If you’re looking for a career that’s always exciting and full of new challenges, corporate event planning might be the perfect choice for you! But what is corporate event planning? What does a corporate planner do? And how do you become one?
Look no further, because we’re going to answer all of your questions – and give you a glimpse into what it’s like to have a career in this exciting field of the events industry!
Table of Content
What Is Corporate Event Planning? The Answer!
Corporate event planning is the process of organizing and executing events for businesses and organizations. These events can be anything from conferences and trade shows to holiday parties and team-building exercises.
What Does a Corporate Event Planner Do?
A corporate event planner is responsible for every aspect of a business event. This includes coming up with the initial concept and theme to booking the venue, coordinating logistics, and managing the budget. Additionally, they need to be great at multitasking and managing last-minute changes, as well as being able to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions when problems arise.
What Is The Meaning Of a Corporate Event?
A corporate event is any type of event that is organized and executed by a company or organization for their employees, clients, or shareholders. Corporate events can be large or small, internal or external, but they all have one goal in common: to support the business objectives of the company.
Internal vs. External Events
There are two types of events a corporate planner will work with:
- Internal events
- External events
Internal events are events that are organized for a company’s employees. Examples of common internal events include, but aren’t limited to:
- Employee recognition events
- Team building exercises
- Holiday parties
- Company retreats
External events are events that are organized for a company’s clients, customers, or other business partners. As a corporate event planner, external events you’d organize could include:
- Product launches
- Trade shows
- Networking events
Other Popular Types of Corporate Events
While the events we’ve listed above are some of the most common, there are many other types of corporate events a planner might be responsible for. A few other popular types of events include:
- Micro Events
- Macro Events
- Hybrid Events
Micro events are small-scale, internal events that are usually put together quickly and don’t require a lot of logistics or coordination. Examples of micro events include:
- Happy hours
- Coffee breaks
- Lunch and learns
As a result of micro events, a company can better build morale, improve employee engagement, and/or promote company culture.
Macro events are large-scale, external events that require a lot of planning and coordination. Moreover, they’re usually put on for the purpose of marketing or networking. A few examples of macro events include:
- Trade shows
- Product launches
As a corporate event planner, your client might hold macro events for the purposes of marketing their brand, product, or service.
Hybrid events are a mix of internal and external events. As such, they usually have both a business and a social purpose. A few examples of hybrid events include:
- Press conferences
- Cocktail parties
Typically, the business side of hybrid events is open to the public. On the other hand, the social aspect is invite-only.
Common Corporate Event Planning Jobs
There are many different types of corporate event planning jobs, each with their own set of responsibilities. Here are a few of the most common:
- Conference planner
- Trade show coordinator
- Meeting planner
- Event manager
- Event coordinator
This is just a small list, but in reality, there are many options to choose from. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a position that best fits your skills and interests.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Corporate Event Planner?
If you want to be a successful corporate event planner, you’ll need to have a mix of both hard and soft skills. For example, you should definitely:
- Have excellent communication skills
- Have strong organizational skills
- Possess the ability to work well under pressure
- Be creative
- Know how to problem-solve
- Know how to negotiate
Furthermore, it’s also helpful if you have:
- An understanding of event planning software
- Some experience with audio/visual equipment
- The ability to multitask
Does this sound like you? If so, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in corporate event planning in no time!
The Corporate Event Planning Salary
We’ll be honest, it’s impossible to tell you exactly how much you’ll make as a corporate event planner. After all, salaries can vary greatly depending on factors such as:
- The size of the company you work for
- Whether you own and operate your own business
- Your level of experience
- Your professional qualifications
- The location of the business
- The demand for corporate event planning services in your area
- Your local competition
- How well you’re marketing your business to your target clientele, etc.
That said, in the United States, corporate planners tend to make between approx. $54,500 USD to $73,400 USD per year. Similarly, if you’re a corporate planner living in Canada, you can expect to earn an annual income between approx. $35,000 CAD to $81,000 CAD.
Do Corporate Planners Charge By Hour or By Event?
This is another question with no easy answer. In short, it depends on the corporate event planner. Some planners charge by the hour for their services, while others charge a flat fee for each event they plan. Furthermore, there are also some planners who charge a combination of both hourly rates and flat fees.
How Much Do Corporate Event Planners Charge Per Hour?
The average hourly rate for corporate planners ranges from $50 USD to $250 USD per hour. However, as we mentioned before, rates can vary greatly depending on factors such as the planner’s level of experience and the location of their business.
Benefits Of Charging By The Hour
There are a few benefits of charging by the hour, including:
- You can adjust your rates as you gain more experience.
