Online Courses in Meeting Planning
The following course descriptions profile commonly offered online meeting planner courses.
- Introductory Meeting Management Course: This course provides students with a general overview of the core skills needed to plan a successful meeting. It covers timelines, checklists, contract negotiations, site selection, menu planning, budgeting and on-site management. Students also learn the importance of networking and dealing with clients and vendors effectively.
- Meeting Coordination Course: This course investigates the numerous managerial duties a meeting planner must perform to create a well-designed and smooth-running conference, convention or educational event. Students learn to assess the intended audience, choose an appropriate venue and select the presenters and presentation media. This course also covers staging and production issues, utilization of audio-visual equipment and coordination of transportation, catering and security services.
- Budgeting for Meetings Course: To produce a successful event, students explore the steps required to develop a realistic and well-constructed meeting budget. They learn proven techniques, such as per person methodology and break-even analysis, to project and control the budget. This course highlights the budgeting processes that are particular to the meeting industry only.
- Registration and Housing Course: Students in this course learn the importance of the registration process, which often sets the tone for the meeting. The importance of fulfilling the housing needs and exact personal requirements of the attendees is also covered. Students explore ways to create a more harmonious meeting experience for everyone involved by preparing rooming lists and controlling sleeping arrangements to reduce friction among attendees.
- Food Service Management Course: In this course, students learn the skills to manage food and beverage operations within food service organizations. Coursework includes managing personnel, overseeing the development of menus and wine lists, and financial management for a food service organization.
- Vendor Relations Course: In this course, aspiring meeting planners learn how to find vendors who offer the materials and services they need for a particular event. Course content emphasizes ways to evaluate whether a particular vendor is appropriate through interviews, work sample evaluations and calling references.
- Marketing and Hiring Course: This course helps meeting planners who are self-employed to network with potential clients and effectively market their services. It also covers hiring practices for planners who need assistants.
Online meeting planning courses are available through undergraduate and graduate certificate and degree programs in event management or hospitality management. Several schools offer these programs fully online.
Students who earn an undergraduate degree, professional certificate, or graduate degree in meeting and event planning have an advantage in career advancement and opportunities. However, a degree isn't necessary for certification. To become a Certified Meeting Professional, an applicant must show that he or she has a required combination of experience and education. Successful completion of a certification exam is also required.
Individuals who want to work as meeting planners can find online courses that prepare them to handle all aspects of event management, from initial budgeting to final execution. Some programs prepare graduates for professional certification or lead to certificates or degrees in the field.