Convention management is one of the hospitality industry’s fastest growing occupations. Convention managers are responsible for coordinating services for a variety of gatherings, including: business seminars, athletic expositions, educational workshops and entertainment functions. These events cover all aspects of hospitality, including booking rooms, providing food services, and setting up the venues for activities. Managing these events proficiently is a huge factor in providing satisfactory experiences to participants and encouraging them to return in the future to rebook similar engagements. So how do aspiring hospitality employees focus on a career as an convention manager?
Personal Skills for Job Success
Successful customer interactions depend upon proficient listening, speaking, and written skills that convey efficiency, respect and a willingness to serve the client’s needs. Hospitality employers are looking for convention managers who exhibit strong interpersonal and communication skills. Additionally, a cordial, professional line of communication not only builds a relationship of trust with customers but fosters good teamwork with colleagues and promotes effective leadership.
Employers also want convention managers to be proficient at paying attention to details. Customers may not always be clear with their expectations, so it is the job of the event planner to assist clients with their understanding of how an event will unfold. Convention managers routinely review these types of details with clients:
- How many people are attending?
- Is the event adults only or will teens and children be included?
- Are there any special dietary needs or personal accommodations, such as wheelchair accessible rooms, that will be required?
- What technology is needed for presentations?
- Is transportation being requested for events that have multiple locations?
- What amenities, meals or other services are included in the event price?
Outlining details like these ensures that all parties have compatible expectations and increases the odds of holding a successful event.
Educational Requirements for a Convention Management Career
Possessing the right training for the job is as important as having the right personal skills. Two pathways exist for moving into an event management career. They are available to current industry employees as well as those starting new hospitality careers.
- The Convention Industry Council awards the Certified Meeting Professional certificate to qualified non-degree candidates who have at least three years of industry experience. Employees with a bachelor’s only need to have worked two years. In addition, a candidate must complete 25 hours of continuing education classes offered through professional organizations, or a CIC approved internship.
- Accredited hospitality degree programs confer bachelor’s degrees with concentrated coursework in convention and event management. Programs may be offered through a school’s business department when no dedicated hospitality school exists. In addition to learning foundational principles of the hospitality business, instruction focuses on marketing strategies and planning foundations necessary for coordinating large events. Bachelor degree holders can expect to have more rapid job advancement opportunities within the field.
Becoming a convention and event planner looks inviting for aspiring hospitality employees. Job growth for the occupation is expected to increase by 33% through 2022. Current median earnings of $46,000 annually are also anticipated to increase. Candidates for these jobs should possess well-rounded communication skills, work well with details, and be willing to pursue continuing education. With these attributes in place, a sustainable career in convention management with advancement opportunities awaits.