What does an event management company do?

I’ve been working in events for over 20 years and teaching events management for nearly 10. It’s a common question that I get asked regularly, and while the answer is simple, it also has many different facets depending on the various sectors within the industry.

An event management company oversees the project management of an event, including the planning, budgeting, promotion, delivery and evaluation.

Events can be complicated and take months of planning to deliver. Understanding the concept of their management is not something I learned overnight, but it is something I experienced after many years working in the industry.


What is the concept of event management?

If we understand that every event is a project as a starting point, then this becomes a lot easier to understand. Event management is a form of project management applied to events.

The events industry is wide-ranging and features a variety of different sectors all with their quirks and particular demands. Some of the significant event sectors that event management companies work in are as follows:

  • Festivals and music events,
  • Weddings and other personal events,
  • Exhibitions and trade shows,
  • Conferences and convections,

As you can imagine, the demand required in each of these sectors can be very different. Event management is a stressful job at times. According to CareerCast.com, In 2019, being an event coordinator was voted the 6th most stressful career in the world. The only careers to outrank it were being a broadcaster, a firefighter, an airline pilot, a police officer or in the military.

That might sound all doom and gloom, but it isn’t! I can testify from personal experience working in events and delivering amazing experiences for people is one of the most rewarding careers you can choose.

Event management companies employ people who have fantastic organisational skills, who work well under pressure and can deliver an outstanding project on time.  

The ability to juggle lots of different issues, manage a variety of stakeholders and all within a tight timeframe is needed. Having excellent interpersonal skills is key to an event management company.


What is the role of an event management company?

Event management companies perform project management duties that deliver an event based on an original brief, in some cases that a client may give.   

In many cases, event management companies are hired by regular businesses to deliver an event on their behalf, where they have no specialism internally.

And in other cases the brief maybe an internal brief where the company is designing their own event.

Event management companies perform a variety of different roles for an event. Some companies will only specialise in one particular area, such as catering or technical equipment. In this situation, there may be an over-arcing event management company with many subcontracted companies providing specialist services.

Some of these services might include:

  • Technical and Audio-Visual Equipment
  • Catering
  • Artiste and speaker management
  • Security
  • Ticketing
  • Decorations and Theming
  • Production and staging
  • Safety Management
  • Marketing and Promotions

It is unlikely that one company may be able to provide all of the services that one event requires. By their nature events are one-time occurring phenomena and each one is different. 

This constant change is part of the appeal to people working in this industry. As a result, there often needs to be multiple collaborations between different event management companies in response to each project.

So what are the tasks that an event management company might undertake? This work will vary depending on the event, but broadly:

Client brief response

Initially, event management companies may have to go through a tender process to win the business from the client. This process will involve suggesting creative ideas, setting realistic expectations of a delivery time frame, the budget all wrapped up in a pitch.

Developing the concept

Once the event management company has been appointed, they will then work with the clients to understand how they can deliver their ideas within the brief. 

This process may involve explaining why things are not feasible and suggesting alternatives. At this stage, they should also set some SMART objectives for the event to be able to evaluate successfully later.  

Maintaining constant dialogue. 

Event management companies will maintain close communication with the client through the project management and planning stages as they develop the final plan for the event. This planning requires a high level of responsiveness to change.

Promotion of the event. 

If the event management company has been asked to promote the event, then this will involve the development of suitable branding and an event marketing plan that meets the needs of the client and the target audience.

Safety and Licensing. 

The event management company will work with any local authorities to write any required risk assessments and other safety documentation. 

They will also be responsible for applying for any licences or permits that the event requires.

Booking Entertainment. 

The event management company will have to book and manage any speakers or artists for entertainment reasons. This includes dealing with any forwarding. Forwarding is when the artist provides technical and other requirements for their appearance or performance.

Production. 

There may be a significant amount of production required for the event in which case the event management company will liaise with additional subcontractors to deliver elements like staging, lighting and sound. These elements all play a role in providing a fantastic experience for attendees.

Evaluation. 

Evaluation is often overlooked as an area, but is so often key. The client may require data and evaluation to justify any funding or future events. 

The event management company should, therefore, undertake evaluation based on the original smart objectives to ensure they have been met


What are the benefits of using an event management company?

Saving time and money

While employing an event management company might seem like an initial high cost. it’s worth remembering that the cost is buying the expertise and knowledge of the event management company and their network of trusted suppliers. They may also be able to get better deals the client could source solely on their own.

Utilise specialist creativity, expertise and knowledge

From a clients perspective delivering a WOW factor is essential. Event management companies have experience of providing regularly. They will be able to help deliver a memorable experience for the client.

Professional execution of event

As we saw earlier, running events can be stressful. Without the appropriate experience, potential problems will arise. Event management companies are very good at planning, and having contingencies in place should the unexpected happen. This is where the real value of using an event management company can be felt.

The latest technology

Good event management companies will be on top of what the emerging and leading technology is for events. Event technology is an area which is constantly changing, and it can be difficult for clients to keep up with the latest technology. So the expertise from an event management company in this area can be invaluable but also deliver a fantastic experience for attendees.

Managing Risk

An event management company should have expertise in delivering safe events and advising the clients on risk. The consequences of not sufficiently assessing risk in events can have huge financial and reputational damage to the client. It gives the client peace of mind that professional safety experts have considered all risks associated with any event.

Managing the budget

A client is keen to ensure that the event is delivered within budget. Again from the expertise of an event management company, they may benefit from better deals with suppliers but also can plan and to include any contingencies that may be needed. Without this event risks running over budget.

Mark Norman

Mark has over 20 years of experience in the events industry from working in live music venues through to major outdoor events like the Olympic Torch Relay and the Tour de France. He now works as a feelancer, consultant and Senior Lecturer in Events Management.

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