Today there are more than 100,000 full-time meeting planners in the United States, each responsible for an average of 37 events per year.
So finds a new study published this week by meetings software company Social Tables, which surveyed 350 event professionals in order to paint a portrait of the modern meeting planner. Called "Benchmarking the Modern Meeting Planner," the study shines light on what meeting planners do every day and offers ideas for how meeting planners can rise to the top of their profession.
"We know that meeting planners are some of the hardest working people out there -- across any industry. So we conducted a study, and collected some of the latest research to see if we could quantify what that meant," said Social Tables CEO Dan Berger. "In this report we took our findings and turned them into actionable insights to help planners use their time more wisely, collaborate more efficiently, and put on even better events."
Social Tables' study includes information on meeting planner demographics, job responsibilities, priorities, and technology preferences. Among its findings:
• The number of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 10 percent over the next decade, which is faster than the average of all other occupations.
• The top three cities for meeting planners, based on average annual salary, are Coeur d'Alene, ID ($69,210); Bridgeport, CT ($69,080); and Napa, CA ($68,030).
• The top five states employing meeting planners are Washington, DC; Colorado; New York; Maryland; and Virginia.
• The top five sectors employing meeting planners are travel and accommodations; political, business, and corporate; third-party planning firms; universities, museums, and higher education; and arts, sports, and entertainment.
• Of the events that planners plan every year, 56 percent require at least one site visit. The average planner goes on 45 site visits a year and spends more than 100 hours each year on said site visits.
• The top five reasons meeting planners choose an event space are location, cost, look and feel, other (e.g., availability, dates, times, staffing, etc.), and amenities.
In terms of technology, Social Tables found a mix of low-tech and high-tech attitudes amongst planners. On the one hand, for instance, most (61 percent) planners still prefer pen and paper for recording notes during the planning process. On the other hand, nearly 50 percent of planners say the Internet is their primary way of discovering new venues; 87 percent of planners use social media for event promotion; and 35 percent of small and medium-sized event planning firms plan to increase their mobile app budget this year.
"Benchmarking the Modern Meeting Planner" is available for free download from Social Tables' website