Conference services managers develop and supervise conferences in a variety of fields. Generally, they must be strong communicators capable of negotiating with representatives of different venues and vendors (which vary depending on the conference). Conference services managers typically work inside offices and plan events at hotels, universities, and other venues. They manage diverse teams of different sizes, so they need to be able to effective team leaders that are professional, affable and enthusiastic. Conference services managers create timelines and assign tasks to their subordinates when appropriate. If conflicts arise between subordinates, these managers must handle any issues efficiently. Conference services managers plan meetings, quickly resolve scheduling issues such as cancellations and necessary substitutions, and oversee and create budgets for small- and large-scale conferences.
Most conference services managers have a bachelor’s degree in business or a business-related field such as hospitality or accounting. Because conference services managers oversee many different aspects of conferences, they must be self-motivated, highly organized, and detail-oriented. They need to monitor and complete multiple tasks simultaneously, as well as be able to adhere to strict deadlines. Punctuality is important for conference services managers, who are expected to be available for performing on-site tasks as needed. They should be attentive and available. A strong familiarity with basic computer software such as the Microsoft Office suite is necessary for conference services managers.
Conference Services Manager Tasks
Work with copywriters, graphic designers and webmasters to create print and Web communications used before, during and after the conference.
Work with caterers, venues and other vendors to negotiate contracts and determine conference cost.
Handle meeting logistics including travel for attendees, meeting setup, entertainment, and catering.
Arrange supplies and equipment for speakers, vendors and workshop leaders for the day of the event.