How to Become a Convention Services Manager

Conventions, meetings, and special events are an important part of many different types of lodging facilities. Convention services managers are trained professionals that coordinate a variety of activities to accommodate many different clients.

What does a convention services manager do?

Convention services managers manage and organize the tasks and activities of many different departments of lodging facilities to provide the necessary accommodations for conventions, meetings, and special events. They interact with representatives of organizations and groups to discuss the needs of the event. They plan the amount of space needed, the arrangement of the space, and coordinate the required services such as necessary equipment and catering. Convention services managers also supervise the activities of the event, solve unexpected issues, and make sure the operations of the facility are meeting the expectations of the event.

What kind of training does a convention services manager need?

Convention services typically need at least a bachelor degree in hospitality management, hotel management, or other related field. Most employers prefer candidates with some type of experience in hotel management. Prospective convention services often complete courses in business, hospitality management, hotel administration, and meeting planning. Many aspiring convention services managers complete internships or obtain part-time jobs with hotels to gain practical experience in the field. Many employers provide some on the job training to enable new convention services managers to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Convention services managers often complete additional training as needed throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a convention services manager?

Employment of convention services managers is expected to grow slower than average for all professions, increasing 5% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase in smaller limited-services hotels will limit job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be fair with strong competition. Convention services managers with extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace convention services managers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do convention services managers make?

As of January 2010, convention services managers with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $32,931 and $44,136. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $38,450 and $49,600 (2).

A career as a convention services manager is a great choice for people with a strong interest in the management and organization of a variety of convention services for many different types of establishments. Convention services managers must have a solid understanding of hospitality management and the ability to arrange many events. Patience, self-confidence, determination, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Convention services managers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with a variety of different clients. They must be able to work under stress and pressure and be able to make quick and effective decisions.

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