Event Management Essay Topics

This paper will take a comprehensive look at the field of event management, creating a profile of the growth of the event management industry as well as the outlook. It will also review some of the wide range of event types such as meetings, seminars, receptions and conventions. In the process, it will present an illustration of the strategies employed in the development of these types of events.

Keywords: Citywide; Convention; Event Planner; Meetings; Networking; Reception; Seminar

Overview

In 1969, four young men decided to invest one of the men's wealth into the creation of a recording studio and musician's retreat in upstate New York. Over time, that idea evolved into presenting a concert whose ticket proceeds would generate money for their institution. The notion was originally for a venue for about 50,000. While the idea seemed reasonable on the surface, the event quickly spiraled out of control. The towns in which the organizers sought to hold the event declined (and even banned) the concert planners the opportunity to host it within their town limits. The organizers had constant issues with vendors and other aspects of the event. Furthermore, the 50,000 expected attendees quickly spiraled into nearly 500,000. The concert festival went on, and at the end, the organizers were faced with 70 lawsuits and over a million dollars in debt. Yet, the Woodstock music festival became etched in American history (Rosenberg, 2009).

A look at Woodstock provides a glimpse into the complex and challenging industry known as event management. The creation, organization and implementation of any major event are an intricate undertaking, requiring the interconnection of a myriad of moving parts. In the modern 21st century business marketplace, however, it is also a vital component to a company's ability to project itself among its clients, employees and the general public.

This paper will take a comprehensive look at the field of event management, creating a profile of the growth of the event management industry as well as the outlook. It will also review some of the wide range of event types such as meetings, seminars, receptions and conventions. In the process, it will present an illustration of the strategies employed in the development of these types of events.

Planning Business Events

The development of such events as meetings, conventions, receptions and similar events requires a great deal of strategic planning. At the very base of the process is a simple question: In what way does the organization wish to convey a message or make an impression? Companies and corporations have certain goals as well as codes of professional behavior that project a certain image. Meeting planners will need to converse with the group to understand the manner in which the company wishes to present the program (as well as the budget used to meet this framework). Doing so assists the planner in proceeding according to a set of general guidelines.

This foundation helps the event planner choose the appropriate venue and build the program. At the next level, the event planner will locate the proper site for the event to take place. The venue may be a hotel, reception room, convention hall, conference room, or private room at a restaurant or a similar location. Understanding the event parameters will also enable the planner to determine the type of facilities that will be necessary for the event to proceed successfully; such as booth space, audio/visual technologies, computer capabilities and transportation resources.

The next phase in the planning of the event is the communications step. The planner will coordinate a public relations outreach about the event, in order to entice attendee participation. Although formal, paper invitations are also sent out to potential participants, e-mail invitations often represent an optimal vehicle for quick information distribution to a wide audience. This important step may also help the planner gauge the number of participants that plan to attend. As a result, the event planning process, including the date of the reception or meeting as well as the venue, may be altered to account for any change in numbers.

Concurrent with the communications are the logistical planning elements. In this arena, the planner will determine the application of relevant technology and lighting, room setup, staffing and labor, food and/or cocktail menus, vendors, check-in tables and booth configuration. The event planner will, at this stage, work consistently as a communications hub for the client and the venue staff to ensure that each detail is given attention and, where necessary, altered to meet the needs of the client. The planner will also work with the client to ensure that contracts are developed and signed so that there are no disruptions in the event's development phases.

Finally, the event itself demands careful management. The planner and the client will work to ensure that there are no last-minute issues with vendors or food, that the equipment is operating properly and all audio-visual presentation materials are prepared for the program, that signs and decorations are appropriately posted, that attendees are seated in the proper seats and that transportation to and from the event for guests is operating smoothly. The execution of the event is often just as complex as the event planning stages. In fact, given the heightened atmosphere and the fact that there is no more time to revise the program, it is arguably the most intense and emotionally draining stage of the event management process.

As demonstrated above, the field of event management requires that those who work within it manifest a number of important personal and professional qualifications. For example, an event manager must be able to handle multiple tasks in often intense environments. He or she must also demonstrate exceptional diplomatic skills, which are called into service when dealing with higher-level clients during both the development and implementation phases. Event managers must also be able to quickly comprehend the client's corporate philosophy, since the event will be a reflection of that ideology.

