Event management involves applying project management practices to designing, planning and coordinating special occasions such as parties, fund raisers, sporting activities and other affairs. Depending on the size of the event, information systems (computer software typically consisting of a data repository and user interface to manipulate the data) are used to track personnel and resources.
The event management industry has grown tremendously in the last 50 years as events are no longer held exclusively in big cities. Since 1949, the Convention Liaison Council has provided tools and programs for industry professionals. Its Accepted Practices Exchange initiative has worked towards developing relevant standards since 1997. In particular, the Technology Advisory Council seeks to develop standard forms and protocols for event management information systems. By ensuring compatibility between systems, these standards promote efficiency. Once a relatively unregulated profession, event management is now even a field of study at universities, which offer certificate and diploma programs. These programs provide specialized instruction on commonly used event management information system tasks that automate many planning and logistical functions.
An event management information system is designed to facilitate tracking personnel and resources required for running events. Typically, its primary purpose is to provide scheduling and registration support. In addition, other functions enable matching personnel requirements to event staffing availability. The system also tracks costs and expenses. After the event, the system produces reports for administrative personnel. Event management information systems enable planners to utilize processes and technology to coordinate activities that result in a well-run event.
Utilizing specialized software and hardware to manipulate information and data using specified procedures, event management information systems provide event managers with the information they need to maintain a competitive business edge. Event management information systems support organizing entertainment, personal or corporate activities. Scalable systems allow you to plan, market and sell your event. In other words, no matter how large or small your conference, party or trade show is, utilizing an event management information system will help you plan and run it.
Automating the registration process using an event management information system reduces errors, saving time and money as well. Managing donations online increases the likelihood of contributions. Mechanisms for producing newsletters and other online communication provide a lost-cost (and environmentally friendly) way of reaching a wide audience, increasing participation. In general, event management information systems allow you to streamline communications and reduce your operating costs.
Use your databases to accurately assess your audience for each event. Determine appropriate marketing strategies based on results from your past events. Conduct analyses on logistical data to determine areas in need of operational improvement.
- Convention Industry Council
- Management Information Systems; James A. O'Brien; 2003
- Special Events: Twenty-First Century Global Event Management; Joe Goldblatt; 2001
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.