meet with clients, or organizations with in-house event managers send them to exotic locations to scout out venues and meet with vendors.
The only exception to this rule would possibly be the self-employed or small-business event manager who handles a particular region or city; in these cases, the event manager may travel to meet a client in a different location but won’t have to travel as much to visit venues.
Social events are a $1.5 trillion dollar business, so cities and countries are always vying to attract some of that money. As a result, event managers will travel all over the world in the execution of their duties. Event management is a fun, exciting, and challenging job, and one for the adventurous soul who loves seeing new places and meeting new people.