What makes a Conference Planning Manager different from a Conference Services Manager? As the title says, it’s in the details.
Although you’ll find differences from property to property, most Conference Services Managers (CSMs) are there to help you get things done at their hotel. They communicate your logistics requests to the conference services staff using event orders and follow through to ensure tasks are complete to your specifications.
A Conference Planning Manager is really your partner beginning in the preplanning phase. He or she will help you coordinate attendee registration and ground travel. At Q Center, Conference Planners can even set up a website your attendees can use to register for the program and arrange ground transportation – all in one convenient place.
Like CSMs, Conference Planners arrange for audio-visual equipment and ensure precision in the spacing of tables and chairs. But beyond those basics, Conference Planning managers are trained to find just the right enhancements for your meeting room that will stimulate an audience.
As a meeting planner, you need a great eye for detail and a solid understanding of your sponsor’s goals. The many facets of event planning are always in constant motion, so the experienced planner will do whatever it takes to stay ahead of what needs to get done. The same is true with your Conference Planning Manager partner. A good one will keep you informed of the planning process at just the right level – enough so you are at ease but not so much that your attention is taken away from your attendees, speakers and agenda.
No two events are alike, so it takes innovative strategies to meet the variety of conference challenges that arise on a daily basis. Great Conference Planners are always prepared for the unexpected. That’s where past experience comes into play. A planner who’s been in the business for some time has probably seen most everything go wrong at least once and can help take the right steps to prevent problems before they happen.
Training, experience, proactive planning and balanced communication are all traits of a strong Conference Planner. But the thing that sets a Conference Planning Manager apart from the crowd is a creative, fresh and collaborative approach to each event. A Planner who defines his or her success by your success will be more than a logistics coordinator; they’ll be your partner.
What’s the most important trait in a property’s planning contact? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.