How Personal Event Managers Are Key to Successful Events

Sep, 11, 2023 | Conferencing on Campus, Industry Insights

When it comes to planning an event, it can be hard to know what you need. There are so many decisions to be made: the venue, the food, the programming, and about a thousand other things. But the decision to hire an event manager – invaluable.

University of Delaware’s Conference Services Event Management team has many years of experience in the hospitality sector, and a whole lot of insight into how personal event managers are crucial to a successful event. Our event managers discussed how they help and shared their expertise.


Knowing the Ins and Outs

“What is the most important thing clients are looking for out of their event?” asked Director of Conference Services Polly Weir. Across the board, the answer was service. Event managers ensure that, as the client, you’re getting high-quality service specifically tailored to your event. They see different kinds of events every day and know all the little details that might get forgotten about otherwise, Andy Bradford said. They’ll think of needs and issues that the client may not realize or even know exist, Christy Boylan added. For example, does trash pickup need to be arranged? For outside events, will there be bathrooms nearby or will portable toilets be needed? This is where it pays to have someone intimately familiar with the venue to be able to take care of all the little things and take the mental burden off you. Plus, as Lea Asti pointed out, on the day of, you’ll be free to participate in and enjoy your event.


“Event managers can offer clients an “elevated guest experience.” The customer service they provide is critical to what guests see, but also to what they don’t see.” – Leona Bankoski


Another challenge in hosting conferences and events right now is hybrid capabilities. Clients and attendees expect a hybrid option to be available, but don’t necessarily know what that would look like in the context of their event. Managers can help with that too. “Whether it’s allowing virtual participants or bringing in virtual speakers or presenters,” Boylan said, “it has given them the ability to expand their reach and expand the people that they are able to bring into their events.”

Weir and Asti remembered a Toys for Tots event many years ago where a senator was supposed to speak, but ended up being unable to attend. He ended up calling in and they held a microphone up to the telephone while he gave his remarks. Technology has come a long way since then, but successfully incorporating hybrid tech into an event is a lot more complicated than just throwing a Zoom video up on a projector screen. “You can fix a food problem in a hot minute, but it’s more difficult to fix some of the AV surprises that pop up [day of],” Asti said.


Things to Consider

Event managers can “make magic happen,” as Weir put it, but they do need some critical information from clients in order to do so. Here are some things to think about before meeting with an event manager:


What is your budget? What are your expectations for the event?
A good manager will be able to help balance your expectations and your budget to ensure you have a good experience that’s within your price range.

What is your overall goal with the event?
Are you trying to showcase a new product? Get together for job training? Have a celebration? Knowing this will help the manager steer the direction of the planning, Bradford said.

Will you be using any technology during the event? Do you want the event to be hybrid, and if so, what does that look like to you?
Depending on your needs, the manager can get AV tech experts involved in the planning process to help make sure everything goes smoothly.

What aesthetic or atmosphere do you want the event to have?
For example, if you want to lighten up a potentially stuffy event, you can incorporate any number of creative activities. If the manager knows the vibe you’re looking for, they can incorporate elements that help bring that atmosphere to the event.


Service is Key

There are a lot of decisions to be made when planning, and event managers are there to help keep the focus on what’s most important for the overall success of the event. Leona Bankoski said that, at the end of the day, most clients are looking for “an elevated guest experience.” Event managers plan in advance, but also think quickly on their feet to handle incidents that arise the day of. The customer service they provide is critical to what guests see, but also to what they don’t see, Bankoski said. “Nine out of ten times, the service we’re able to provide the client is what shines through to them.”