- Plan and run events like trade shows, conferences and exhibitions
- With experience, option to become assistant manager, then manager, or set up your own consultancy
- Your role may involve travel to meet potential sponsors and exhibitors, venues, and contractors
As a conference manager you'll work in exhibition marketing, operations or sales. You'll ensure the smooth running, effective management, success and profit of conferences and events.
- Discussing what type of event the client wants
- Coming up with original ideas for events
- Agreeing budgets and timescales with the client
- Researching venues, contacts and suppliers and negotiate prices
- Booking venues, entertainment, equipment and supplies
- Hiring and supervise contractors like caterers and security
- Overseeing the design of publicity material and promote events
- Selling exhibition stand space and arrange sponsorship deals
- Following health, safety and insurance regulations
- Making sure everything runs smoothly on the day
Your overall pay could include bonuses and commission if you work in exhibition sales. You may work longer hours in the run-up to a conference or exhibition. You'll usually work in an office and travel to meet potential sponsors and exhibitors, venues, and contractors. You could work for an event management company, exhibition venue, or marketing department of a large organisation.
This role is ideal for someone with a business mindset who is capable of planning ahead, managing future sales or marketing campaigns, and budgeting efficiently to maximise income generated.
There are no set requirements but employers will usually look for relevant experience and strong transferable skills like organising, budget management and marketing. Any experience you have in hotel conference and banqueting, travel, sales, PR or fundraising can be especially useful.
Doing paid or unpaid work as a steward at large events or exhibitions can be useful for building up contacts in the industry. This is a good way to hear about jobs, as many are not advertised.
A foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in events management, business management or hospitality management could give you an advantage, although it's not essential. These university courses often include work placements, which will help you get practical experience and develop contacts in the industry.
You could also do a college course such as a level 2 Certificate in Event Planning, level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Event Management or level 3 Diploma in Live Events and Promotion to gain experience.
Alternatively you could get started in the conference and events industry through an events assistant advanced apprenticeship or a hospitality management higher apprenticeship.
You could begin as an administrator or marketing assistant with a conference management company, possibly through temporary work. As your experience grows, you may be able to take on more responsibility for organising events.
With experience, you could take on bigger events. You could become assistant manager, then manager. You could set up your own consultancy or work as a freelance conference or events manager.