However, those event agencies and service providers which offer dedicated in-sector event management and planning services provide many opportunities for event management hopefuls to really establish their names and expertise in the industry, as well as careers within specific types of event management.
Exploring exactly where these agencies are and investigating the niches they specialise in can be invaluable to those starting a career in event management, as they can provide plenty of inspiration as well as opportunity. Particularly if you’re seeking a career in events management, researching a few key sectors and agencies can be good practice, especially if you consider what it takes to work for those whose evolution and growth in the events industry has earned them a successful track record and given them high profile status in event management.
Just as tourists need a place to stay, every event, meeting or exhibition needs a venue. 2014’s top agency in the UK secured their spot with by carving a niche in venue-finding for events.
Based in Derby, Milton Keynes, Faversham and Godalming, Zibrant were the UK’s top ranking events agency (based on turnover, source) with a turnover of £70 million in 2014. One of their key successes seems to be their versatility and ability to keep up with trends, something which is useful insight to those new to event management. Not only producing live events in venues, Zibrant also offer the latest in virtual meeting and event planning and online meeting expertise, demonstrating how keeping up to date with the technological innovations and how they can be applied and used successfully within the events industry is something which event managers need to pay attention to, in order to offer up-to-date services to event clients.
The health industry is also a boom industry in its own right and within this healthcare events – from education and communicating information, to product launches and promotions to trade and association conferences – see a very healthy growth.
Ashfield Meetings & Events offer a specialist and highly successful service for managing healthcare events which secured them one of the top agency turnovers in 2014 of approximately £69.5 million. Within their services and across any type of event, their main focus on audience engagement makes them one of the most effective event agencies because their focus remains firmly on the nub of what most events are all about: audience engagement and participation, a useful message for anyone wanting to move into event management.
Event management companies which offer a real personal assistant touch of organising accommodation and travel as part of the holistic packages of services available have seen considerable growth. Capita travel and events, which run from Cheadle, Derby, London, Swindon and Taunton feature at number 7 in the UK top agencies ranking with their 2014 turnover of £32.90 million.
With a USP based on difference which involves offering services which can be used individually (such as event planning) as well as combined (such as with travel and accommodation planning services), gaining experience from a company such as Capita offers a good opportunity to multi-task to the extreme and work with global clients. Such roles also offer the chance to hone transferable skills which can broadly translate into most other sectors or to make the most of skills, qualifications and experiences offered by those coming into event management after other careers (such as travel or hospitality).
Exhibitions, particularly including flagship public, association and cultural events, remain big business in the events industry. The exhibitions arm of Jack Morton Worldwide has helped to secure them a position as one of the top 5 event agencies, with a turnover of £55 million in 2014. Their high profile can be attributed to their successes in this area along with their global branding and considerable digital event expertise, something which is trending heavily in the 21st century events and exhibitions industry.
BCD M&I is a global company but with a relatively smaller regional UK presence (Maidenhead) than many of the top-ranking agencies. However, this events agency has achieved its high ranking with a total turnover of £33 million in 2014 thanks to its focus on the local and intimate end of the event scale as well as the global and ‘go large’ market. Their high profile has been successfully gained through good practice which demonstrates their recognition that events always need an outcome for the clients and that results need to be delivered – whether the proposed event’s little and local or global and giant.
For those new to event management, looking at the strategies companies such as BCD M& I use to turn event objectives into quantifiable results can be useful in understanding the bottom line in what makes events successful: results-driven planning and delivery.
Of course, there are many more companies which are proving successful in both turnover and event planning innovation and which demonstrate the considerable growth of the events industry and the money that is now being spent on event provision.
If you’re moving into a career in events management, there’s so much to learn about professional practice at a personal to-do list and task level that it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of agency, sector and industry practice. Taking a moment to research the high profile companies in the industry can be a valuable part of your event management education and help you to focus on where your own role fits within an industry which shows high profile growth itself.