- You’re able to offer discounts to clients who book multiple events.
- It’s easier to keep track of your time and expenses.
Drawbacks Of Charging By The Hour
Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to charging by the hour, such as:
- You might feel like you’re working for free if an event runs over schedule.
- The client may feel like they’re being nickel and dimed.
- It’s harder to give a clear estimate of your total fees upfront.
How Much Do Corporate Event Planners Charge Per Event?
The average flat fee for corporate event planners ranges from $500 USD to $5000 USD. However, as we mentioned before, rates can vary greatly depending on factors such as the planner’s level of experience and the location of their business.
Benefits Of Charging By The Event
There are a few benefits of charging by the event, including:
- You’re able to give the client a clear estimate of your total fees upfront.
- The client knows exactly how much they’ll need to budget for your services.
- You’re not penalized if an event runs over schedule.
Drawbacks Of Charging By The Event
Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to charging by the event, such as:
- If an event is cancelled, you still need to be paid.
- The client may feel like they’re overpaying if the event goes smoothly.
- You might not be able to adjust your rates for more complex events.
So, Which Pricing Model Is Right For You?
Honestly, only you can decide this. At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is that there’s no right or wrong way to charge for your services. That said, what’s most important is that you find a pricing structure that works well for both you and your clients.
How Do You Become a Corporate Planner: Do You Need To Be Certified?
In short, the answer is no. Technically, there is no legal requirement for corporate event planners to be certified. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip this critical step! In fact, foregoing professional training can be incredibly damaging to your long-term success.
- When you become certified, you’re able to demonstrate to potential clients that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to plan successful events.
- A certification gives you credibility and can help you stand out from the competition.
- Earning a certification can help you network with other professionals in your field.
It can also lead to higher paying jobs and more opportunities for career growth.
So, while you technically don’t need to be certified to work as a corporate event planner, we highly recommend pursuing professional training all the same. Not only will it give you an edge over the competition; it’ll also help you build a successful career in this exciting industry!
PRO TIP: If you’re interested in becoming a certified corporate event planner, we recommend checking out QC Event School‘s self-paced, online Corporate Event Planning Course. In as little as 3 short months, you can add a globally-recognized International Corporate Event Planning Professional™ (ICPP®) certification + designation to your resume… And start your career off right!
What Are The 10 Steps Involved in Planning a Corporate Event?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is corporate event planning?” it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at what this job entails. Here’s a quick overview of the ten steps involved in planning a corporate event:
Step 1: Define the purpose of the event
The first step in planning any event is to figure out what the event is for. What’s the purpose? What are you trying to achieve? Also, what is the end goal?
Once you have a clear understanding of the event’s purpose, you can start making decisions about things like the guest list, the venue, and the overall tone of the event.
Step 2: Set a budget
The next step is to set a budget. How much money do you have to work with? What are your spending limits?
It’s important to have a clear understanding of your budget from the start. Otherwise, you might end up planning an event that’s too expensive or one that doesn’t meet the needs of your guests.
Step 3: Choose a date and venue
After you’ve figured out the purpose of the event and set a budget, it’s time to start thinking about logistics. What date will the event be held? Where will it take place?
Even for the most experienced planners, choosing a date and venue can be tricky. After all, there are a lot of factors to consider – such as the availability of the venue, the cost of renting the space, and whether or not the venue is accessible for all guests.
So, make sure to do thorough research and ask a lot of questions before making your final decision!
Step 4: Develop a theme or concept
Now it’s time to start getting creative! What theme or concept will you use to guide the planning of the event?
Your theme should be reflective of the event’s purpose. For example, if you’re planning a corporate retreat, you might want to choose a theme that promotes team building and bonding.
Once you’ve settled on a theme, you can start working on things like the decor, the menu, and the entertainment.
Step 5: Create an event program
An event program is a detailed outline of the event, including the order of events, the speakers or entertainment for each part of the event, and any other important information.
Creating an event program may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually one of the most important steps in the planning process. That’s because the event program will be your roadmap for the big day – so, you want to make sure it’s complete and accurate!
Step 6: Book speakers, performers, and other entertainment
If your event program includes any speakers, performers, or other forms of entertainment, now is the time to book them!
Make sure to book your entertainment well in advance – especially if you’re working with big names or popular acts. The last thing you want is to be left scrambling at the last minute because your first choice was already booked solid.
Step 7: Arrange for transportation and accommodation
Next, if your event is going to require transportation and accommodation for guests, now is the time to start making arrangements. Start by getting quotes from different transportation companies and hotels in the area.
