Your Guide to Hiring a Corporate Event Planner

Cassy Aite
August 18, 2021
Your Guide to Hiring a Corporate Event Planner

Like most social events, corporate events need someone to lead the way and make things happen. That’s where a corporate event planner steps in.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what a corporate event planner does, when to hire one, and how to find the perfect candidate. Plus, we’ll share a useful tool to help your event planner excel at their job once they’re in the role.

What Is a Corporate Event Planner?

A corporate event planner works on an event from start to finish, nurturing it from a fledgling idea into a memorable experience for guests.

Corporate event planners handle all aspects of the event design, planning, and execution process for different types of corporate events, including:

Corporate event planner jobs can exist as part of an events and marketing team within a company or agency, in-house at a venue to support client teams, or as freelance opportunities. The average salary for a corporate event planner in the US is around the $60,000 mark, but amazing event planners can command figures up to $100,000.

Often, corporate event planners will be part of a larger events team — especially if they work in-house at a venue or at a large organization. Here they can work alongside an event manager who oversees wider strategy and an event coordinator who supports them with routine event planning tasks. Corporate event planners who work alone may find themselves having a much more in-depth role, especially if they’re the only events team member in a startup or small business.

What Does a Corporate Event Planner’s Role Involve?

A light bulb surrounded by crumpled papers to represent event idea generation

At the heart of a corporate event planner’s role is coming up with an event concept that can help you achieve your overall business goal, then transforming that into a fully functioning event that delivers. They’re a key player in not only the sourcing of vendors, but in the ideas stage of corporate event planning too.

Here are some of the main responsibilities of a corporate event planner and the event management tasks that they handle to make an event a reality.

​Designing the Event

Corporate event planners are involved in the planning process right from the start, as soon as someone decides that an event is needed or might be a great way to reach a company goal.

At this stage, event planners help the wider team design an event that meets the requirements. They’ll consider your target audience, the reason for the event, and essential requirements like the budget and general location. This will help them form an event plan that covers all the main details — like potential dates, locations, event type, event size, staffing needs and more. They can also start thinking about any other stakeholders that may be involved, and put plans in place to approach companies for sponsorship or partnerships.

Managing the Event Budget

Every event has a budget, and it’s the event planner’s job to oversee this and make sure they’re making decisions that keep them within its constraints. Planning an event always comes with compromise, and a skilled corporate event planner knows how to make the most of their resources.

Once the budget has been set, your event planner has a clear idea of what they’re working with. They know how much they can spend on a venue, and how much is in the budget to cover speaker fees or corporate gifting. They can make suggestions on where the majority of your budget should be spent, and negotiate to score great deals that help you throw an amazing event without compromising on quality.

Most corporate event planners are not only skilled at negotiation and communication, but at problem solving too. This comes in handy when there’s a risk of coming in over budget. Talented event planners can use this as an opportunity to get creative and seek further sponsorships or introduce attractive exhibitor packages, helping to secure extra funds and expand the event’s reach.

Overseeing the Event Production

A corporate event planner’s job doesn’t end once they’ve designed the event. They’re involved throughout the whole planning and execution process and are very hands on when it comes to vendors and stakeholders.

Part of an event planner’s role is to source, communicate with, and build relationships with the people who supply and support your event. They’ll find and negotiate with venues and caterers, and brief the audiovisual team on what’s required. Much of an event planner’s pre-event time is spent in conversation with vendors and stakeholders to make sure everyone’s on track to make the event a success.

Corporate event planners also play an active role on the day of the event. You’ll often find them leading or supporting the event team, acting as a liaison for stakeholders and suppliers, and soaking up the atmosphere to understand guest sentiment. They’re also a valuable person to have in your post event meetings so you can evaluate how an event went and how to optimize the planning process and strategy for future events.

When To Hire and When To Use Existing Resources

Event planning is a unique skillset, so it almost always pays to have someone in this dedicated role — unless you’re working with a small team and limited budget, or you rarely run events.

Using your existing resources is an option if you’re working at a scrappy startup or if you’re planning more casual, less resource-intensive events. If you just need a meeting planner or someone to handle internal events, this could be worked into a wider administrative role.

For large-scale events or for organizations that regularly plan and run events, a corporate event planner role is a necessity. This doesn’t mean you have to hire full-time into your team, though — you could work with an amazing freelance planner or hire someone on a part-time or contract basis when events come up.

If you plan to host major conferences in New York or trade shows in Las Vegas, having a larger event team can be extremely useful. An event manager can steer your strategy and oversee multiple events, while an event marketing role can support promotion through your event website and social media. It all depends on how central events are to your marketing and business strategy, and what your budget and resources look like.

How To Hire an Amazing Corporate Event Planner

A corporate event planner on her laptop

Event planning is a popular career choice, which means there’s often lots of great candidates to choose from. The right corporate event coordinator can leave a lasting impression on every event they run — here’s how to find the perfect hire.

