Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Summary

meeting convention and event planners image
Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.
Quick Facts: Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
2016 Median Pay $47,350 per year
$22.76 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 116,700
Job Outlook, 2016-26 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 11,800

What Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners Do

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Work Environment

Meeting, convention, and event planners spend time in their offices and onsite at hotels or convention centers. They often travel to attend events and visit prospective meeting sites. During meetings or conventions, planners may work many more hours than usual.

How to Become a Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner

Most meeting, convention, and event planning positions require a bachelor’s degree. Some hospitality industry experience related to event planning is considered valuable for many positions.

Pay

The median annual wage for meeting, convention, and event planners was $47,350 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be best for candidates with hospitality experience and a bachelor’s degree in meeting and event management, hospitality, or tourism management.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for meeting, convention, and event planners.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of meeting, convention, and event planners with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about meeting, convention, and event planners by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners Do About this section

Meeting, convention, and event planners
Meeting, convention, and event planners meet with clients to understand the purpose of their meeting or event.

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Duties

Meeting, convention, and event planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to understand the purpose of the meeting or event
  • Plan the scope of the event, including its time, location, and cost
  • Solicit bids from venues and service providers
  • Inspect venues to ensure that they meet the client’s requirements
  • Coordinate event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service
  • Monitor event activities to ensure that the client and the attendees are satisfied
  • Review event bills and approve payments

Meeting, convention, and event planners organize a variety of events, including weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions. They coordinate every detail of these events, including finances. Before planning a meeting, for example, planners will meet with clients to estimate attendance and determine the meeting’s purpose. During the event, they handle logistics, such as registering guests and organizing audiovisual equipment. After the meeting, they make sure that all vendors are paid, and they may survey attendees to obtain feedback on the event.

Meeting, convention, and event planners search for potential meeting sites, such as hotels and convention centers. They consider the lodging and services that the facility can provide, how easy it will be for people to get there, and the attractions that the surrounding area has to offer. Planners may also consider whether an online meeting can achieve the same objectives as a meeting that requires attendees to gather in a physical location.

Once a location is selected, planners arrange the meeting space and support services, such as catering and interpreters. They negotiate contracts with suppliers and coordinate plans with the venue’s staff. They may also organize speakers, entertainment, and activities.

The following are examples of types of meeting, convention, and event planners:

Meeting planners plan large meetings for organizations. Healthcare meeting planners specialize in organizing meetings and conferences for healthcare professionals. Corporate planners organize internal business meetings and meetings between businesses. These events may be in person or online, held either within corporate facilities, or offsite to include more people.

Convention planners plan conventions and conferences for organizations. Association planners organize annual conferences and trade shows for professional associations. Convention service managers work for hotels and convention centers. They act as liaisons between the meeting facility and the planners who work for associations, businesses, and governments. They present food service options to outside planners, coordinate special requests, and suggest hotel services that work within a planner’s budget.

Event planners arrange the details of a variety of events. Wedding planners are the most well known, but event planners also coordinate celebrations such as anniversaries, reunions, and other large social events, as well as corporate events, including product launches, galas, and award ceremonies. Nonprofit event planners plan large events with the goal of raising donations for a charity or advocacy organization. Events may include banquets, charity races, and food drives.

Work Environment About this section

Meeting, convention, and event planners
Meeting, convention, and event planners regularly collaborate with clients, hospitality workers, and meeting attendees.

Meeting, convention, and event planners held about 116,700 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of meeting, convention, and event planners were as follows:

Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 19%
Accommodation and food services 12
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 12
Administrative and support services 10
Self-employed workers 9

Meeting, convention, and event planners spend time in their offices and at event locations, such as hotels and convention centers. They may travel regularly to attend the events they organize and to visit prospective meeting sites.

The work of meeting, convention, and event planners can be fast paced and demanding. Planners oversee many aspects of an event at the same time and face numerous deadlines, and they may coordinate multiple meetings or events at the same time.

Work Schedules

Most meeting, convention, and event planners worked full time in 2016. As major events approach, they often work additional hours to finalize preparations. During meetings or conventions, planners may work on weekends and for more hours than they usually work in a day.

How to Become a Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner About this section

Meeting, convention, and event planners
Meeting, convention, and event planners typically need a bachelor's degree.

Most meeting, convention, and event planning positions require a bachelor’s degree. Some hospitality industry experience related to event planning is considered valuable for many positions.

Education

Most meeting, convention, and event planners need a bachelor’s degree. Although some colleges offer degree programs in meeting and event management, other common fields of study include communications, business, and business management.

