Event planning and event management are the same job title, right? Not exactly. Event planning and event management are, in fact, two different positions held in the events industry. While they might possess similar responsibilities, with some overlap, the roles serve different functions.
Laura Hammarstrom, professional event manager, travel director, and entrepreneur says that these two positions are commonly mistaken as the same job title. She explains that clients can get easily confused about who to hire for what in an industry that includes various job titles such as meeting planners, event coordinators, and event designers. With over ten years of experience in the events industry, including her time in former roles like the Senior Event and Project Manager for the Walmart International President and CEO, or as Director of Special Projects in the United Kingdom, Hammarstrom is happy to create clarity between event planning and event management.
What is Event Planning?
Event planning starts with creating the big picture. An event planner could be a person or team that a client turns to develop an event from the ground up. An event planner generates big picture strategies that determine the purpose of the event, theme, goals, and objectives. To generate these factors, an event planner will pinpoint the target audience, location, budget, timelines, content direction, and KPIs. Another part of an event planner’s position includes developing a sponsorship strategy and determining key partners involved with the event for marketing and communications. Event planners may also decide which technology is needed for project management, guest registration, and analytics.
“An event planner is responsible for building out the broader scope of work and strategy for an event. This includes working with the client to clarify the purpose, target audience, location, etc. The event planner will make sure the framework of the event has been addressed from start to finish,” said Hammarstrom.
What is Event Management?
After a client approaches an event planner with an event, the event planner then turns to an event manager, who can also be either an individual or team and says, “Here is the overall strategic plan for the event… help us make it happen.”
Event management focuses on every angle and detail of flawless event execution. This position traditionally handles the event operations and logistics on-site, which includes event set-up, vendor management, guest services, food and beverage, event staff, audiovisual support, parking plan, VIP management, entertainment, and more. Event managers can also be in charge of crisis management if something were to go wrong during the event, like late entertainers or a flooded conference room. In some cases, event managers’ and planners’ areas of responsibility might overlap when deciding pre-event details like venue sourcing, food and beverage, activities, and creative ideas.
“The best part of being an event manager is seeing the event come to life and the smiles on the attendees’ faces. After months of diving into the details of how to execute the event, the event manager is on-site throughout ensuring that logistics such as staff management, room layout, schedules, and guest relations are executed flawlessly,” said Hammarstrom.
About Laura Hammarstrom
Laura Hammarstrom is the founder of Laura Hammarstrom, CMP, LLC, a company that provides a comprehensive suite of professional, customer-focused, on-site event management services. As event manager and travel director, she specializes in VIP experiences, corporate meetings, international conferences, pharmaceutical programs, festivals, and experiential marketing.