Top tips to hire an event planner

Need staff for events? Need to hire an event planner or meeting planner? If so, you will need to understand the key questions and topics to discuss with the prospect event staff you want to hire. Today we share top tips by professional planners to successfully hire an event planner for your events.

According to Abla Doku, Events and Marketing Professional and Visionary behind The A Pulse, the top items to discuss when interviewing event planners for hire are:

What is their scope of services? 
Prior to posing this question, know the details of your event’s Scope of Work.  This is very important because event planning covers a range of tasks, and not all event planners cover them all. If for example you are planning a conference that requires the attendance of the public to make it a success, you may want to hire an event planning professional who is an expert in event marketing as well. He or she will be able to guide you with your messaging as well as event marketing strategies. Perhaps even take it completely off your plate. Also, some planners take care of invitations and respond to them, others don't. Are you going to need name badges for your participants?  Is this something you can take care of, or do you want your planner to handle this task? Ultimately, you want to hire an event planner who will be available to manage and coordinate all aspects of your event.

How well do they work with other people or professionals?
This is a critical question to ask when hiring an event planner.  Professional planners must work with speakers, attendees, and other vendors.  This means their personality is important.  They are going to need to book and work with vendors, as well as communicate with your speakers or presenters before, during and after the event.  Read reviews about the planners you want to hire written by previous speakers, vendors, or clients. Always check references before hiring the planner.

How well do they fare under pressure, and how many years of experience do they have under their belt? 
Events are always high-pressure environments. It is important that the professional meeting or event planner remains calm. They must be able to think on their feet as things do not always go according to plan.  Also, they must have a plan A, B and C in place and if they don't, they must be able to come up with a plan very quickly. This is where experience comes into play.

At the end of the day, professional meeting or event planners will manage and coordinate your event, make sure you hire an event planner with a great personality who works well with others.  In order to achieve a successful event, these professionals will follow a timeline to help everything stay on track, and help you sort out who is responsible for what to avoid any confusion.   

Christian Reed-Ogba, CEO and Founder of BethanyEast PR, LLC suggest you ask the following questions when interviewing event planners to hire:

  • What project management software do you use?  Will I have access to your event plan between update meetings?
  • How important is event security to your event plan? Do you have trusted, bonded, and licensed vendors to provide various levels of event security?
  • How will my team ensure connectability at the event?  Will we be victim to sharing Wi-Fi service with our attendees?

Al Wynant, Co-Founder and CEO of Eventinterface at EventTechHub suggest the following questions when interviewing event planners to hire: 

How do you price your services?
Understand right from the beginning how the event planner charges for his or her services and what is included in that price. Is it an hourly rate, a project fee? How is payment structured?

What technologies can the planner bring to the planning of your event?
Event technology makes managing events and attendees easier, allows for more effective communications and attendee engagement, and increases efficiencies in planning. Find out what technologies the planner uses or recommends, and why.

How are vendors managed?
Will you as a client be able to bring your own vendors, or will the event planner bring vendors to the table? If the planner hires vendors, how will the relationships be managed? Will you be responsible to negotiate, work with and pay the vendors directly, or will the planner take on this responsibility?

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Alena Powell with Stress Free Party Planning shares the following advice to consider when seeking to hire an event planner: 

Do you have a lot of experience with ______? [fill-in-the-blank with the type of event]
This is a great question to start the conversation. Have the planner explain and give examples. An experienced planner will get straight to the point and we will not want to waste your time. Planners learn to be efficient. So, start off with this question and you will learn pretty quickly if this will be a productive conversation.

Ask if the planner is available on the dates of the event.
It is best to ask this question towards the start of your conversation. There is nothing worse than going through the entire interview, then suddenly remembering you didn't mention the dates to see if the planner is even available.

What is your work style?
It's not just important to know if the planner can do the job. It is vital that you get a glimpse of how they work. What makes them comfortable when it comes to meeting deadlines. You should ask yourself, can I work well with this person? Do they align with my work style? Because bottom line – you prefer to work with someone who can work within your workplace culture and dynamics before hiring them to manage your event.

Richard O’Malley of The How Behind the Wow! suggests that all individuals or committees ask prospect planners the following questions before hiring event staff:

  • What is the biggest mistake you have ever made as a planner?
  • What did you learn from this mistake?
  • What three things do you do better than anyone else? 

Before hiring an event planner to work on your event it is important to ask some key questions to ensure that you hire the right event planner for your project.

  • Ask about experience.
  • Discover their working style and if that fits with your and your company’s style.
  • Understand the level of service and talent they can bring to the table to successfully manage your event.
  • Understand the financial implications of hiring an event planner before signing an agreement.

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