In light of the nature of the work performed in the field of event management, it is useful to next analyze the industry itself and how it operates.

Further Insights

The Event Management Industry

Event management spans across a broad range of industries and therefore, each manifestation is distinct. In many cases, the event management aspect of a company's activities is handled internally, either by an on-site event manager or by personnel who handle other tasks in addition to organizing such meetings. Then again, the event management industry continues to thrive in industrialized nations around the world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 51,000 event planners in the United States in 2006. 39 percent of those jobs were held by those who worked in corporate and convention planning companies, while 27 worked in civic, religious or professional organizations. The BLS forecasts a 20 percent increase in the workforce in this industry over a 10-year period, a significant growth in comparison to other...

As per the course requirement, we have undergone the process of planning an international music event. While the whole process was a simulation, we could still realize the challenges and excitements that an event manager faces in his/her career.

At the first phase of the project, groups were formed following Belbin’s Theory (West, 2004). Belbin proposed a model that specifies the aspects of an individual’s personality, i.e. strength and weakness that he/she shows in workplace. According to the model, there are nine roles an individual can play within a group. These roles are: Plant, Resource investigator, Coordinator, Shaper, Monitor evaluator, Team worker, Implementer, Completer finisher, and Specialist. I was chosen to play the role of Team worker within my group. My core responsibilities were to carry out the instructions given by the team leader and cooperate with others on every stage of the event simulation planning.

As we have experienced, the planning of an event, especially an international music gig is a complex process. There are a number of factors that need to be considered along the way and the event itself has multifaceted impact on the society, environment, and culture. However, this experience was immensely valuable considering my event management as my future career choice as it has given me a better understanding about the procedure and the real life drill of an event really helped me to realize how to work in a team and synergize all the tasks with others that are needed to execute a musical event successfully. However, as the course instructor promised us at the beginning of the course, I also came to realize that event management is pure fun.

Planning an international musical event involves different aspects of the even including the financial planning, rules and regulations, possible impact on the local community, staff management, branding of the performers, sponsorship and so on.

Different scholars attempted to define Event in different ways. Getz (1993) gave the minimalist definition of ‘themed public celebration’, which was further elaborated by Douglas et al. (2001) as events are ‘for people to come together to celebrate, to demonstrate, to worship, to honour, to remember, to socialise’. From this list of public purposes, events look like modern day rituals which were reflected by the definition given by McDonnell et al. (1999) where they argued that events are specific rituals or celebrations that are planned and created to mark any special occasion. Goldblatt (1997) gave a much simpler definition as he said that an event is a ‘unique moment in time celebrated with ceremony and ritual to satisfy specific needs’.

In my experience of working with this group, the first thing I realized about what an ‘event’ is that an event is not just an occasion where people come together, get entertained and go back to home. An event is much more than that. An international music festival has the power to change a small, relatively unknown town in the corner of the country into one of the most celebrated destination. If planned and executed properly, a big event has the capabilities to transform a place and the lives of the people in the community. It is, unfortunately, equally true that same applies on the negative side if an event is poorly managed and executed.

The planning and organization of an event requires the formation of a working team, as we were formed into teams. This team acted as a temporary organization where the role and responsibilities of each member were specified. According to Slack and Parent (2006), organizational framework or structure may have three dimensions:

_Formalisation:_ refers to the degree to which the rules and regulations, strategies, and individual and team roles guide the activities of the team.

_Complexity:_ the inner structure of the event management team with the hierarchy and authoritative system.

_Centralisation:_ the degree to which an individual exercises his/her role as the decision maker of the even management team.

Since our project was a drill, while the two aspects of an event management organization were noticeable (Formalisation and Centralisation), the third element, Complexity was not strongly present since the team was not very hierarchical. However, we followed the formal procedure and showed respect to the laws and regulations while we planned the event. In addition to that, we followed the policies mentioned during the course lectures to determine different aspects of the event such as financial planning, impact management, staff and volunteer management, environmental and political effect and so on.

Event planning and management always requires team effort, regardless of the size or range of the event. Hence, there has to be a member of the team who plays the role of facilitator to guide the knowledge and resource sharing process. The facilitator is not exactly the team leader. Bens (2000, p.7) asserted that facilitation is ‘a way of providing leadership without taking the reigns’. In our group, different members played the role of facilitator at different stages.

