Event planning is one of the rare jobs where no two days are the same. Each event an event planner organizes can be vastly different. This is what makes event planning one of the world’s most stressful jobs. But this got us thinking, how could we best describe a ‘typical’ day in an event planner’s life… if there were no typical days?
We conducted a survey specifically for event planners to try to get an inside look into their busy lives. The findings were very interesting, so continue reading for an exclusive look at an event planner’s world along with some other fun industry facts.
Before The Event
Other names for event planners
First things first, event planners go by many names. Our survey came back with several different job titles for event planners, including:
- Event organizer
- Meeting planner
- Conference planner
- Meetings coordinator
- Event specialist
- Event designer
- Senior event planner
- Director of meetings
- Director of special events
While there are likely many more names for event planners, the above list includes the majority of the names we gathered in this particular survey.
So much to do, so little time
Based on our survey, we found that event planners plan an average of five to nine events per year. These events can take anywhere from two days to an entire month to plan depending on the size. And during this month of planning an event, over 42% of planner’s are working 15 to 20 hour days! As a result, over half of the event planners surveyed are only getting an average of five hours or sleep during the event planning process.
Finding the right venue
When it comes to choosing a venue to hold an event, event planners have it pretty tough. There are so many options to choose from, with many varying factors to consider. However, when it comes to deciding factors, 47% of event planners listed cost as most important, and 43% saying location is most important. While those are pretty obvious deciding factors, we were surprised to find that a whopping 74% of event planners said that diverse culinary offerings were important when selecting a meeting venue.
Speaking of location – did you know Canada was chosen as the top international location to hold an event by North American event planners?
During The Event
Event day chaos
According to the event planners we talked to, an event typically lasts three days. During these three days, event planners are in the eye of the storm. This is when they are at the peak of their stress levels, with 45% of them reporting they only get an average of three hours of sleep per night. Part of why event planners lose sleep during the event is that there is usually only one or two dedicated event staff per event. And on top of that, this singular event planner is responsible for juggling anywhere from five to ten vendors at their events.
Activities for attendees
You may wonder how an event planner chooses which activities to include at an event. Based on our survey, it’s all about choosing activities that inspire connections. That’s why 48% of planners include a team building activity, and 47% include golf. While this isn’t an activity, I’m sure you can guess what the most highly requested amenity is at an event… free WiFi!
Fun Fact: 66% of event planners rely on caffeine to get them through the day of the event.
After The Event
Time to relax
Once the event is over, event planners can relax, right? Not so fast — most event planners report that planning for their next event starts a week or less after the last one! This is because most event planners have to book large meetings more than three years in advance, and smaller meetings more than six months in advance. During the minimal downtime event planners have, we asked how they like to spend it.
Our survey results showed:
- 48% unwind with room service and a movie
- 39% relax at the beach
- 20% take a ‘staycation’ or have a spa day
- 20% catch up with family and friends
- 16% get active and back into a healthy routine
The future of events
The meetings and events industry is huge, and continuing to grow every year. There are over 1.7 million Americans working in the meetings and events industry today, and at the time we conducted this survey, event planner was the ninth top job in North America.
Fun Fact: Many event planners are furthering their education specifically on mobile apps and social media.
We knew event planners had a tough job, and that every day on the job was different. But we never knew just how different each day could be. This survey gave us an even bigger appreciation for our hardworking event planner friends, and we hope you enjoyed this exclusive look at the busy life of an event planner.