Then, compare the costs and services to find the best option for your event. Once you’ve made your decision, be sure to confirm the details with the transportation company and hotel.
Step 8: Manage logistics
There are a lot of logistics involved in planning an event – from ordering supplies to managing the RSVP list. But don’t worry, you can handle it!
The key is to stay organized and keep track of all the details. Make sure you have a system in place for managing RSVPs, ordering supplies, and keeping track of deadlines. Here are some popular software recommendations that we guarantee will help you!
Step 9: Promote the event
Now that everything is all set, it’s time to start promoting the event!
There are a lot of different ways to promote an event, such as:
- Creating a event website
- Sending out email invitations
- Posting about the event on social media
- Creating printed materials, such as flyers and posters distributing these materials in high-traffic areas
- Investing in paid advertising
It’s probably obvious, but the reason why promoting your client’s event is so important is because, well… You want people to actually show up! And by taking the time to promote the event, you’re increasing the chances that people will actually attend – which is great news for your client.
Step 10: Evaluate the event’s success post-event
After the event is over, it’s important to take some time to evaluate its success.
Start by collecting feedback from attendees, speakers, and performers. From there, analyze the data to see what went well and what could be improved.
Finally, share your findings with your client. They’ll be appreciated that you took the time to evaluate the event and make recommendations for how to improve things for next time!
Virtual Corporate Events
Now, you’ve probably noticed that in the past few years, virtual corporate events have become increasingly popular. In fact, even most in-person events will have some sort of hybrid, virtual component to it in some capacity. For instance, maybe it’s simultaneously being livestreamed online. Alternately, perhaps some of the event’s guest speakers are joining via video chat.
One thing’s for sure: virtual events are a great option that provides endless opportunities! They’re especially awesome for companies that want to host an event but can’t do so in-person. Moreover, they’re also a great option for companies with employees who work remotely – or businesses that want to host a hybrid function.
Interested in Planning Virtual Corporate Events For Clients?
If you’re interested in planning virtual corporate events, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, you’ll need to choose the right virtual event platform. There are a lot of different options out there, so it’s important to do your research and find one that will work best for your needs.
Next, you’ll need to create an engaging event program. This is where your creativity will really come in handy! Think about ways to make the event interactive, such as incorporating games, polls, and Q&A sessions.
Finally, you’ll need to promote the event. Just like with an in-person event, you’ll want to make sure people actually know it’s happening and have all the information they need to attend. Creating a event website, sending out email invitations, and posting about the event on social media are all great ways to promote a virtual event.
PRO TIP: Learn how to conduct a successful virtual consultation with your clients!
SMART Goals and Corporate Event Planning
Next, let’s talk about SMART goals. After all, they’re one of the most important aspects of corporate event planning!
What are SMART goals, you ask? They’re goals that are:
- Relevant, and
In other words, a good goal should be something that you can actually accomplish within a reasonable timeframe. For instance, “doubling attendance at our annual company picnic” is a great goal for your client to have. It’s specific, it’s measurable, and it’s achievable.
However, “planning the best event ever” is not a SMART goal because it’s not specific, nor is it measurable.
The bottom line: when setting goals for your corporate event, make sure they’re SMART!
How To Find The Perfect Venue, Vendors, and Suppliers
As a corporate event planner, one of your most important responsibilities will be to find the perfect venue, vendors, and suppliers for your client’s event. But of course, this is easier said than done!
Tips For Sourcing Venues
There are a few things you should keep in mind when searching for a venue. The first step is to create a list of potential venues. Once you have a few options, reach out to each one and see if they’re available for your event date.
After this, you’ll want to schedule a time to tour the venue. This is your opportunity to see if it’s a good fit for your event. Make sure to take into account the size of the venue, the layout, and the amenities it offers.
Finally, you’ll need to negotiate with the venue. This is where your negotiation skills will really come in handy! Be sure to get a contract in writing that outlines all the details of your event, such as the date, time, and price.
Tips For Sourcing Vendors and Suppliers
When it comes to sourcing vendors and suppliers, you’ll want to start by creating a list of potential vendors. Once you have a few options, reach out to each one and see if they’re available for your event date.
After this, you’ll want to schedule a time to meet with each vendor. This is your opportunity to get a feel for their personality and see if they’re a good fit for your event.
Finally, you’ll need to negotiate with the vendors. This is where your negotiation skills will really come in handy! Be sure to get a contract in writing that outlines all the details of your event, such as the date, time, and price.
Attendee Management 101
Another important responsibility as a corporate planner will be to manage attendees. This includes everything from registering attendees to creating badges and name tags.
