So You Want to Be an. Exhibition Organiser

Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales), February 21, 2010 | Go to article overview

So You Want to Be an. Exhibition Organiser


What is an exhibition organiser? Exhibition organisers plan and co-ordinate exhibitions.

The work is generally split into three areas: marketing, sales and operations. Marketing involves researching the level of interest in a specific event, and finding suitable venues and dates to hold it.

The publicity, design and printing of tickets, catalogues, posters and promotional items to advertise the event is then organised. Sales involves selling stand space to exhibitors by telephone or face to face and arranging sponsorship. During an exhibition, sales staff may contact all the exhibitors to try to sell space for subsequent events.

Operations is all about coordinating all the practical aspects, from booking the venue to supervising the work of contractors such as stand suppliers and caterers. During the event, operations staff liaise with venue workers, exhibitors, sponsors and visitors, dealing with a range of enquiries.

What are the hours and environment? Exhibition staff are mostly office-based and spend a lot of time on the telephone.

They travel to meet potential sponsors and exhibitors, and to visit venues, contractors and other exhibitions. Just before, and during an exhibition, operations staff work long hours, often including weekends, to meet deadlines. Most of the time is spent walking around the exhibition site.

What skills and interests are required? The skills required depend on the exhibition organiser's particular role in sales, marketing or operations.

However, all exhibition organisers should be able to work within a team environment, be able to liaise with people at all levels, from clients to contractors, and have good communications skills with a good telephone manner. In addition, an exhibition organiser should have excellent organisational skills, thrive on working under pressure and to deadlines, have good negotiation skills, particularly in sales and marketing, and have lots of stamina. How do you get started? There are no formal entry requirements, although a good general education is essential and many candidates have BTEC HND or degree-level qualifications, particularly in subjects such as event management, marketing, business studies or languages.

Entry to a degree course requires five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) with two A-levels/three H grades or equivalent qualifications. Entry to HNC/HND courses usually requires one or two A-levels/H grades or equivalent.

An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

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