As businesses grow so does the need for meetings or corporate events to promote various products, services, and ideas. Senior managers and corporate officers often utilize a professional event planning service to help them produce conferences that build brand recognition with clients and other stakeholders. An event planner is one who organizes, coordinates, and facilitates meetings or conferences generally for corporations or non-profit organizations. While formal education is not altogether necessary to become an event planner, there are some university level degree programs that promote success in this exciting career field.

Hospitality And Tourism Management

Because event planning incorporates elements of hotel and food service management in its function, a degree in hospitality and tourism management is by far the most popular four-year degree program chosen by those who want to pursue an event planning career. A very large part of event planning is coordinating meeting space that is usually contained within large hotels. Besides professionally conveying a great message, making meeting refreshments readily available is crucial for lengthy, multiple day conferences. In addition to traditional hospitality management programs, some universities have incorporated a “convention management” career path within its hospitality and tourism management degree programs as a result of the growing demand for competent event planning professionals. One such program exists at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma that teaches students how to successfully produce quality meeting, conferences, and trade shows.

Business Management

A degree in business management is another popular degree for those entering the event planning career field. Business management degree programs teach students how to manage people, operations, and information systems; all three are crucial components of every special event, meeting, conference, or trade show. Successful event planners must manage people in various roles often without them realizing that they are being managed. For example, an event planner must manage to secure a venue with great acoustics and modern audio visual features from a facilities manager. The facilities manager is generally not under the event planner’s direct supervision so the event planner must rely on their influence, negotiation skills, and networking prowess to manage the facilities professional. A subsystem of some business management courses is project management which aligns nicely with the field of event planning. Companies expect a project manager to deliver a product or service within cost, schedule, and quality parameters just as an event planner does for every meeting.


Business professionals rely on conferences to advertise new ideas, and every conference reflects the culture of the company promoting the ideas. For this reason, event planners must have ample working knowledge of marketing, sales, and promotions to successfully meet customer expectations. Marketing professionals are experts in building company brands based upon big picture, strategic goals. Event planners with marketing backgrounds help ensure that high profile conferences accurately portray the company’s vision.

Besides formal training, successful event planners must possess outstanding organizational and communication skills. Additionally, these resourceful professionals work well under pressure that is sure to come from a variety of directions including clients, venue facility managers, and conference attendees. Those with the right skill set are ready to pursue what U.S. News and World Reports called the number one best business career of 2012.