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What an event planner does and how to become a great one 10 min read
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Event planning sounds like a lot of fun on the surface — picking a theme, getting creative, being hands-on.

But anyone who’s actually done some real event planning knows that the complications and technical aspects of the job present a significant challenge.

Add in constant changes, managing multiple teams, and an extremely demanding client here and there, and the exciting prospect of becoming an event planner may seem overwhelming.

Thankfully, project management software exists to bring everything together in one place and make event coordination a whole lot smoother.

If you’re thinking about becoming an event planner, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to list our practical steps to utilizing project management software to make even planning simpler and more rewarding.

What does an event planner do?

So, you wanna be an event planner?

That’s great! The job is exciting, dynamic, and rewarding — both in terms of experience as well as salary expectations.

As you can imagine, the particulars of the job vary broadly depending on what kind of events the planner will be managing and for whom.

You can be a corporate event manager organizing special business operations, a meeting and convention planner, a party planner, the more specialized wedding planner, or simply a freelance event planner taking on all of the above and more.

While the most hectic and demanding experiences of an event planner typically happen on the day of the event, the vast majority of the actual work is undertaken in advance.

What does this include, exactly?

The broad outline of an event planner’s duties include the following:

  • Liaising with the client to flesh out the scope and outline of the proposed event
  • Scouting locations and venues that match the specific needs of the client
  • Negotiating with and booking the venue and all proposed vendors for event-related catering and entertainment
  • Managing event logistics to ensure everything is in place for the event to run as planned
  • Taking care of vendor payment and performing crisis management on the day of the event
Event planning network of people

You may be wondering: do you need a specialized degree, educational background, or specific qualifications to be an event planner?

The answer to this question varies based on what kind of events you plan to manage.

A hospitality degree will be necessary for most corporate or governmental event planning positions, but educational backgrounds in PR, communications, or an equivalent are also suitable.

And for specialized event planning like wedding planning, certain associations offer courses and qualifications to become a certified planner in that industry.

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper look into the typical format of event planning strategy, which applies to all industries across the space.

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What is the event planning process?

In theory, it shouldn’t matter if it’s a wedding, sweet 16 party, corporate retreat, or Gatsby-level ball. A good event planner will have a reliable workflow and set of processes to ensure a successful event every time.

Typically that event planning process looks like this:

1. Planning/Research

Based on the client’s brief, the planner will take to the internet and their trusted network of venues, vendors, and suppliers to suggest a budget and structure for the event.

It may involve making calls, placing holding deposits for venues, and going back-and-forth with the client to understand their goals better.

2. Design

With the preliminary research complete, the planner must submit a finalized proposal for the event to the client, with all vendors and suppliers selected and the structure of the day outlined for approval.

3. Operations

This stage is where the logistical skills of the planner will be put to use.

Planners will need to arrange for all involved parties to coordinate their schedules and get any necessary equipment ready for the day of the event. They will also need to carry out any safety checks that are required.

This is also where planners should confirm with event stakeholders that all appropriate permissions have been granted. event planning dashboard

4. Execution

Then, it’s go time. Planners are typically on-site on event day to manage vendors, venue hosts, and general event coordination.

They should also have contingency plans ready to execute in case something goes wrong or an emergency occurs.

5. Evaluation

A great event planner will compare the event’s effectiveness to the proposals drafted in the planning and research phase to understand what they got right and how they can improve for the next event.

It’s also a good opportunity to assess the quality and reliability of selected venues and vendors.

What is event planning software?

What if you could offload all the administrative, communicative, and downright tedious work of event planning to specialized software solutions?

It certainly won’t do everything for you, but having a central hub to direct your workflow, act as a communication center, document storage solution, and even an event registration management system would be a great help.

And that’s exactly why many event planners turn to project management software to conduct event planning tasks.

While not specifically designed for event planning, many PM software solutions are configurable to any workflow thanks to endless customizations and flexible templates.

