What Is Event Management?

Definition & Examples of Event Management

Man presenting to audience at a conference

Caiaimage / Agnieszka Olek / Getty Images

Event management involves overseeing all logistics leading up to and during an event, whether a conference, wedding, or any organized gathering. Event managers execute the event plans by managing staff, finances, vendor relationships, and more.

In the event planning profession, the job titles are as diverse and numerous as the services offered, and it can often be difficult to differentiate one from another. It can be challenging when preparing an event planning portfolio, looking for work, or working with a client who does not have the correct understanding of your job function and responsibilities. Learn more about what event management involves and whether it's right for you.

What Is Event Management?

Event management includes a variety of functions for executing large-scale events, which might include conferences, conventions, concerts, trade shows, festivals, and ceremonies. It involves handling the overall logistics of the event, working with staff, and conducting project management of the event as a whole.

Additional duties might include managing the budget and the teams of people responsible for each function, as well as overseeing the execution of the event. Event managers also supervise the services of all outside vendors and professionals, including event planners.

How Event Management Works

Specific responsibilities of an event manager might include:

  • Selecting and reserving venues
  • Coordinating outside vendors
  • Engaging speakers or entertainment
  • Arranging for transportation and parking
  • Obtaining necessary permits and appropriate insurance
  • Compliance with health and safety standards
  • Developing emergency contingency plans
  • Crisis and situation management at the event
  • Designing a security plan
  • Monitoring the event

This list is by no means exhaustive. Depending on the scope of the event and the other hired professionals, the job responsibilities may vary. Essentially, the event manager is responsible for coordinating all logistics needed for an event.

The Role of Event Management Services

Event management firms are frequently hired to plan and execute large-scale company meetings and special events. While weddings and concerts are common events for an event management professional, sporting events, reunions, and large parties are also occasions that can benefit from event management.

Government entities, nonprofits, associations, and corporations all utilize event management companies to coordinate important events and meetings. The event management function can often be found within a corporate marketing or public relations department or as part of their special events staffing.

Skills to Succeed

As with most event planning functions, event management requires excellent organizational skills to succeed. The ability to multitask and juggle many moving parts is essential and, along with that top-notch organization comes the need for efficient time-management skills.

Being able to prioritize and stay on task is what leads to a successful event. Event management requires seeing the vision for the event through to execution, which calls for persistence, creativity, and flexibility.

Because project management is a key element and involves managing not only functions but teams of people, interpersonal skills are also important. Interaction with individuals at all levels of an organization is part of the job, so being comfortable, personable, and a strong communicator will go a long way in developing those relationships.

Event Management vs. Event Planning

While very closely related, event management and event planning serve two different functions. In straightforward terms, event planners create the vision and many of the preliminary plans for an event, while managers execute the details before and during it.

That being said, event managers may also plan aspects of events, and event planners may manage certain components of the event planning process. The two work side by side, and their responsibilities may overlap. Many individuals may fulfill both roles, especially if they run their own business or work in a small event planning company. Still, the training and skills needed for each position is somewhat distinct.

Here are a few examples of some of the key differences:

Event Managers Event Planners
Making location reservations Choosing event theme and concept
Coordinating with vendors Selecting a venue
Hiring and managing staff Menu planning
On-site management during the event Arranging entertainment or guest speakers

Key Takeaways

  • Event management is the oversight of many administrative details for events such as conferences, festivals, or weddings.
  • An event manager works with staff and vendors to make sure the event is executed according to plan.
  • While event planners tend to work on the overall event concept, event managers deal with the details of its execution.
  • Event managers need to be organized, skilled with people, and flexible, among other things.