What Does a Certified Meeting Planner Do?

A certified meeting planner (CMP) is responsible for planning and coordinating every aspect of meetings and conventions for his/her employer. They are not only responsible for planning the content of the meeting, but must also prepare the logistics, from renting a space to inviting attendees. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As the job title might imply, a certified meeting planner is hired to orchestrate successful events for a business, such as important meetings, conventions, or fundraisers. A meeting planner might be employed by one company or hired out on an event-by-event basis, working as a contract organizer. More specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Meeting with clients/management team in order to understand the demands and purpose of the event
  • Using networking skills to shop venues and other vendors
  • Budget within monetary limitations, while maximizing funds for impact and success of the event
  • Visitation and inspection of locations to ensure client satisfaction with the space chosen
  • Communicate with on-site staff to coordinate details
  • On the event date, be present to supervise and monitor event activities
  • Review event bills and approve payment

Important Facts About Certified Meeting Planners

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields of Study Event planning, hospitality, tourism management
Professional Certifications Optional, but examples include Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)
Similar Occupations Lodging managers, administrative service managers, food service managers, travel agents

Content

Depending on the type of event, CMPs must determine what elements must be included in order to best address the purpose and goals of the participants. This may include choosing speakers and specialists for presentations, lectures, and panels. In some cases, they may need to hire seminar instructors, moderators, conference directors, and other specialists. CMPs also prepare entertainment for the attendees, including meals and mixers. They are responsible for scheduling events to best accommodate the attendees. Certified meeting planners also hire support staff to help organize and run the event.

Venue

For meetings both big and small, certified meeting planners must choose an appropriate venue that meets the needs of both presenters and attendees. The most popular places are found in convention centers, hotels, conference centers, and similar sites. CMPs must make sure they choose a place of appropriate size, location, and price. They also look at the services a venue provides, such as food and beverage options, available lodging, access to transportation, audio-visual equipment, and other requirements.

Preparation

Once the content and venue are selected, a certified meeting planner must prepare the logistics for anything from a one-day meeting to a week-long convention. They may begin by coordinating with the site's management and support staff. They make sure that all necessary props, electrical equipment and decorations are available for set up on-site. A CMP will make reservations for food, lodging and transportation for attendees, organizers, and presenters. Other preparation tasks may include setting up a registration area and compiling welcoming materials and name badges.

Finances

Certified meeting planners are also responsible for an event's budget. This may include negotiating a favorable rate with venue owners and suppliers. Financial responsibilities can also include preparing contracts for everyone involved, including attending organizations and content providers. High profile speakers can require a large budget and agreements made months in advance.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by meeting, convention, and event planners, the category under which CMPs fall, was $46,490 in May 2014. The employment of all meeting, convention, and event planners is expected to grow by 10% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS.

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