...start your career traveling the world, supervising events and meetings as an On-Site Event Manager!
Do you dream of living a life of travel? Can you envision yourself jetting from one exotic location to another, staying in the most beautiful resorts and hotels in the world, and being a part of the exciting world of meetings and events?
As an on-site event manager, you get to do just that.
What do On-Site Event Managers do?
Meeting and event planners plan the entire event by themselves in the months prior to the event; but when it comes to "going live" on-site, it takes a lot of people to supervise the many different elements of the event:
Someone needs to make sure the meeting rooms are set up correctly.
Someone else needs to greet the VIPs at the airport and make sure they get to the hotel.
Another person is making sure the caterers or the hotel banquet staff are setting up the food functions.
Another person is making sure the arrivals at the airport are going smoothly.
Someone else is managing the entertainment, and
yet another team of people are greeting the attendees and getting them registered.
The event planner can't be everywhere at once, so she hires on-site event managers. Much like temp staff that specialize in meetings, they are there to make her life easier by managing their own piece of the big event puzzle. On-site event managers are also known as on-site coordinators, or within the industry, travel directors.
An on-site event manager /travel director almost always works as a freelancer, which means you work for yourself (as an independent contractor), but without the hassles of actually starting a business.
An on-site event manager is hired by either the client company (XYZ Pharmaceuticals) or the event planning company (ABC Event Planning Company).
The company pays for the on-site manager's airline ticket, hotel, day rate, and per diem.
The event manager usually arrives a few days prior to the start of the event or meeting, to begin to finalize the details and get everything set up.
On-site managers are usually assigned a specific "area" of responsibility at the meeting or event, and take that assignment on as their own. The event planner gives the event manager all the details that she has organized up to that point, and entrusts the event manager to take it over from there. The on-site manager is then in charge of making decisions regarding issues that affect his or her area, and managing every last detail for her particular assignment.
However, on-site managers usually have a few extra traits (in addition to the event planner personality checklist) that make them a good fit for becoming an on-site event manager.
It is a unique lifestyle, so be honest with yourself when deciding if this sounds like you!
On-site event managers usually:
Work well both as a team and individually, since your responsibilities change minute-by-minute.
Are extremely flexible and can "go with the flow," since things change minute-by-minute.
Are independent and "free spirited" by nature.
Have a hard time understanding why anyone would spend their entire life in a cubicle.
Have a "work hard, play hard" attitude toward life.
Above all else, you absolutely, positively, must possess the ability to be very customer service oriented!! This entire job is all about customer service. Nothing is too petty or "beneath you" to do, as long as it is for the greater good, which is a great event.
Event managers must be able to make split-second decisions on behalf of the client, and find the most economical and logical solution to any number of unforeseen problems. An event manager must feel comfortable making decisions, handling problems, and serving the client and attendees above all else.
Since you work anywhere from 6 - 30 (or more) meetings or events a year (depending on your financial needs), you get to learn every aspect of event planning.
You get to see first-hand the implications of either great planning or poor planning on an event when it goes live on-site. You get to see what happens when certain details fall through the cracks, and how to prevent such mistakes.
You get to learn the "ins and outs" of event planning, and see how every aspect affects the other. For example, you can learn about "traffic flow" for a function from a book, but you won't really understand it until you see it done well (or not so well) on-site.
Instead of learning only one way to do things from from one person or one company, you get to see how different planners do things differently (or similarly) and why; as well as what works and what doesn't.
If you treat this career step as your internship, and learn everything you can, you can easily be planning your own events within a year or two!
Can this be a career path in itself?
Absolutely! Many on-site event managers fall in love with the job and never move on to being a planner. Being a planner takes a lot of work - a LOT of work - day in, day out, for months on end. On-site event managers work very hard while they are on the event, but it usually only lasts for a week at a time. Then they get to go home or fly off to the next event.
What are the perks?
For the right person, being an on-site manager is addicting:
Event managers get to fly in, never having heard of this event or meeting before, learn the specs, do their job, then fly home or on to the next project. If you have a few weeks off between programs, you do not go into an office, you don't report to work at all!
You only work when you're on the road. There isn't any "taking work home" or living for your job.
The obvious reason: all-expense paid travel to incredible destinations all over the world.
Sometimes you stay in mid-range airport hotels; other times you are staying at world-renowned five-star hotels and resorts.The travel and working events are the reason most people become on-site event managers; but they stay because of the freedom!
Ok...what's the catch?
There are, of course, a few drawbacks to being an on-site event manager (nothing can be perfect, after all!). Here are some things to seriously consider if you think event management might be for you:
On-site event managers, by definition, work on-site. That means that as much as you need to work to pay the bills, you will be gone from home. This is not the ideal job for people who are married or have children (or other obligations); unless you can afford to just do a few trips now and then. If you need to work full-time to pay the bills, you can plan on anywhere from 150 - 250 days per year on the road.
On-site event managers work very, very hard when they are on-site. Days are very long; a 15-hour day is extremely typical, and an 18-hour day is not unheard of. A short day, however, is! You must have stamina and be willing to work long days.
Working as an independent contractor (in any industry) is very difficult, especially at the beginning when you are building up your clientele. You might have three months straight of work; then go two months without any at all. You must be able to budget well and plan for the dry seasons.
Travel, while it sounds glamorous, can get exhausting. It is not easy being away from home so much, eating hotel food, sleeping in hotel beds, going through airport security for the fourth time that week. Only you know if you and your body can handle different environments, being away from home, crazy schedules and time changes.
However, if you realize that every career choice has its drawbacks, and you feel these are small prices to pay for a job traveling the world and managing events, then being an on-site event manager is for you!
GREAT! How do I get started?
Just like with anything, there are certain things that you need to learn in order to become an on-site event manager. The learning curve is amazingly small, however; most companies will hire you more on your personality and ability to solve problems and stay customer-service minded. But you do need to know some of the basics of the on-site event management industry.
The first step is to order my eBook, "Travel and Get Paid for It!" For the price of an evening out, you can learn, step by step, how to begin the most exciting career you could imagine. Some online courses charge $800, or even $1500...my eBook is only $37.
Plus you get a free bonus that, in itself, is nearly priceless.....a guide on how to write resumes, cover letters, and how to get in the door, to land your travel directing job.
Your second step is to sign up for my free online newsletter, which will further assist you and guide you in your learning process. It also will highlight an occasional "story from the road," to give you an idea of what it's REALLY like to work on-site for meetings and events!
A FREE ezine and a FREE bonus? Sign me up!
To my knowledge, there is no other website that gives you such an in-depth look at how to break into the world of meetings, incentives, and events; and the ezine will take your knowledge to another level. So sign up now!
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