Of course, the first step is to create a list of potential attendees. Once you have a list of names, reach out to each one and see if they’re available for your event date.
After this, you’ll want to register each attendee for your event. This can be done online or via mail-in registration. Be sure to include all the necessary information, such as the date, time, and location of the event.
Lastly, you’ll need to create badges and name tags for each attendee. This is a great way to help them feel like VIPs at your event!
Types of Attendee Engagement
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of attendee management, let’s talk about how to keep attendees engaged at your event. After all, this is one of the most important aspects of corporate event planning!
There are a few key things you can do to make sure attendees are engaged:
- First, start with a bang! This means having a great opening keynote or performance that really grabs their attention.
- Second, make sure to mix things up throughout the event. This can include having a variety of activities, such as games, contests, and giveaways.
- Third, end on a high note! Make sure to finish your event with a bang so attendees will leave feeling excited and motivated.
Furthermore, you can better engage the attendees by giving them chances to speak and interact during the event. For instance, perhaps your client can have a representative walk the floor and chat one-on-one with people. Alternately, perhaps you’ve secured sponsors for the event that attendees can go to for questions, information, etc. And another sure-fire way to not only engage attendees, but also provide them with tangible benefits, is to foster opportunities during the event for them to network with others!
What Are Conference Breakouts?
Conference breakouts are small groups that meet during a conference to discuss a specific topic. Conference breakouts typically last for 30 minutes to an hour, and they usually take place in a designated area of the conference center.
Breakouts are a great way for attendees to network and learn from each other. They’re also a great opportunity for you to showcase your organizational skills!
Typically, there are two main types of conference breakouts:
- Breakout sessions
- Breakout groups
Breakout sessions are led by a speaker who is an expert on the topic. The speaker will present information to the group and then open up the floor for questions. On the other hand, breakout groups are smaller, more intimate groups that allow attendees to network and discuss the topic in depth. These groups are usually facilitated by a moderator.
How To Plan a Conference Breakout
When planning conference breakouts, the first step is to choose a topic. Once you’ve chosen a topic, reach out to potential speakers and see if they’re available for your event date.
After this, you’ll want to create a schedule for the breakout sessions. This is your opportunity to show off your organizational skills! Be sure to include the date, time, and location of each session.
Finally, you’ll need to promote the breakout sessions. This can be done through social media, email marketing, or even flyers and posters.
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to planning a successful conference breakout. And if you still need some more inspiration, Peer Space offers 14 unique and fun ideas for conference breakouts that attendees are sure to remember forever!
Popular Career Paths for Corporate Event Planners
Alright, let’s talk about 3 of the most popular career paths for corporate event planners.
1. In-House Corporate Planner
Another popular career path is working as an in-house corporate planner. In-house corporate planners are responsible for planning and executing events within one specific company. They work closely with clients to ensure that their needs are met and also liaise with vendors to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event.
2. Freelance/Contract Corporate Planner
A third popular career path is working as a freelance or contract corporate planner. Freelance and contract corporate planners are responsible for planning and executing events for multiple clients. They work closely with each client to ensure that their needs are met and also liaise with vendors to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event.
3. Start Your Own Corporate Event Planning Business
The final popular career path is starting your own corporate event planning business. This option is perfect for those who are entrepreneurial and have a passion for event planning. When starting your own business, you’ll be responsible for everything from finding clients, to building a team of employees, to managing finances and marketing, etc.
But, if successful, the sky’s the limit!
PRO TIP: Never started your own business before? Here’s everything you need to know to do it from scratch!
How To Get Into Corporate Event Planning
Okay, we’ll cut right to the chase: if you’ve read this far and are thinking to yourself, “This is the perfect job for ME,” then you need to give our Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Corporate Event Planner a read!
In this guide, we’ll show you EXACTLY how to get into corporate event planning – even if you don’t have any prior experience.
Specifically, you’ll learn all about:
- The role and responsibilities of a corporate event planner!
- Salary expectations (in more detail)!
- Required qualifications!
- The 6 steps you’ll need to take to become certified, launch your own business, and start marketing yourself to/attracting clients!
This article is the only resource you’ll ever need to discover how to become a successful corporate event planner… So, make sure to give it a read today!
We hope this article has helped answer the question, “What is corporate event planning?” and given you a better understanding of what it takes to become a corporate event planner!
If you’d like to learn more about the event planning industry, make sure to check out our other articles and follow us on social media at @qceventschool. We’re always sharing new tips, tricks, and advice!
Got any tips, tricks, or advice of your own to share? Drop them in the comments below!
Thanks for reading – and happy planning!