I observed the roles they played and learned how to disperse organizational knowledge for a better performing team. According to facilitation theory, learning within a team occurs with the help of the facilitator, not simply by someone who provides knowledge to the group (Lambert and Glacken, 2005). My personal experience confirmed this theory since I have experienced that personal knowledge can add little value to a group unless it is fairly disseminated and discussed by the other members within the group.

If I look back at my experience of the group work; this will be my primary takeaway that I have learned the importance of facilitating ideas and knowledge among the group members and in future I will be aware of applying this knowledge in my career as an Event manager. Even if I don’t end up to be an event manager, this learning will help me to become better as a social being and as an individual. As an event manager, I will focus on the decentralisation of power and letting other assume responsibility and take the lead when necessary. It is sometimes better to play the labour and sometimes play the leader.

Performance of a team is determined by the participation and effort given by each member. The team leader or the event manager plays the role of the ‘director of performance’ (Vidal, 2004). He synchronizes individual performances and creates synergy among the group members and specific functional departments while he enjoys working creatively and collectively with the aim of achieving certain objectives (Vidal, 2004, p. 394). Hence, I realized the nature of the work of an event manager and I am now more attracted to pursue a career in event management than before.

The event management industry is embodied with a number of challenges that every event management effort has to endure. The biggest challenge is to ensure financial viability. The economy is yet to recover from the recession completely and it is still very difficult to organize a profitable event. As Smith et al. (2010) addressed, allocating the limited resources of an event effectively has become more critical than ever. For our group as well, financial consideration posed tremendous challenges and I realized that the skills I have acquired regarding event budgeting will be particularly helpful in future.

Another area of difficulty was the impact analysis and contingency planning. Every event has several possible positive and negative impacts on the local society, environment, governance, and politics to some extent. Maximizing positive impact and reducing negative impact requires intelligent strategic decisions and planning. This was another learning outcome for me from the experience.

However, there were a few places where I identified shortcomings in terms of group performance or my individual performance. First of all, effective communication among the group members was an issue. Every individual is different and we were formed into a group with people with different personalities. Also, there was no elected leader or director of the group. Hence, in the beginning it was a bit difficult to ensure effective communication which led to some confusion and inefficiency. As Greenberg (2002, p.217) explained that communication is the process of sending and receiving information, it requires the meaningful coding and decoding from the both end.

Another shortcoming of the exercise was that we could not specifically measure the impact of the event on the community. Actually, unless the event takes place in real life, it is difficult to say whether it would be received well by host communities or not. Though I had the experience of planning an event with a team, without the experience of executing the plan, it is always incomplete.

However, this was a very enjoyable and valuable journey. The experience will add values to my character as an individual and will help me to become a better event manager in future, if I pursue this career for myself. However, even if I don’t end up to be an event manager, this experience will remind me about the values of working in synergy to produce positive results. For me, that was the significance of the whole experience.

_REFERENCES:_

West, M. A. (2004). _Effective teamwork: practical lessons from organizational research_ (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: BPS Blackwell.

Getz, D. (1993). Corporate culture in not-for-profit festival organisations: concepts and potential applications. _Festival Management and Event Tourism_, 1, 11-17.

Douglas, N., Douglas, N. and Derrett, R. (eds) (2001). _Special Interest Tourism_, p. 356. John Wiley and Sons.

Goldblatt, J. (1997). _Special Events – Best Practices in Modern Event Management_. John Wiley and Sons.

McDonnell, I., Allen, J. and O’Toole, W. (1999). _Festival and Special Event Management_. John Wiley and Sons.

Vidal, R. (2004). The vision conference: Facilitating creative processes. _Systemic Practice and Action Research_, 17(5), p. 385 – 405.

Slack, T. and Parent, M.(2006). _Understanding sport organizations: The application of organization theory_ (2nd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Bens, I. (2000). _Facilitating with ease: A step-by-step guidebook_. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lambert, V. and Glacken, M. (2005). Clinical education facilitators: A literature review. _Journal of Clinical Nursing_, 1(4), 664 – 673.

Rogers, C. and Friedberg, H.J. (1994) . _Freedom to learn_. New York: Merril, Macmillan College Publishing.

Greenberg, J. ( 2002). _Managing behaviour in organizations_. New Jersey, NY: Prentice Hall.

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