How to Become an Event Planner During COVID-19
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences. In addition to running her own business, Amira is also one of QC’s leading tutors for the Destination Wedding Planning course.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: planning an event can be stressful. Planning an event during COVID-19 brings on a whole new set of challenges! Now, you may be wondering how to become an event planner, but are hesitant due to, well, the whole pandemic problem. More so, you’re likely even questioning, “Is it even possible right now?”
The good news is that YES, it absolutely is! You just have to know which steps are the right ones to take – and which are best to avoid.
Many of us are experiencing a pandemic for the first time. As such, we’re navigating it the best way we know how. If you’re new to the event planning industry, or you’re even a seasoned professional, you need to find ways to pivot your business and services.
Today, I’ll share 5 tips to get started. This way, you can be sure that you’re moving in the right direction!
Offer Specialized Services
A lot of event and wedding planners have taken this time to get more creative and innovative.
In the past, planners were offering full planning, partial planning, month-of coordination services, and even day-of services! COVID-19 has forced us to get craftier. Now, planners are offering elopements, micro weddings, “pause-ponements”, and virtual conferences to their customers.
The need for these types of events and weddings is because circumstances have changed. Similarly, it can also be due to the needs of the clients changing, or venues falling through in light of social distancing rules. With these offerings in most scenarios, the event’s original date may still be kept. In some cases, you and your client will go with an alternative date.
Flexibility is key in a pandemic, and you’ll definitely learn how to adjust accordingly!
With these new, specialized services, planning may be required on a much quicker timeline. Since the future is still in large part uncertain, you’ll need to stay mindful of when works for all the other parties, and when doesn’t. Clients who needed to cancel or postpone their event previously are now going to be starting back from scratch. As the industry pro, it’ll be your job to step in and accommodate a certain date for them, or help to pick up the pieces.
A big thing here is making sure you adopt the right mindset. What I mean by that is: approach each job in terms of what events are now, instead of what events used to look like before COVID-19 came.
It’s okay to dwell and feel sad for your clients that had to change plans. It’s human nature to be emotional, and yearn for the past. But we need to dust ourselves off, and offer what can still very much be an exciting, memorable day – even if it happens to be with less guests.
Keep Your Clients, Potential Clients, and Yourself Informed
As much as it sucks to admit it, COVID-19 will be around for a while yet. Even though things are uncertain, it shouldn’t stop clients from celebrating! They just have to do it safely, and on a smaller scale.
Venues and businesses are slowly re-opening, and all have put measures in place. As planners, clients will look to us for information. It’s important that we stay on top of the ever-changing health and safety requirements! We need to make sure that we educate our clients on their options, and most importantly, handle it with care.
Sure, clients may no longer be having a 300-guest event or wedding/ But that doesn’t mean they still can’t an awesome celebration at an amazing location, rife with florals, decor, delicious food, etc. It’ll simply need to be a smaller guest list, and with extra precautions.
Run your Business Remotely
Many businesses needed to go this route once social distancing started. As planners, e-services offer a practical, safe, and flexible way to adjust, while still being able to run a business.
Even though most of us like to meet with couples in-person, their well-being (as well as our own) is far more important. For instance, you can have client consultations and follow-up meetings on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. You can easily have phone consults, too, but providing your client with the option to see each other face-to-face (so to speak) is often a preferred method. It makes the appointments far more personable, and allows you and your client to connect.
I’ll admit, I do miss interacting with my clients in-person. I miss meeting new couples, and getting that special kind of contact. However, keeping all parties safe and working from home right now just feels right. Even with social distancing, you can continue your relationships with your clients, vendors, and suppliers in a manner that doesn’t pose any risk.
Plus, many of us have quickly discovered that remote services are a great option to incorporate into our businesses anyways! By offering e-planning services, you can expand your business to long-distance clients as well!
Move Your Operations Online
This ties in with running your business remotely, and trying to do as much as possible online. A lot of venues offer virtual tours so that clients can still have the option to view it from the comfort of their own home. Many businesses are also offering virtual consults to fall in line with social distancing, as well as other virtual services that are not typically the norm for them.
For example, we have a local bridal shop where brides can make an appointment for someone to show them dresses online. After the virtual fashion show, the bride can then pick four dresses to be delivered to her. That way, she can try them on at home, and then purchase or order the dress of her choosing.
It’s a great and creative way to still offer a fulfilling client experience, without the pandemic posing any sort of threat! Taking your own operations online, and adapting to what’s currently going on, shows that you’re in this industry for the long hall.
As planners, it’s critical that we always be creative and find ways to keep moving forward.
Prioritize Personal Motivation and Self-Care
Keeping (or staying) motivated is always tough for new planners. Heck, it’s even difficult for seasoned experts! We’re all human, after all. We all go through the ups and downs of life, and wonder how much more we can take. Some days are easier than others, but we need to just keep on moving!
It’s important that we remember to take care of ourselves and our own mental health. COVID-19 has undoubtedly taken a toll on us all, and has reminded us why it’s so important to keep up the practice of self-care. So, ask yourself: what does self-care means to ME?
Is it taking a walk? Enjoying a good book? Having a long, luxurious bubble bath? Binging Netflix? Whatever your preference is to disconnect, always find time to do it! We still need to do things that bring us joy; the things that get you motivated to tackle another day.
As a parting note, I want to leave you with this: with so many unknowns, it’s important to stay on top of the information out there. Providing up-to-date information to your clients is crucial, now more than ever. We can get the job done, so long as everyone is informed and on the same page. In terms of how to become an event planner, this is one thing you should never forget if you want to be successful!
This is a new and unique situation for us all. Right now, our clients need us to guide them. It’s up to us to make the best of the situation, and show them that their dream day CAN still happen!
Stay safe and healthy. Happy planning!