A meeting/convention planner is a person who maps out all the details for large scale seminars, symposiums, conventions, and general meetings. Corporations and organizations that regularly hold such events as part of their regular business will typically employ a meeting and convention planner. Meeting halls, convention centers, and chamber of commerce organizations who want to lure large-scale meetings will also have persons in this job capacity, helping to assist organizations and act as liaison with any planners within those groups.
The meeting/convention planner's first job is typically to gather as much information as can be obtained regarding the number of persons expected to attend. For meetings that are entirely contained and restricted to organization members and/or invited guests, this task is fairly straightforward. For conventions that are in some way open to public attendance, the planner must use prior year attendance, attendance at similar events, and any other pertinent data from prior years.
Meeting and convention planners are typically persons with extensive experience in the hospitality industry at a managerial or supervisory level. These persons also will normally have experience in handling large groups and meetings. Some companies or convention entities will prefer individuals with at least an associate's degree in some hospitality discipline as well. Meeting/convention planners will also need excellent communication and organization skills and should expect that travel and office work are both regular elements of the job.
Meeting / Convention Planner Tasks
Work with copywriters, graphic designers and webmasters to create print and Web communications used before, during and after the conference.
Arrange supplies and equipment for speakers, vendors and workshop leaders for the day of the event.
Handle meeting logistics including travel for attendees, meeting setup, entertainment, and catering.
Work with caterers, venues and other vendors to negotiate contracts and determine conference cost.
Assess event goals, run meetings in preparation of event, and manage profitability of client.