Having worked in the East Honolulu event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?
So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In East Honolulu, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.
The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?
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Event Planning or management is most probably similar in analogy to planning a typical birthday party, where the preparations need to be set up in the most effective ways. However, there are more intimate details in event management that needs to be paid close attention to.
Nowadays, the term Event manager seems to refer to an easy yet sophisticated and chic profession. Yet in actuality, there are consequences and accountabilities that are attached to this classy title of being a service provider. The name suggests the job profile of an event manager involves organizing a special affair. Concepts have to be visualized, planned, budgeted, and executed in events that are often highly regarded such as fashion or beauty shows, concerts, corporate seminars, exhibitions, wedding celebrations, theme parties, product launching, etc.
What is good about this career and its gaining popularity is the minimal requirement for financial investments, yet it allows the planner to be independent and flexible. Personal traits, character and attitude are of more importance in event planning. The planner of events must possess a real passion in holding or conducting affairs, they need to be organized and able to work in flexible and often extended hours. Although this exciting career among the younger generation may have been seen as a sensational one, it also demands a substantial amount of hard work and effort. Perfection is a major quality that must be achieved in any event management and therefore requires a great quantity of patience, good communication skills and comprehension to be practiced by an event manager. Duties must be discharged with efficiency, challenges must be confidently faced and situations must be given due attention and reaction. Team spirit, leadership and organizational skills are as well required in event planning. Every detail no matter how minute must be paid close attention to.
There are also courses available to be taken by anyone who decide on taking a career in event planning. Eligibility courses usually requires to have a bachelor's degree in any discipline but most preferred are management-related fields, social sciences, liberal arts and humanities. Individuals who are of interest simply have to finish these courses that are offered in many academic institutional and universities. Short term certificates as well as post graduate MBA courses may also be taken. Major areas of principles and techniques must also be mastered to effectively perform and execute the duties of an event planner. These principles include public relations, organizational development, communication and implementation.
Training and experience also contribute in becoming an adept and qualified event manager. While at school, the aspirant may work as an event staff personnel for sporting festivals and leagues. If there are local music shows to be held, assist in the preparation. Internships also play a major role in molding a successful planner.
Upon completion of qualifying courses, the event planner can join established companies in event planning or they may choose to set up and start their own business. Employment are available from corporate and public sectors, government agencies, tourist agencies, hotels, banks and other financial institutions, private consultancy firms etc.
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You've been tasked with planning an event and don't know where to begin. Take a deep breath, anyone with any level of event expertise can take an event from good to great. Here is how:
For beginners, it is imperative that you do your homework. You must first generate an event plan and consider the building blocks of any event: target market, situational analysis, the 6 P's and planning.
Let's get started. Think very clearly about the people you are trying to attract. Ask yourself the question: Who is your target market?
Once you identify those that will be attending your event, allow yourself time to travel into the hearts and minds of your potential audience. Believe me; knowing what kinds of things they like to see, do, buy and eat will be helpful as your event plan begins to come to life.
Now that you have your target market in mind, let's take a look at your situational analysis. You will need to examine your internal strengths and weaknesses and your external opportunities and threats as they relate to whatever you are planning to do. You must be brutally honest with yourself when analyzing the various components of your event.
The next step in taking your event from good to great is to identify the 6 P's of event planning: Purpose, People, Product, Place, Price and Process. Outlined below you will find the questions related to each P that you should answer prior to diving into the planning phase.
- Why are you doing this event? (Purpose)
- Who will attend? (People)
- What are you going to do? (Product)
- When and where? (Place)
- How much is it going to cost you? (Price)
- How are you going to get the job done? (Process)
Now that you have identified your target market, have performed a situational analysis and have answered the building block questions of planning an event, you are ready to develop a formal event plan and begin execution shortly thereafter.
A formal event plan has several interrelated components: goal, objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, timetable and evaluation. Your written detailed plan of action will serve as the backbone to your master event plan. Keep it close at hand and refer back to it often.
Congratulations, at this point you have finished your homework and can now move into the imaginative, fun side of event planning! Take your events to the next level by identifying a theme and carrying that theme from start to finish.
Planning a successful event is no walk in the park. It is tedious work and requires an individual who always keeps their dancing shoes and party hat nearby. One who is forever excited about the adventure and who remembers that problems that will inevitably arise but the beat must go on.
You've got a plan, now the let the event begin. You are on your way from good to great!