Trust is key ingredient
Imagine an event where everything is in place and everyone is happy. Putting an event together may seem like a piece of cake, but a lot of planning and behind- the-scenes work leading up to it are actually involved.
Selina Pang, associate director of events at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, serves as the bridge between the clients and her colleagues.
"My job involves communicating with the clients about their requirements for the event, and helping my colleagues understand these so that the event will be a success," she says.
Pang has worked in the hotel industry since she graduated from university and has gained experience of the needs of different departments. "Eventually, I wanted a job that focused on event planning, so I joined the hotel five years ago as events co-ordinator," she says.
Her present role involves planning events for a client base that spans a broad spectrum, from the soon-to-be married to charitable organisations and MICE clients.
Pang says customers are becoming more discerning. "Some of our clients want more flexibility in terms of their event's attendance and budget, while others want more variety in terms of food because of the different cuisines out there," she says.
She also believes the lead time for preparations for an event has become shorter. "Some MICE clients may only give us one week's notice to prepare for the event," she says. "So we need to quickly arrange things such as food and rooms for their stay. But since our staff are experienced, we are able to rise to the occasion [and meet those demands]."
Customers are also becoming more savvy in their search for more advanced technology, Pang says. "Clients who want to hold a conference here are looking for technology that will enhance the event. We have been updating our equipment, so, for instance, our Grand Ballroom is now equipped with an LED wall, which is popular with clients."
What Pang enjoys most about her job is the satisfaction of being able to create something out of nothing.
"In between meeting your clients to holding the event, we need to communicate with them frequently to grasp [exactly] what they want," she says.
"Also, we need to give them guidance and tell them if their requirements are attainable and whether there are better alternatives to what they have in mind."
Pang enjoys collaborating with different departments in the hotel. "My colleagues give me a lot of advice on how to improve an event and I communicate their suggestions to the client," she says. "Being a team player is very important for event planners.
"The trust between the event planner and the client is also very important.
"The ability to look at things from the perspective of both your client and your colleagues is another attribute of a good event planner."