Planners who have studied meeting and event management or hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than those from other academic disciplines. Some colleges offer continuing education courses in meeting and event planning.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Events Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a voluntary certification for meeting and convention planners. Although the CMP is not required, it is widely recognized in the industry and may help in career advancement. To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of 36 months of meeting management experience, recent employment in a meeting management job, and proof of continuing education credits. Those who qualify must then pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic planning, financial and risk management, facility operations and services, and logistics.

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) offers the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation for meeting planners who work for, or contract with, federal, state, or local government. This certification is not a requirement for those looking to work as a government meeting planner; however, it may be helpful for candidates who want to show that they know government purchasing policies and travel regulations. To qualify, candidates must have worked as a meeting planner for at least 1 year and have been a member of SGMP for 6 months. To become a certified planner, members must take a 3-day course and pass an exam.

Some organizations, including the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, offer voluntary certifications in wedding planning. Although not required, the certifications can be helpful in attracting clients and proving knowledge.

Other Experience

It can be beneficial for new meeting, convention, and event planners to have some experience in the hospitality industry. Working in a variety of positions at hotels, convention centers, and convention bureaus provides knowledge of how the hospitality industry operates. Other beneficial work experiences include coordinating university or volunteer events and shadowing professionals.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners communicate with clients, suppliers, and event staff. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills to convey the needs of their clients effectively.

Interpersonal skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must establish and maintain positive relationships with clients and suppliers. Often, a given area has a limited number of vendors, and meeting, convention, and event planners will likely need them for future events.

Negotiation skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to negotiate service contracts for events. They need to secure quality products and services at reasonable prices for their clients.

Organizational skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must multitask, pay attention to details, and meet tight deadlines in order to provide high-quality meetings. Many meetings are planned more than a year in advance, so long-term thinking is vital.

Problem-solving skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to develop creative solutions that satisfy clients. They must be able to recognize potential problems and identify solutions in advance.

Pay About this section

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Median annual wages, May 2016

Business operations specialists

$65,260

Meeting, convention, and event planners

$47,350

Total, all occupations

$37,040

 

The median annual wage for meeting, convention, and event planners was $47,350 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,030.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for meeting, convention, and event planners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Administrative and support services $50,160
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 50,000
Accommodation and food services 44,590
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 39,960

Most meeting, convention, and event planners worked full time in 2016. As major events approach, they often work additional hours to finalize preparations. During meetings or conventions, planners may work on weekends and for more hours than they usually work in a day.

Job Outlook About this section

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Meeting, convention, and event planners

10%

Business operations specialists

9%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for professionally planned meetings and events is expected to remain steady as businesses and organizations continue to host events regularly.

For organizations with geographically separate offices and members, meetings are the only time they can bring everyone together. Despite the spread of online communication, face-to-face interaction remains important.

Job Prospects

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in meeting and event management, hospitality, or tourism management should have the best job opportunities. Those who have experience in the hospitality industry or with virtual meeting software and social media outlets should also have an advantage.

Job opportunities for corporate planners fluctuate with economic activity. When the economy is in a downturn, companies often cut budgets for meetings.

Employment projections data for meeting, convention, and event planners, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Meeting, convention, and event planners

13-1121 116,700 128,500 10 11,800 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of meeting, convention, and event planners.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Administrative services managers

Administrative Services Managers

Administrative services managers plan, direct, and coordinate supportive services of an organization. Their specific responsibilities vary, but administrative service managers typically maintain facilities and supervise activities that include recordkeeping, mail distribution, and office upkeep.

Bachelor's degree $90,050
Floral designers

Floral Designers

Floral designers, also called florists, cut and arrange live, dried, and silk flowers and greenery to make decorative displays. They also help customers select flowers, containers, ribbons, and other accessories.

High school diploma or equivalent $25,850
Food service managers

Food Service Managers

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.

High school diploma or equivalent $50,820
fundraisers image

Fundraisers

Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization. They also may design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization’s work, goals, and financial needs.

Bachelor's degree $54,130
Lodging managers

Lodging Managers

Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.

High school diploma or equivalent $51,840
Travel agents

Travel Agents

Travel agents sell transportation, lodging, and entertainment activities to individuals and groups planning trips. They offer advice on destinations, plan trip itineraries, and make travel arrangements for clients.

High school diploma or equivalent $36,460

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about meeting, convention, and event planners, including information about certification and industry trends, visit

Events Industry Council

Society of Government Meeting Professionals

For more information about wedding planners, including information about certification, visit

American Association of Certified Wedding Planners

Association of Bridal Consultants

Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants

O*NET

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm (visited November 01, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.