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Event Sales & Event Management - What's the difference?

Event Management is such a popular and well-known job title and position within the hospitality industry, it’s well regarded as an enjoyable (and clearly stressful) job with a whole bunch of perks if you work super hard. Throughout my career I’ve interviewed around 150 people for Event Management/Wedding Planner/BDM roles throughout different regions of Australia and what I find diverse is the understanding of an Event Management position incorporating Event Sales.

Now look, I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I can be a really tough interviewer (but hey, I just wanted the best for the company I was working for at the time and I knew exactly what to look for). However, what I find really interesting is when the question is asked “What’s your favourite part when it comes to Event Planning”, the answer most of the time is

nice and fluffy “the decorations” or “seeing the event/wedding come together on the day”.

Although this is a nice aspect of the Event Manager / Wedding Planner jobs, there are more ideal answers we’d like to hear coming from a new candidate.

How valued is Event Sales?

What I see as super undervalued is the importance of Event Sales within the Event Manager role. Customer Journey and Experience are certainly important when it comes to an Event Manager position, when did we get more excited about a table centerpiece than we did about converting a sale? That super excited feeling you get as an Event Manager when you’ve worked hard on a Pitch / Proposal, completed Site Inspections and have come up with innovative and exciting concepts specifically for the client to get them over the line. Even though different items motivate different people, for me it was always that rising figure converting more sales than the targets for the business. I’d get goosebumps when my Event Managers were getting so close to their target’s way in advance. The idea of being able to report back to the Stakeholders of the business when they set you a new target that they believe is out of this world and you can confidently respond and say “I’ve already reached that”, or “no problems, give me a couple of weeks”.

What should we focus on?

Sometimes I find that venues underestimate the experience required to be an awesome athletic sales manager and miss this integral part of the customer journey, certainly by no fault of their own – it’s occasionally a lack of knowledge and understanding of the impact Event Sales can have on the businesses revenue. On other occasions, I’ve been blown away at the understanding by some business owners and certainly applaud the efforts they put into training for their Event Sales Teams. Keeping mindful of the passions that keep Event Managers moving onward and upward is important, it’s also just as important to internally qualify your staff members as well as you externally qualify your clients. Are they as focused on the revenue as they are the cake and cocktail menu? Do they understand what a conversion is and how to increase it? Do they know how to shorten the ladder in the sales process with communication touch points?

Keeping abreast of how your Event Managers are tracking in Event Sales is key to the progression and Surge of your business revenue. But hey, If you’re actually the venue’s Event Manager, Florist and Decorator in one and you’re making money from the set up of the event – then by all means Win/Win! We can talk all about the fru fru and converting Sales at the same time!

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