Working as an event consultant

WHAT does a day in the life of an event, sponsorship and entertainment consultant entail?

WHAT does a day in the life of an event, sponsorship and entertainment consultant entail?

Every day is different in this industry because it is very varied and your tasks change daily.

It usually involves speaking to your clients and liaising with your colleagues to ensure that their responsibilities for the day have been planned in order of priority.

Liaising with suppliers to ensure that they are delivering the necessary items required for your event or function.

Updating budgets, receiving invoices, processing them. Liaising with marketing and PR to ensure that your event or function has been properly advertised and marketed in order to receive maximum exposure for the sponsors involved.

Setting up project s and roll-out plans to ensure that all the tasks have been allocated to the relevant people on the project and that they all know what their responsibilities are.

Attending both internal and external meetings. Taking client briefs to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your clients' needs and requirements for their specific function or event.

When required, to attend the setting up of the event and the event to ensure that it runs as planned and dealing with any issues if and when they present themselves.

But if the event has been properly planned the troubleshooting should be limited.

Why did you decide on this career?

I had travelled quite extensively overseas and worked at various companies doing temp work, where I gained my office experience and eventually decided that I needed to be in a challenging, fast-paced, fun environment since I enjoyed dealing with people, selling, the service industry and organising events.

How did you get into the career?

It was quite by accident. I had been working for a well-known hotel and casino company in their conference department as a personal assistant to the sales manager when a position became available in their sports and promotions department I was offered the job and accepted.

What's challenging about the job?

It is demanding and challenging because a lot of travel is involved, depending on where your event takes place. You are responsible for delivering good service to your clients to ensure that their requirements are met and serviced to the highest standards.

You manage budgets and there is lots of admin and the hours can be quite long. But this is what makes it so exciting. When selling sponsorships this was also quite tough since you are turned down quite a few times before you are successful. But when it happens it's such a great accomplishment.

What do you love most aboutyour work?

The variety of people you meet, the various functions, events and entertainment that you are exposed to and the sheer excitement of being part of these, whether local or international.

I also enjoy travelling both locally and internationally. The sales - when required - of sponsorships and securing those for an event, which is very rewarding.

What type of person will make it in this industry?

An extrovert who enjoys travelling and organising. Someone who is hard-working, dedicated, a good communicator both written and oral, pays attention to detail, has lots of initiative and is able to adapt to various circumstances and situations.

Someone who has sales experience is able to multi-task. Has the ability to present concepts to their clients in order to secure the business. Someone who can deliver the service required by the client, with a sense of personal commitment to each event, that they are involved in.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

I didn't actually study for this career specifically at school. I had completed all my subjects on higher grade: maths, science, geography, English, Afrikaans and biology. On leaving school I had no idea that I would be in this industry, it just happened.

What does one study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?

There are currently many courses in sports and event management offered by various colleges. If you have completed a public relations or IMM Marketing level of education, as well as any degrees in communication at university, you would be well covered. But experience gained in the work environment is the best way to learn.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

I think through your experience, and depending on how ambitious you are, you can move up the ladder in this career.

You start off as an event coordinator, get promoted to event manager and from there the next step is being responsible for a department of people as a manager. The other opportunity, of course, is starting your own business.

What career opportunities exist for an event, sponsorships and entertainment consultant?

This is quite a specialised industry and the position encompasses quite a few skills. Due to the economic climate at present, there are limited opportunities.

With the 2010 Fifa World Cup approaching companies need to make use of consultants in this field, but it also depends on the affordability of the consultant, as one can charge either an hourly rate, or opt for a contract period for longer assignments. It is a specialised field.

What is the starting salary for an event, sponsorship and entertainment manager?

This varies depending on the company that you work for. I would estimate about R28000 to R35000 a month - but this is totally dependent on your experience.

Should you work as a consultant, this is normally an hourly rate of between R250 to R450 an hour, once again all dependent on the client that is employing you.