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The Caterer

Conference and banqueting manager

27 April 2005
Conference and banqueting manager

What does this job involve?

  • Managing all aspects of the conference and banqueting business, from marketing and selling, to ensuring that the event runs smoothly and that the bills are paid. Typical events include conferences, meetings, cocktail parties, wedding receptions, lunches, dinners, working breakfasts and exhibitions.
  • Liaising with clients. Some of them will be used to running events and will tell you exactly what is required and when. Others will have little or no experience and their planned event may be a once-in-a-lifetime affair. All clients, though, will want everything to be perfect and to feel that you are giving their requirements your full attention.
  • Possibly hiring audio-visual, lighting and other special equipment for the event, a DJ, a band or even an orchestra, stages, dance floors, and marquees.
  • Liaising with other heads of department in the hotel, including the kitchen and bars for food and drinks, the housekeeper or linen room for such items as tablecloths, personnel to recruit extra staff (possibly part-time or casual, or from an agency) and maintenance for setting up equipment.
  • Briefing all the staff before the event and checking the room set-up. The organisers or hosts, and VIPs, must be met, last-minute requests attended to, and the smooth running of the event ensured.
  • Making sure that after the event the room is cleared and reorganised, sometimes quickly, in readiness for the next event.

What skills and attributes do I need?

  • Attention to detail
  • Organisation skills
  • Administration skills
  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility - your days can involve very early starts and late finishes
  • A calm and level head in order to deal with stressful situations, for example, if a client starts to panic or a delivery fails to arrive

How can I get this job?

Most conference and banqueting managers have previous experience in hotels at management level.

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