Studies & Degrees in Travel and Event Planning
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Tourism is a fast growing industry that includes many specializations. One of these specializations is Travel and Event Planning. Many schools, however, offer this as an occupational major rather than a specialization. Occupational majors are courses designed mainly for job preparedness. This is ideal for students who are looking for immediate employment either as meeting planners, conference planners, catering planners, travel agents, trade show coordinators, incentive travel planners, corporate planners, medical meeting planners, independent meeting planners, seminar coordinators, or sports event planners.
An event and travel planner has many responsibilities but his/her main duty is to ensure that the events they handle will run smoothly with as minimal inconveniences to the clients as possible. Attention to detail and organizational skills as well as marketing and customer relation are the important requirements in being a good planner. Some large hotels and resorts often require advance knowledge or a college degree in business, communications, marketing, or hospitality. Good event planners, however, often choose to set up an agency rather than become employees.
Whatever events—from weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries to corporate meetings, group tours, and business travels—will need to start as an elaborate and detailed plan. Should a student choose to take this major, he/she will learn to appreciate the wonders of planning an event. Although subjects may differ from one school to another, the basic need for a student to learn planning, coordinating, and managing successful events and travels stay the same. Some common subjects that a student will take include meeting planning, organizing special events, site selection and contract negotiation, weddings and social events, event marketing and promotion, food and beverage planning, audio-visual basics, event planning in locations, financial management, and destination management. Communication subjects will also be helpful to teach a student effective speaking and presentation.
Upon finishing this course, the student will be able to plan corporate and business meetings and conferences, provide a wide range of service functions in preparing for an event, managing secondary services like food and beverage requirements for an event, develop sales techniques and marketing plans, and develop business presentation techniques for group and convention presentations. The student will also be able to make an elaborate plan by gathering information of the client’s needs and preferences, select an appropriate date and location for the event or travel plan, handle the budget and funding, and to handle the event’s publicity.
Although travel and event planning is a fairly new career, the job opportunities that await planners are increasing in a fast rate. Many event planning jobs are subjected to economic fluctuations but, more often than not, successful planners move from employee to self-employed, making their own niche and securing their own market. Some of these self-employed planners build business partnership with airline companies, hotels, restaurants, catering companies, and advertising agencies to make the execution of events easier for both the planner and the clients.