Approximately 134,100 event planners are employed in the United States. About 11 percent of event planners are self-employed. Many large corporations or institutions worldwide hire meeting managers, convention managers, or event planners to handle their specific activities. Although some companies may not have employees with the specific title of event planner or meeting manager, these skills are very marketable and these duties may be part of another job title. In many companies, these duties may be part of a position within the marketing, public relations, or corporate communications department.
Convention facilities, exhibit halls, training and educational institutions, travel companies, and health care facilities also hire event planners. Hotels often hire planners to handle meetings and events held within their facilities. Large associations usually maintain an event planning staff for one or more annual conventions or business meetings for their members.
Job opportunities are also available with companies that contract out event and meeting planning services. Many of these companies have positions that specialize in certain aspects of the planning service, such as travel coordinator, exhibit planner, facilities negotiator, or they have people who perform specific functions such as trade show display setup, registration, and follow-up reporting.
Planners interested in jobs with the convention and trade show industries or hotels may find that larger cities have more demand for planners and offer higher salaries.
Experienced meeting planners or convention managers may choose to establish their own businesses or independently contract out their services. Party planning may also be a good independent business venture.
An internship at a visitors and convention bureau, exhibit center, or with a travel agency or meeting planning company is a good way to meet and network with other people in this field. Attending trade shows might offer a chance to speak with people about the field and to discuss any contacts they might have.
Some colleges and universities may offer job placement services for people seeking careers in meeting planning or in the convention and trade show industries. Professional associations, such as Meeting Professionals International and PMCA, are also good contacts for someone starting out. Many feature job listings and articles about career planning on their Web sites. Classified ads and trade magazines may also offer job leads.
Advancement opportunities for people in the event planning field are good. Experienced planners can expect to move into positions of increased responsibility. They may become senior managers and executive directors of private businesses, hotels, convention facilities, exhibit halls, travel corporations, museums, or other facilities. They can advance within a corporation to a position with more responsibilities or they may go into the planning business for themselves. Planners who have established a good reputation in the industry are often recruited by other firms or facilities and can advance their careers with these opportunities.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Read Meetings & Conventions (http://www.meetings-conventions.com), Convene (https://www.pcma.org/convene), and The Meeting Professional (https://www.mpi.org/education/publications) to learn more about the industry and potential employers.
Land an entry-level job as an assistant event planner to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts.
Be willing to relocate. It may open more job opportunities.