Event Coordinators: Why They're Essential and How To Hire One

Thomas Paris
August 18, 2021
Event Coordinators: Why They're Essential and How To Hire One

Exceptional events don’t happen by accident. They’re carefully designed, planned, and coordinated. To help transform an event idea into a reality, you’ll need the help of a talented event coordinator.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the valuable event coordinator role. We’ll explore what they do, how they differ from event planners, and how to hire the perfect person for your next event.

What Is an Event Coordinator?

An event coordinator is a hands-on role within event management. Event coordinators typically handle the details of events from start to finish, and work closely with multiple stakeholders to make sure the event goes to plan.

You can find event coordinators scouting out the perfect venue, keeping in touch with caterers, and organizing goody bags for event guests. It’s their job to manage a range of tasks involved with taking an event from idea to execution.

Event coordinators usually work within an events team under an event manager or an event planner. Some event coordinators also work freelance, so you can bring in their expertise only when you need them for special events.

Becoming an event coordinator is a great way to break into the events industry. It’s often an entry-level role where people can work alongside other event specialists to build their knowledge and learn what goes into running a successful event. This doesn’t mean they’re not specialists themselves, though — a talented event coordinator is a true expert at organization, negotiation, and problem solving.

Event Coordinators vs. Event Planners

Lots of people use the event coordinator and event planner job titles interchangeably, but the two roles can be very different.

An event planner often oversees the whole of the event. They’re the person who takes the goal or objective and builds an event around it. They’ll be in charge of creating the vision and designing the event, building an event planning list, and making all the major decisions along the way.

Event coordinators are the people that help execute all the tasks that bring the event to life. They’ll liaise with the venue, support speakers, and run the show on the day of the event. They may contribute to ideas for the event as part of the team, but their main responsibility is checking tasks off the to-do list and helping the event run smoothly.

What Does an Event Coordinator Do?

An event coordinator holds a catering delivery

An event coordinator’s role is varied, and the challenges and tasks involved change depending on the type, scale, and theme of the event. Coordinating a wedding is very different from organizing a global conference. Some tasks remain the same though, and these form the key elements of an event coordinator job description.

Before the Event

Much of an event coordinator’s responsibilities lie in making the event a reality, so a lot of time, energy, and effort goes into preparations before the event. Being organized here makes it a lot easier for the coordinator to run the show on the day.

Here are some of the main tasks an event coordinator will focus on before the event:

  • Finding a venue and managing the relationship with that venue throughout
  • Sourcing, negotiating with, and communicating with vendors like florists and caterers
  • Organizing catering for event guests and staff
  • Liaising with speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors to meet their requirements
  • Managing corporate gifting
  • Setting up and maintaining guest lists and RSVPs
  • Organizing seating charts, table plans, and guest lists
  • Managing invoices and payments to vendors and partners
  • Collaborating with the marketing team to provide essential event details
  • Working with the events team to meet deadlines

On the Day of the Event

When it comes to the big day, event coordinators are on hand to make sure everything runs as it should. Their main responsibility on the day of the event is to provide support to not only the rest of their team, but to vendors, sponsors, and partners too.

Here’s what an event coordinator might be responsible for on the day:

  • Playing a role in the event setup, including hands-on support
  • Welcoming and organizing vendors and exhibitors, and serving as their main point of contact
  • Helping vendors, sponsors, partners, and events team with problems that arise
  • Welcoming guests and providing support to help them enjoy the event
  • Supporting speakers and sponsors with technical setup and troubleshooting
  • Helping run Q&A sessions and panels with a microphone
  • Providing administrative support, such as managing attendance and feedback forms

After the Event

An event coordinator’s job isn’t done immediately after the event ends. When the event has finished, coordinators often help with takedown and tying up loose ends. Back at the office, event coordinators also play a key role in bringing together data to help optimize future events.

Here’s what you can find an event coordinator working on after the event:

  • Helping with takedown and gathering belongings at the venue
  • Writing thank you notes to vendors, sponsors, and stakeholders
  • Paying any outstanding invoices and chase payments due
  • Sending post-event emails to guests
  • Managing surveys and collecting post-event feedback
  • Collecting data to help the events team analyze and plan future events

When To Hire an Event Coordinator

If your company runs or plans to run a full range of events over a year, an event coordinator will be a valuable team member. With this schedule, it makes sense to have someone working full time on organizing events, so you can maximize revenue opportunities and grow your events calendar.

Many small events can be run by your in-house team without an event coordinator, but it takes people away from their main work. If hiring someone full time isn’t an option, consider a part-time role, or work with a freelance event coordinator. This is a great way to partner with an expert in a more affordable way.

