Fancy working at the ExCel, NEC or Earls Court Exhibtion Centre? Well, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to find out all about the professional life of a conference centre manager.
Conference centre managers are the dynamic people responsible for the efficient management of conference centres. Conference centres are lucrative businesses, but these venues need to be run properly if they are going to be truly successful.
If you decide to plunge into the exciting world of conference centre management, you’ll be responsible for every aspect of the business, from catering and accommodation to marketing, sales and financial management.
As a conference centre manager, you will be a team leader, a business planner, a project manager and a marketing executive all at once. Basically, you will run the show, building relationships with stakeholders, handling complaints and customer enquiries, dealing with problems as and when they arise, and making sure every single conference at your facility is run smoothly and effectively.
You’ll have complete budget control and you’ll be responsible for ensuring the overall financial success of the conference centre. You may also have a hand in procurement, maintenance, and health and safety.
Finally, you will also have ultimate responsibility for business development, marketing and brand strategy.
Salary & benefits
Conference centre managers in the early stages of their careers can earn between £20,000 and £32,000 per annum.
However, as you progress and take on more and more responsibility, your salary can increase up to £70,000 and beyond.
As you can imagine, a career as a conference centre manager can be pretty intense. You’ll be thrown headfirst into stressful situations and you’ll encounter problems at frequent intervals.
Consequently, you may be required to work unsociable hours on a regular basis. Evening and weekend work is common.
Many conference centre managers climb the career ladder from lower-level roles in the hospitality sector. Consequently, a degree is by no means essential for entry into this line of work.
An undergraduate degree, however, may give you the opportunity to climb that greasy rope a little bit quicker! This career path is open to all graduates, but a degree in business studies, hospitality management, events management or marketing may give you an edge over other candidates.
You could further boost your employability by doing a postgraduate course offered by the Institute of Hospitality.
Most importantly, it’s essential that you gain relevant work experience in the hospitality sector, particularly in a customer service, marketing or sales capacity.
Training & progression
Once you become a conference centre manager, you will actually be responsible for training junior team members yourself. Having already gained a wealth of experience in hands-on hospitality, your own training and development will focus on project management, budget control and business planning.
Most likely, you will be required to attend courses that are offered by external training providers and organisations, such as the Institute of Hospitality.
As a conference centre manager, you will pretty much be at the top of the career ladder already. However, if you fancy a change of direction, you might be able to pursue opportunities as a freelance consultant, working on a variety of projects at different conference centres.
Alternatively, you could explore other areas of work, such as hotel management, events management or sales and marketing.