Corporate event planner: what skills should they have and why hire one?

Lalla Baryala

Many companies try to manage their events on their own to save on hiring a corporate event planner — this is a mistake. A truly successful event is not easy to achieve. It is not only about setting a goal, selecting a suitable date and place, looking for service providers, managing invitations and making things work out on the day of the event; it’s also about creativity and details in all phases of the process. These are the core skills of an expert corporate event planner.

Organizing an event requires time, focus, research, resource management (especially budgeting), logistics, negotiation skills and knowledge in the field that most company personnel simply do not have. In fact, these qualities can only be found in people who organise many annual events. Possessing these skills makes the difference between a flavourless and unimpressive event that doesn’t achieve its goals and a stylish one that lasts in the memory of attendees.

Do you need a corporate event planner? Let’s take a look.

If you are planning to organise an event, and you are not sure if hiring a corporate event planner is a good idea or not, ask yourself this series of questions to help you reflect on whether you really need one.

1. Do you have the time and human resources to devote to organising the event?

An event requires a lot of time (weeks, or even months) to design, plan and deliver, and companies usually cannot allocate personnel, who already have their own work, to these tasks. If you don’t have time to handle all the details of organising an event, resorting to external help is usually the best option.

2. Are you sure you can offer the creative approach necessary for success?

Making a corporate event successful and impeccably executed for a first-class experience is usually a key priority for a company, because its image and goals are contingent upon it. If you do not have the inspiration, creativity and experience for its design, you likely won’t be able to deliver. In fact, this is the most fun part for a corporate event planner, so they will put all their passion into it.

3. Are you sure you can define the goals of the event without help?

An impeccable and professionally executed event starts from a clear and measurable goal. A corporate event planner is well-versed in discussing the KPI and ROI with the host to help define and deliver success.

4. . Do you have sufficient knowledge about event venues?

The venue where the event will be held can account for nearly half its success, and you simply cannot resort to a Google search to assess your options. Online you’ll only find the same hotels, conference rooms and entertainment options as other companies, so there’s no chance of designing a unique event.

There are many places that most people do not know are available for events, as these are only accessible to corporate event planners whose select list of suppliers and skills equip them with the ability to provide unique experiences.

5. Do you have a portfolio of suitable suppliers for the best services?

An event can be planned without having a large portfolio of high-end contacts in the hospitality sector, but your negotiating capacity will be very limited. A corporate event planner has a daily relationship with suppliers of all kinds that offer perks and discounts for groups, as well as first-hand feedback on the quality of the services they offer and a greater ability to work out every detail.

6. Are you familiar with the legal procedures and logistics necessary in an event?

An event, which usually requires travel and even staying the night somewhere else, involves legal and logistical challenges, especially if it takes place in another country. The company is responsible for compiling the required documentation for participants, issuing visas and booking tickets, transfers and hotels. This requires high organisational skills, time and contacts to avoid running into obstacles.

If you do not have a qualified person assigned to these tasks, it is best to resort to a corporate event planner.

7. Even if you have a team dedicated to an event, are you sure you don’t need support?

There are companies that have an HR and/or PR team but still resort to a corporate event planner to help plan and deliver a successful event. Whether offering a consulting service, providing their portfolio of suppliers, helping to develop the idea and concept or even designing and planning, a creative and experienced event planner can be a strategic partner for company staff, freeing them up to execute the event on the day.

An external partner helps to select venues, recommend dates, propose food and beverage options, choose speakers and entertainment alternatives and be there on the day of the event to manage the welcome and resolve any production needs that may arise.

Choosing a corporate event planner: 5 skills to look for

Once you have concluded that you may need to hire a corporate event planner to support you in the planning and execution of an event, you may wonder how to choose the most appropriate one. What makes a corporate event planner a good one? Although there is no magic formula or specific guidelines for choosing them, there are 5 key skills to consider when choosing a planner for an event.

Experience

Experienced corporate event planners are professionals with many events behind them, extensive knowledge of their work and a large portfolio of clients and suppliers. However, novice professionals also tend to have interesting skills, such as greater knowledge of new trends.

Problem-solving capacity

Improvisation does not usually work well in organising events. That is why a good event planner always has to have a plan B or C prepared for unforeseen events or setbacks. They can implement actions with a cool head and quick response, without giving in to pressure or stress.

Organizational skills

Negotiating a special rate for a business class flight or a special dinner space, being accountable to the client, proposing speakers and exploring catering options all at once is a natural skill that any corporate event planner must have.

Creativity

A good corporate event planner should have the ability to propose many ideas and then bring them to life. From a unique theme for a party to creating a minimalist and elegant catering on a tight budget, creative skills are crucial in event planning.

Attention to detail

Small details are what make the difference in an event. That is why a corporate event planner must be have an acute eye for what others miss, handling everything from the decoration on napkins to the Internet connection.

Good communicator (in different languages)

Corporate event planners must interact every day with a wide variety of people: hosts, brand sponsors, suppliers, collaborators, attendees, etc. This means that verbal and written communication skills are crucial for a professional in this field, transmitting information with clarity, respect and confidence.

Since many events are held outside the country of the host company, dominating the language of that country is essential too, as it fosters agreements with suppliers and streamlines procedures. In the case of the UAE, speaking Arabic, as Empirance Events does, opens many doors to negotiations that would otherwise be complicated, especially when selecting first-class venues.

The bottom line

As you have seen, there are many reasons to hire a corporate event planner and many things to consider when choosing one. At Empirance we are professionals in the sector with a creative and excellence-oriented approach, a large portfolio of high-end suppliers and headquarters in the UAE and Barcelona.

If you want to find out more about how we work, please contact us.