When you’re running a special event like a trade show, conference, fundraiser, or gala dinner, an event coordinator can help you shine. These big, impressive events need someone working on them who knows the industry inside out and can help negotiate deals, secure speakers, and manage deadlines like a pro. For major events like these, an event coordinator is a must-have.

What To Look for in an Amazing Event Coordinator

A smiling corporate event coordinator

Finding your ideal event coordinator is all about asking the right interview questions, checking out their previous experience, and getting a feel for how they’ll handle challenges that might come up. They’ll also need some key soft skills and technical skills too.

Being an event coordinator can be a stressful job, so you need someone who's great under pressure and who thrives by staying organized. You’ll also want someone who's confident, resourceful, and great at convincing vendors to give you a discount.

Many people consider an event coordinator to be an entry-level role, so the education requirements aren’t high. You might look for someone with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management or public relations, but equally your ideal candidate might have no formal college education but plenty of real-life experience.

Top of the list when it comes to ideal event coordinator attributes would be communication skills. Your event coordinator needs to have exceptional interpersonal skills, as so much of their job involves talking to others. They need to be confident talking to stakeholders, and have a warm, friendly approach to speaking to your venue and vendors. They’re a people person through and through with the ability to understand, motivate, and support others.

Your dream event coordinator doesn’t just need communication skills though, they also need great negotiation skills too. Event budgets can be tight, so having someone on your team who can negotiate discounts and deals with vendors is valuable. They need to be gently persuasive, and great at finding opportunities to come up with a deal that makes sense for both parties.

The best event coordinators are masters when it comes to organizational skills. They know their way around a spreadsheet or task management tool, and have a clear understanding of the importance of deadlines. Look for someone who's organized and effective at rallying the team to get things done at the right time.

Lastly, events aren’t always simple. You’re bound to run into a technical difficulty or have a vendor that pulls out at the last minute. Seek out an event coordinator with excellent problem-solving skills who can think their way out of a tricky situation.

Hoppier: An Event Coordinator’s Dream Tool for Catering and Corporate Gifting

As well as supporting the events team and vendors, an event coordinator also plays a part in creating an amazing guest experience. A major way to do that is through corporate gifting and fun catering options for virtual and hybrid events.

Hoppier can help make that happen. With a Hoppier virtual card, your guests can order coffee, snacks, or meals from their favorite local cafe, restaurant, or store to enjoy as part of a live virtual or hybrid event. Our cards are also ideal for corporate gifting, especially if you want to send a small thank-you gift to a lot of people at once.

Send Corporate Gifts in Moments

Arranging corporate gifts or goody bags can be a frustrating part of running an event. Even more so if your audience is scattered across multiple locations — which they often are with virtual or hybrid events. Make corporate gifting easy by using a Hoppier virtual card.

Vendors that event coordinators can send gifts through using a virtual credit card

Our virtual cards are designed to help you send a gift to vendors, partners, sponsors, or event guests in moments. Create a gifting program, set your gift card amount, and decide when the card can be used. Then, send your virtual gift cards to your recipients, and put a smile on their faces — all without the hassle of sourcing, packaging, and mailing gifts.

Arrange Catering for Virtual and Hybrid Events

Finding the right catering options is all part of the job when it comes to being an event coordinator. That responsibility doesn’t change when your event goes virtual or hybrid — in fact, it can introduce new challenges, like how to offer that in-person experience when your guests are across the world.

A virtual credit card designed by an event coordinator for a virtual conference

Luckily, Hoppier virtual cards can help. You can easily set up a program that gives your event attendees access to a virtual card with funds to spend on food and drink. They get to enjoy your virtual event from the comfort of their home or remote workspace, but with an artisan coffee from their local spot or a special lunch from their favorite restaurant as a perk. It’s a fun way to create a more immersive experience for your guests.

Impress Your Guests With a Branded Experience

A big part of running a successful virtual event is creating a cohesive experience for everyone involved. With Hoppier, you can customize your virtual cards so they match your event branding perfectly.

A tool that an event coordinator can use to build branded virtual credit cards

Choose your custom event colors and add your event logo to your virtual cards to create a seamless look. Then, personalize the email message that accompanies the virtual card when it goes out to your attendees. It’s a small yet effective way to bring them further into the ecosystem of your virtual event, and create a more fun guest experience.

Event Coordinators at Work

Event coordinators are often the unsung heroes of corporate events. They’re the ones who negotiate to help you find the perfect venue or secure that impressive speaker your audience will love. With a great event coordinator on your team, your corporate events will run smoothly, stay on budget, and impress your guests.

Once you’ve found the right event coordinator, do everything you can to support them and make their job easier. Organizing an event is tough, but with tools like Hoppier, you can streamline labor-intensive processes and create a more immersive guest experience. If you’re ready to give Hoppier virtual cards a try, book a demo with our team today.

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