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What Does an Event Specialist Do?

By Nicole Etolen
Updated May 17, 2024
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An event specialist is an experienced professional who handles or supervises all the details that go into planning an event. These details include everything from finding the ideal location to choosing the type of dishes and silverware that will be used. The job requires long hours, extreme attention to detail, and excellent organization skills.

The job of an event specialist is extremely demanding and often requires long hours, especially in the final days leading up to an event. Specialists work with clients to determine their needs and expectations, and strive to exceed those expectations. In the event planning industry, word of mouth advertising is extremely valuable, and a happy client will pass on the specialist’s name to other potential clients just as an unhappy client will spread the word and potentially ruin an event specialist’s reputation. For this reason, every part of the plan must have a back-up in case something goes wrong, such as a caterer dropping out at the last minute.

Organizational skills are a must for an event planner, as the job itself consists of organizing many small details into one big picture. Specialists are responsible for hiring everyone from caterers to entertainment. They arrange guest speakers, ensure that the most important guests have the best possible accommodations and transportation to the event, and keep the cost of the entire event within the client’s budget. Arranging and maintaining all the details also requires meticulous record-keeping and research skills.

A successful event specialist often has numerous contacts in the event-planning industries, including the food service, hospitality, entertainment, and printing industries. Maintaining a good business relationship with contacts is a year-round job, but it often pays off because the specialist can use those contacts to create both plans and back-up plans. Attending conferences and other events is a good way for an event specialist to meet new contacts as well as gather some new ideas about event planning in general.

The education requirements for an event specialist vary. Large companies looking to hire on-staff specialists often prefer candidates with college educations, although years of experience arranging successful events can override this requirement. Those with degrees often have them in a field such as marketing, public relations, or hospitality. Most event specialists start out working for someone else until they gain enough experience to start their own businesses.

The salary of an event specialist varies significantly depending on experience, location, and workload. The work may not always be steady; a specialist may have back-to-back events for three months, then no events for several months. While event specialists working on-staff at a single company may receive regular paychecks, those that work for themselves receive pay on a far more erratic schedule and must use good money management skills to make sure it lasts through dry spells in work.

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