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