Meeting Planner

Meeting planners plan, coordinate and manage professional meetings and events. They book locations and vendors, coordinate equipment and services, assist with budgeting, and oversee the actual event. Planners can work for event planning companies that offer services to many clients or specific industries such as finance and entertainment. They may specialize in certain types of events such as product trade shows. Corporate employers also offer plentiful opportunities particularly in the pharmaceutical, technology and medical sectors. Government, universities and larger non-profits also hire in-house planners as do hotels and other event vendors. Planners work out of offices but travel to events and potential locations. They often work more than forty hours per week especially right before and during meetings. Meeting planner positions also may be titled as event planner, event coordinator, conference planning manager, events manager, director of events, and convention services manager.

Skills and education

A bachelor’s degree is preferred, but meeting planning experience is the strongest consideration for many jobs. Applicants with a degree in hospitality management will have an edge, as will those with experience in the employer’s industry. Meeting planners who are currently employed and have three years experience can boost their careers with certification as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). Offered by the Convention Industry Council, the CMP is internationally recognized within the meeting planning industry. Planners need excellent communication and people skills, as they interact with vendors, attendees, clients and all levels of management. They also should be very organized, detail-oriented and adept at multitasking. The most successful planners have the ability to stay calm and flexible under pressure and to deal resourcefully with last-minute issues. This multifaceted career also calls for knowledge of business technology such as audio-visual equipment, computers and software. Planners can expect to use spreadsheets, presentation and graphics software, and project management tools.


As of 2012, the average national salary for meeting planners was $49,000. Salaries vary considerably by location, type of employer and industry. Major cities pay the most, with top locations being Washington DC and San Francisco at $66,000. Corporations and event planning firms pay the highest wages, while government and non-profit positions often offer good benefits packages. Opportunities increase with experience, certification, and specialization such as political fundraising or the pharmaceutical industry. Familiarity with foreign languages and cultures can be a great asset in obtaining a higher-paying position and advancing in the field.

Job outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for meeting planners is excellent with an expected growth of 44% by 2020. The increasingly global nature of business has made meetings an essential success tool that requires professional and sophisticated coordination. As of 2010, 71,600 jobs were formally classified under meeting planning. An additional 31,300 positions are predicted by 2020.