how to become an event planner

Hotel Event Careers

In this section, we'll look at the pros and cons of a hotel event careers—as described by a professional; Nathan Homan, former Assistant Banqueting Manager, The Dorchester, and former Banqueting Operations Manager, The Four Seasons.

nathan homan
Nathan Homan
The Dorchester / Four Seasons Hotels

Nathan Homan is Creative Director and Co-founder of special events agency Rouge Events, which specializes in brand communication events, product launches, parties and festivals for clients including Nissan, Jamie Oliver, Ikea, Sky, Ernst & Young, and Cartoon Network.

Prior to co-founding Rouge Events, Nathan worked in banqueting at The Dorchester and Four Seasons hotels in London, where career highlights included a state banquet for Nelson Mandela; a charity gala hosted by the late Princess Diana; a launch of Donatella Versace’s ‘million dollar dress’; and escorting Elizabeth Taylor to the stage for her final ever press conference in the UK, having just be invested as a Dame.

Pros of hotel event careers
01

Credentials

“I think a lot of employers will always take someone with a background in hotel events seriously, as long they’ve worked at a prestigious hotel. Just being able to say ‘I was an event manager at The Dorchester Hotel for four years’ really helped me. As an employer, you just know they’re not going to be clueless when it comes to events, and that they’ll totally understand high-end service. Regardless of what type of events they might have worked on, all the core skills will be there.”

02

Ability to Work Under Pressure

“Working in banqueting is not the only department where you will learn the ability to cope under pressure—just try spending a few days working in the kitchen! However, it is most definitely one department in the hotel where you will be exposed to the true meaning of the word ‘deadline’.

Every day there is always a moment where you have just one opportunity to get things right—most likely with many hundreds of people watching you whilst you do. The sheer variety of events happening on a daily basis also means you quickly have to master the ability to think about multiple tasks simultaneously, ensuring each is actioned well and on time. I think I will always be thankful for the training the hotel gave me to cope with a pressurized working environment, and it is something I still drawn on even today.”

03

No One Day is Ever the Same

“Unlike other roles or departments in the hotel, no one day in the banqueting team is ever the same. As someone who constantly likes to be stimulated and learn new things, this was ideally suited to me. Who wants to see and do the same thing every day—not me!”

04

Team Work

“You just can’t run a successful banqueting operation unless you have a high performing team. Everyone is important—whether you are the porter setting out the tables and chairs, the coordinator taking last-minute requests up the office, the operations manager leading the service brigade, or the banqueting manager making sure the client feels well looked after and that their event is running well.

If something needs to be done and there is very little time to do it, everyone gets stuck in. No one is too important to vacuum a carpet if there are only a few minutes left before the guests walk into the room. The sense of camaraderie is amazing—you really do feel as though you are in family, supporting each other when times get tough.”

Cons of hotel event careers
01

The Hours

“It’s probably a bit better nowadays, I suspect most banqueting managers probably don’t stay until the end of an event; they probably stay until the main course is served then wave goodbye to the client and hand it over to the operations team. It’s still very long days though, starting in the morning and doing a full day’s work, then working long into the evening to oversee the event. Even if you leave after the main course is served, it will still be around 9 p.m.”

02

The Pay

“Considering the long hours, the pay isn’t great at all—especially at the bottom of the ladder.”

03

Limited Experience

“Although there are a huge variety of events that go on at a hotel, they still all fit into a box of ‘ballroom style’ events—so they all follow quite a traditional format of meeting, reception, or sit-down dinner. You’re not getting to experience the weird, wonderful, wacky, and creative events that go on. That said, it’s still a great place to start and will give you a very solid foundation.”




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In The Next Section...
01

Event Planning Training

Now you have an understanding of the different sectors of the industry, read the next unit 'Training' to learn the truth about event planning training & education and why you don't need to take a course to become an event planner.