Have you ever been to a convention with events, catering, and display or sales booths? Chances are, all of these elements which make up the convention were put together by a professional called a convention services manager. These managers work for hotels or convention centers as liaisons with groups that are planning big events.
Convention services managers help coordinate meetings, conventions and other special events that are held on their hotel's property. These professionals work to synchronize the needs of the group planning the event and the staff of the hotel where the event takes place. Some postsecondary education is necessary for entrance into this field, although most possess a bachelor's degree. Candidates should be comfortable overseeing large events with many moving parts.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Event planning experience|
|Median Salary (2018)||$49,370 (for all meeting, convention, and event planners)*|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||7% growth (for all meeting, convention, and event planners)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Convention Services Manager Job Description
Convention services managers reserve conference rooms and coordinate services for groups and organizations holding meetings, conventions and other events on hotel grounds. They may organize banquet or catering services, reserve video or audio equipment and plan any changes to the configuration of the event space. However, sometimes a catering manager, rather than the convention services manager, is responsible for any food and beverage needs. The main job function of the convention services manager is to ensure that all events run as planned.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated in 2018 that the annual median salary for convention, meeting and event planners at that time was $49,370. Most of these workers earned between $$27,560 and $84,900 annually, reported the BLS, and those working in the District of Columbia, New Jersey and New York saw the highest income levels that year. The BLS projects a 7% increase in employment for convention services and meeting planners from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average.
Convention Services Manager Job Duties
Convention services managers must often meet with representatives of groups and organizations to discuss what they have in mind for their meeting or special event. They may sign contractual agreements and usually keep records of all communications in writing. They also meet with the heads of other departments in the hotel to coordinate any planned events. Convention services managers monitor events and address unexpected problems as they arise to make sure that the functions go as planned.
Convention Services Manager Requirements
A degree in hospitality, restaurant management or hotel management can prepare one for a career as a convention services manager. However, specific education requirements can vary by employer. Some may look for job candidates who have bachelor's degrees, others may require associate's degrees and still others may require only experience working for a hotel. Some employers may look for degrees in specific majors, while others look for a degree in any subject.
Those looking for formal education programs in hospitality, hotel management or related areas may find programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration at community colleges, vocational schools and universities. These programs may lead to a certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree or graduate degree. Coursework typically includes accounting, economics, business, computer applications, marketing, hotel administration, hotel maintenance, food service management and housekeeping.
Some hotels offer management training programs to experienced employees who demonstrate leadership potential and good people skills. Trainees may be given the title of assistant manager, and may be required to work at different hotel properties to gain experience.
Convention services managers are typically hired by a convention center or hotel and work with event planners to match the amenities of the facilities with the needs of the planner. They typically hold a bachelor's degree in a related field and have some event planning experience.