Look for the Right Skills

Being a corporate event planner isn’t for everyone. It can be very demanding — especially if an unexpected issue arises that threatens to throw your event off course. This means you need someone with the right skills to excel at this type of role.

Your ideal corporate event planner should be a skilled communicator and negotiator. After all, much of their role involves speaking to stakeholders, your team, and vendors. They should also be highly organized and efficient, and great with numbers to help your budget stay on track. Don’t forget about curiosity and creativity too — they need to be just as great at coming up with ideas as they are at managing a timeline.

Seek Out a Specialist

Organizing a high profile yearly conference in the healthcare sector is a very different ballgame from running internal events for a startup or planning meetings for a financial firm. To create the biggest impact, look for a corporate event planner who's a specialist in what you need.

Specialists can help you plan and execute a niche event in a more strategic way. They likely have additional insight into the industry and can source the right speakers, or they have useful contacts at the perfect, hard-to-reach venues. If your budget allows for it and you know exactly what your event strategy looks like, hiring a specialist is a great move.

If you’re just making your first events team hire or you’re not sure which type of events you’ll need, a skilled planner with years of experience across multiple event types and sizes could be an ideal pick. They’ll be able to offer insights to help you refine your events strategy and build your team.

Ask for Recommendations

Sometimes the very best candidates aren’t actively applying to new roles. To find those hidden gems, ask your network for recommendations on who they think would be perfect for the role.

This approach works best if you’re hiring a freelancer or an agency to handle your corporate event planning, but it can also be helpful for direct hires. You’d be surprised by how wide your network is, and just how many talented people your team, friends, or family members know. You’ll need to run these recommended candidates through the same application process to make sure they’re a good fit, but high praise from someone you trust is usually a good sign.

Hoppier: Your Corporate Event Planner’s New Favorite Tool

A virtual credit card that a corporate event planner can use to organize catering options

Once you have an amazing corporate event planner in place, they’re going to need the best tools for the job. Event planning is a role that involves organizing multiple tasks, vendors, and needs at once, so look for ways to help them simplify their to-do list and get more done in an enjoyable way.

If your corporate event planner is handling virtual events or hybrid events, Hoppier can help streamline the catering and gifting process — and create fun guest experiences too. With our virtual cards, it’s easier than ever to make your event guests feel like they’re part of something special.

Manage Guest Catering for Virtual and Hybrid Events

Hoppier virtual cards make arranging catering for virtual and hybrid events simple. Instead of working with multiple vendors across different locations and even countries, you can send a virtual card to your attendees directly so they can order from their favorite vendor.

By switching to Hoppier virtual cards, you give your event guests the ultimate freedom and flexibility over their drinks, snacks, and meal choices. They can order from their local coffee shop or restaurant, instead of making do with generic refreshments sent by mail or planning ahead to prepare something at home. Not only does this make the experience more fun, it’s also great for people with food allergies or specific dietary requirements.

A virtual credit card that a corporate event planner branded with a company logo

Guest experience isn’t the only upside of using our virtual cards. Organizing drinks, snacks, and packages to be sent by mail is an event logistics nightmare — especially if you have virtual or hybrid event guests in multiple countries. Hoppier solves your logistics issues and streamlines the process with an easy to use dashboard that lets you send customized virtual cards to event attendees in minutes.

Simplify Corporate Gifting and Goody Bags

One of the hardest things to do with any virtual or hybrid event is to recreate that in-person atmosphere. Hoppier virtual cards can help you do this by acting as a virtual goody bag that allows you to create a more immersive experience wherever your guests are.

Instead of mailing out a tote bag filled with leaflets, stationery, and promotional items, you can use virtual cards to give your guests exactly what they want. Create a themed program that matches your event and send them to your guests beforehand so they can spend their balance on event treats for the day.

Vendors that a corporate event planner organized for an event gifting program

Send a card that lets your guests order candy and an entertainment subscription from selected vendors before a focused virtual team retreat or provide a wellness-themed offering that matches the theme of your global health conference. It’s easy to select vendors to create an on-brand experience — or you can leave the options open and let your guests decide how best to enjoy the event.

Hoppier virtual cards also make great gifts for corporate clients and event stakeholders. Create a branded Hoppier card, set a limit, and send it to your vendors, speakers, or events team as a thoughtful corporate gift to thank them for being involved.

Make Your Events a Success With an Impressive Corporate Event Planner

Talented corporate event planners are experts at transforming an idea into an immersive, successful event. They handle everything from event design to negotiating with vendors.

An experienced event planner is a must-have hire if you want corporate events to play a key role in your marketing strategy and overall growth.

Once you have the right person on board, they’ll need the right tools. For a more streamlined approach to virtual event catering and corporate gifting, try Hoppier. Book a demo with our team to talk over your ideas and goals, and explore how the platform works.

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