A Day in the Life- Manager of Event Productions

Hilton Suites Restaurant
Written by: Alexis Senge
It’s no shock to me that I have a slightly eclectic job considering I came from a very diverse background. However, I have come to find that I didn’t follow the traditional route into my position and therefore there are many others out there who are qualified for a position such as mind if only they would consider applying for it. I go to work each day in the hospitality industry of Orlando Florida to bridge the gap between meeting planners and hotel staff.  This is all in an effort to make make my client’s visual meeting aspirations come to fruition before their eyes.   Whether the requests be simple or a step away from recreating the moon and stars, my job is to make it all happen and fit within their budgetary constraints.
I am a Manager of Event Productions.  This is a fancy title for the sales representative who dreams up creative backdrops, digital media, and on occasion show productions to then sell all the audiovisual equipment and labor needed to make the vision become a reality. My clients tend to be either full-time corporate meeting planners, third party meeting planners that businesses have hired or the poor schmuck who drew the short straw in the office and was put in charge of all the AV needs for a conference. When I get a client who is the latter it becomes my job to educate them on the AV selection process and break all the mumbo jumbo down to plain English so it’s understandable. This is especially crucial when my client is a bride-to-be as they are generally full of anxiety and  lacking any extra time to take a lesson about our equipment when their wedding is quickly approaching.
Any given day at work starts off with me checking in on my clients that are already on-site at the hotel. I am lucky to have an operations staff that services my clients once they arrive, but it is important for me to maintain my relationship once they arrive as often times we have been working together for months on the event that is taking place. After making my daily rounds I return to my desk to catch up on any emails that might have come in overnight. Since my clients come from all over the world, I frequently get emails at odd hours that need to be answer early in my day as it is quickly becoming the end of my client’s day where they are located. Once all caught up from the night before it’s time to reach out to new clients. Once the hotel sales team books an event they turn the files over to me so that I can reach out to the contacts letting them know that I am located on-site, the preferred vendor of the hotel and capable of handling their conference. For me this includes an email with our credentials and photos of past event setups to get their appetite wet before my appetizer of electronic introductions. 

In between all of the items listed above I join the hotel sales team on their site visits or the conference services team on their pre-planning visits. For the sales team, site visits are their opportunity to show potential clients the property and instill the faith in them that we are the best choice for their event. Often times these potential clients are visiting multiple hotels, either within Orlando or across the globe, and this is the hotel’s one chance to put our best foot forward.

Pre-planning visits with the conference services team are crucial for me as the clients they are working with have already signed their sales contract with the hotel and are committed to having our property  host their event. The pre-planning visit allows them to sit down with every department they will utilize and begin putting the pieces of their event together. This is my time to shine and convince the clients that they should chose to use my company for their event instead of another vendor. There is a lot of competition in my field, especially in the Orlando area, so this might be my one shot with a client before they decide who they will be utilizing for their AV needs.

Through out all the craziness of seeing my on-site clients, reaching out to potential new ones, attending site visits and participating in pre-planning meetings I am using each spare minute at my desk to create proposals for clients I am bidding against other companies for. The most important trait needed for a position like this is the ability to multitask and work with people from all over. Within the hotel I work with my own operations staff, the hotel sales team and conference services managers every day. However, I could also be working with the banquets team, the set up department, our in-house destinations management company, or even the recreations team. This is in addition to all of my clients, so I know for myself making lists and writing things down is very important. Taking notes ensures I don’t for get any key piece of information since I am often performing my  own Cirque du Soleil act of balancing multiple events all at once that are each in different stages of the sales process.

Like any other position in hospitality, a day in the life of a Manager of Event Operations is exhausting. I do strongly believe that many people could do this job if they just considered it. I mentioned my background is diverse, so let me explain. I spent most of my life as a dancer and after an injury realized I would need to pursue other interests as a backup. It was either a subliminal thought or the voice of my mother saying, “you need to have something to fall back on” but it steered me towards a creative side of business.  During college I continued to work as a performer while I obtaining a degree in hospitality management. Little did I know that what I was learning would help me to have an increased understanding of the departments within the hotel that’s work with every day. I can hear my mother saying, “thank goodness!”  While in college I also began freelancing as a stage manager for live stage shows and corporate events. After graduation I transitioned to a full-time position as a stage manager at a theme park and then moved into the productions side of live stage shows.

Now I realize that not everyone should travel a route such as mine, but at the end of the day the biggest requirement of my job is a high level or organization and guest service skills. Most people have those. Anyone who studied or obtained hands on experience in any form of business management could learn the ropes. My job prefers an in-depth knowledge of audiovisual equipment and sales experience when they bring someone onto the team. However, I am living proof that it’s not mandatory. From working on live stage shows I had a small amount of AV equipment knowledge and never had any sales experience in my background. I did have an above average amount of guest service skills combined with the ability to become an extrovert and start up a conversation with just about anyone from my years as a performer.

If you enjoy talking with new people, have the drive to learn more, a passion for providing the best guest service, and strong organizational skills then I suggest you consider exploring the world of audiovisual productions. My name is Alexis and I’m a dancer, turned manager, turned audiovisual geek.  My company hired me knowing I could involuntarily break out in dance steps at any moment and only do math in multiples of 8 (here we go…ah 5, 6, 7, 8).  If I can do it then so can you!  Stop by my blog, 21stCenturyGal.com, if you are looking for tips and tricks for management in today’s era or just a good laugh at whatever project I have chosen to tackle on the side.  I am always happy to answer questions so feel free to contact me on my blog or at [email protected] if you want to know where to start in your job search within the wonderful world of audiovisual productions.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

3 thoughts on “A Day in the Life- Manager of Event Productions

  1. Pingback: What Languages Do Your Employees Speak | 21st Century Gal - A Classy, Not Brassy, Guide To Management And Life

  2. I have never given much thought to event productions and honestly never thought of how much work would go into it so found this to be really interesting and iformative thank you I now have more respect for those who do this type of work

    • Thanks Joanna. It really is an ever changing job that keeps me on my toes and one that many haven’t considered as an option for themselves to pursue.

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