Managing events using software can create new efficiencies in an event planner’s day-to-day work, as features like automations and integrations can shoulder some of the administrative burdens.

Annual conference planning dashboard

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Benefits of event planning software

Here are just a few of the hidden benefits of using project management software as an event planning tool.

Greater organization

Instead of your event plan and all supporting materials being distributed across different platforms like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and even physical notepads, project management software centralizes it all in one place.

This allows planners to bring a new level of organization to their work, as they can view the broader scale of an event in a single glance and zoom in on the particulars in one digital workspace.

Collaboration tools

Project management software is built to connect companies, departments, and individual team members together so they can coordinate effectively — even when working remotely.

Timeline management

An event is essentially a series of well-timed and regulated micro-events.

For example, in a wedding, the structure is bride/groom prep, ceremony, pictures, first dance, speeches, dinner, and cake cutting.

As each event — even weddings — are structured differently, it’s incredibly valuable for a planner to have a timeline visualization tool. PM platforms have this feature and allow planners to edit on the fly to ensure a smooth event structure.

How to improve event planning with software

As you probably understand right now, an event planner with a capable project management tool is always going to have a competitive edge over those without one.

But even within these tools, some features and functionalities can make event planning easier, more efficient, and more effective.

Here are a few of the features to look out for in your event planning software tool that will achieve exactly that.

Oversee event registration easily

The quality of an event will always be primarily evaluated by its attendants.

Nailing the event registration process is a great way to ensure glowing reviews.

It’s also an opportunity to collect feedback and data from guests with which you can run better and more effective events in the future and develop a list of people to market your next event toward.

Ensure your event planning software allows you to design and distribute guest registration forms, where the data gathered can be collated and stored in the platform for later analysis. customizable forms

The Work OS might be the perfect event planning digital workstation.

With it, you can create and share customizable forms in minutes to easily record attendance, distribute surveys, and track breakout sessions to get the full picture both before and after each event.

Plug the data back into smart dashboards to get a quick visual overview of event performance and create benchmarks for future show-stopping events. registration form on mobile

Coordinate all stakeholders with a centralized workflow

Being a people person is definitely up there as one of the top skills of an event planner.

The number of people you have to deal with, from industry professionals to entertainers, corporate clients to drunken guests, may be a little overwhelming when undertaken from your phone.

So, switch your phone to silent and connect everyone to a central hub where you can design intricate event workflows, share designs and important files and documents with your clients, coordinate vendors, and much more.

If the software is flexible enough, you should be able to design an event management system that complements your exact preferences when bringing life to events. flexible workflow design

Connect between design, operations, sales, and every other event stakeholder imaginable in a centralized workflow.

Whether you’re planning a breakfast meeting or a conference, rest assured that everything will run smoothly on the big day.

In, connecting vendors with clients, venue owners with vendors, and yourself with everyone involved is as easy as dragging and dropping.

Manage ongoing events in real-time

Now that event day is upon you, it’s time to put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done, right?

Well, not quite yet.

When done manually, the day of the event will probably be your most stressful day.

You need to welcome guests appropriately, coordinate any speaker or entertainment phases, monitor events for emergencies and changes, and do it all with a smile on your face and a pep in your step.

But with intelligent tools that have advanced workflow features like automations, you can allow the software to do some of the work for you while you catch a quick 15-minute break. automations automations allow you to configure custom recipes for pretty much anything.  

From automatically sending out welcome messages to attendees to easily coordinating live Q&A sessions, monitor your event as it unfolds, and keep your entire team informed in real-time.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

This old saying holds true in event planning.

However, an updated version might say, “failure to invest in a robust project management software solution as an event planner is planning to fail,” but that’s not quite as catchy.

Don’t miss out on the opportunities these software solutions can offer you as an event planner.

Level up your planning game with optimized workflows, nifty communication integrations, and automations that can do the heavy lifting while you charm clients for another perfect review.

Get started with our ready-made event management template, and try us out for free for 14-days — no credit card needed.

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