To say that organizing an event requires a lot of effort would be an understatement. The amount of work put into planning, launching, and coordinating an event is gargantuan and requires a specific set of skills not many people have. Without adequate knowledge, it’s impossible to keep up in this vibrant and complicated industry.

Even the very term “event” can mean many different things, from a conference to a convention or festival. Additionally, with the COVID pandemic’s disruptive impact on the event industry (as of March 2020, the event industry had lost over $14 billion), the quarantine forced event planners to quickly adapt to the new reality, rethinking their entire business models, as well as technological solutions, content delivery, and sponsorships.

Fortunately, fast internet and video calls helped professionals withstand this challenge. 73% of event planners managed to successfully switch to the virtual format, and 66% of planners will continue to stick with the hybrid format when in-person events become safe again. The event industry is still alive, it just became more complex than before. However, it has always been a little complicated, especially when it comes to terms.

The very term “event” can mean many different things, from a conference to a convention or festival. Some job titles may sound similar while being used when talking about different responsibilities. For instance, what is the difference between an event planner and an event coordinator? In this article, we will answer this question and consider these two jobs in more detail.

Event Planner

Although it may seem like an event planners’ job implies simply throwing parties, the truth is that event planners need to analyze many important factors to make sure that their events will be successful. An event planner should determine the goal of an event and have a clear idea of how they’re going to achieve this goal. They should also plan locations, coordinate speakers, and take care of many other details, including the equipment and printed materials.

Event Planner’s Responsibilities

Every event planner’s ultimate goal is to make the attendees feel excited. Therefore, event planners should consider the big picture, choosing the right location, entertainment, menu, etc. A successful event should meet the attendee’s needs and expectations, and achieving this goal can be a difficult task.

An event planner communicates with the client to determine their needs, vision, and budget. For instance, an event planner should decide how many people will attend the event, and how formal it will be. When planning an event, you should also determine its overall tone and theme.

Event Coordinator

An event planner’s job involves a lot of responsibility, so if you want to get into the event industry, the best solution is to begin as an event coordinator. This way, you will build a strong foundation for your future career as an event planner. Quite often, people need to have several years of experience as an event coordinator to become an event planner.

Event Coordinator’s Responsibilities

While an event planner designs the event, in general, an event coordinator is responsible for doing what’s been planned. Event coordinators take care of logistics and resolve any event-related issues. Event coordinators should make sure that everything goes as planned. “Usually, these professionals perform organizational tasks at the venue, shortly before the event begins. Therefore, an event coordinator should be extremely focused and well-organized,” explains Hannah Trejo, an event marketer at a custom writing review platform Online Writers Rating.

An event coordinator is responsible for all the little details, making sure that the plan will work properly. An event coordinator assists the event planner and handles countless tasks. For instance, event coordinators may communicate with vendors, choose venues, work with guests, and organize delivery dates.

Education and Training

If you want to become an event coordinator, you need a high school diploma or GED. Generally, higher education isn’t required but it can offer you a competitive advantage when looking for a job. If you have a degree in hospitality, public relations, marketing, or communication, your knowledge will be very useful when organizing events and managing clients.

An event planner should have some experience in the industry. Usually, they have at least two or three years of experience working as an event coordinator. An event coordinator is an entry-level position so you can become a coordinator even without having any experience in the event industry. However, having some experience in the hospitality industry will certainly be very helpful.

Necessary Skills

Although event planners take care of, well, planning and event coordinators of coordinating an event, they’re eventually responsible for the same thing – for an event to be successful. That being said, both event planners and coordinators require a similar set of skills, including:

  • Organization. First, there are organizational skills. As a planner or coordinator, you’ll need to keep all contracts, vendors, menus, budgets, guest lists, etc. Keeping up with these can be overwhelming if you aren’t organized.
  • Time management. Time management is key in the event industry. For instance, coordinators are responsible for managing the flow of the event, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and according to schedule. Event planners, on the other hand, need to help with the timeline of the event. Both tasks require excellent time management skills.
  • Communication. Effective communication is key when it comes to planning and coordinating events. As a planner or coordinator, you’ll need to constantly communicate with vendors, clients, and team members. Without effective communication skills, the entire venture stands no chance of success.
  • Teamwork. As covered in the previous point, event planners and coordinators work in a team and need to cooperate with different people involved in the event. Teamwork skills are vital to ensure the entire event runs smoothly and that the entire team communicates well.
  • Leadership. Although event planners and coordinators work in a team, they’re the ones that oversee the entire operation. That means they need to know how to delegate tasks, communicate with their subordinates, and solve problems. That isn’t possible without excellent leadership skills one has to develop to become an event planner or coordinator. 

Wrapping Up

Event planners and event coordinators should possess the same skills, they work together and have the same goals. However, these two categories of professionals have different responsibilities. Event planners come up with the general concept of an event and plan its general aspects. The main goal of an event planner is to fulfill the client’s expectations.

Event planners must be experienced enough to see the bigger picture and understand all the specifics of the industry. In contrast, an event coordinator should focus on the details. Event coordinators don’t plan events but make sure that everything goes according to the plan. If you want to become an event planner and build a career in the event industry, a great solution is to start as an event coordinator to gain the necessary experience.