Event Service Professionals Association
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Explore ESPA and the profession of Event Service

What is Convention or Event Service Management?
Why explore a career in this profession?
Why join ESPA?
Donald S. Freeman Jr. Annual Conference Scholarship
How to Join

What is Convention or Event Service Management?

The profession of Convention or Event Services is a dynamic, fast-paced, and ever-evolving career path! A critical part of the event planning process, the role as the CSM brings ongoing interaction with meeting planners and members of your community as well as in-depth exposure to the hospitality industry.

A meeting planner’s primary points of contact with the city, hotel or convention facility where their meeting is being held is the Convention or Event Services Manager (CSM). The planner and CSM work very closely together and become true partners in the execution of events.

The following description is excerpted from Professional Meeting Management, fifth edition, by PCMA, which included editorial contributions by ESPA members.

The convention or event services manager (CSM) assists the meeting manager with coordination of meeting details and services before, during and after the meeting. The CSM is the lead contact between the meeting manager and the city, hotels, convention facility and local suppliers. CSMs are employed by convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), hotels, and convention facilities and can have titles that vary by facility. Some of the different titles a meeting manager might encounter include:

  • Director of Convention Services
  • Convention Services Manager
  • Event Services Manager
  • Event Coordinator
  • Conference Services Coordinator
  • Operations Manager

Ideally, the CSM helps customers obtain resources for promotional and publicity material, identify personnel for registration and other related purposes, and provide for their contractual needs. In essence, the CSM becomes the client’s on site liaison. The CSM evaluates and offers goods and services that increase the event’s efficiency and provide cost savings. Done properly, this action can help the client increase attendance, gain access to the goods and services that they and their exhibitors or vendors need, and make the community aware of the organization’s presence and mission.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau Convention Services Manager

The CSM provides continual assistance during the meeting’s initial planning process, on-site during the actual meeting, and after the meeting is over. The CVB CSM’s broad-based knowledge allows them to work throughout the community providing clients with access to a full range of destination services and suppliers. They can educate the meeting manager on local policies and procedures, products, services and venues.

The Hotel Convention Services Manager

In contrast to the CVB CSM, the hotel CSM coordinates the services that are required to support a meeting held in a hotel. A hotel CSM is well-versed in the operation of each hotel department and assists meeting managers with all the details involved with their meetings. A meeting manager can request that the hotel CSM join the hotel sales manager during the initial site visit. The hotel CSM is a valuable source of information throughout the booking process and can offer alternatives to both parties based on experiences with similar events.

The Convention Center CSM

The role of the CSM in a convention center has unique features and responsibilities unlike those of a CSM in a hotel environment or at a CVB. Multi-tasking, a part of all three disciplines, is expanded for the Center CSM. Sales manager(s) from the center and, in some cases, the CVB are the first to interact with the CSM at the center. Subsequently, a myriad of vendors, labor sources from both inside and outside the facility, catering concerns, billing and other accounting services from multiple departments, together with a host of personnel managers from various departments within the center are all centralized and, to some degree, managed or, at least, directed by a single source in the convention center, the CSM. This one-stop management system is not necessarily universal.

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Why explore a career in this profession?

Hear direct from some leading service manager professionals

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Why join ESPA?

Benefits of membership | How to Join | Testimonial Video

Benefits of membership

  • Networking and mentorship opportunities with professionals working in the field, and the ability to make great contacts for your future in the meetings industry
    • Local groups host events in cities around the country

    • Each student member is paired with an event services professional who will serve as an industry and association mentor

  • Professional association involvement is a great resume builder, making you more attractive to prospective employers
    • Involvement shows your dedication to the meetings industry

  • Opportunities to participate in remote training and education right from your computer
    • One hour web seminars, Webinars, are scheduled throughout the year and are presented by professionals in the field to address recent trends within the industry
    • Webinars are complimentary for current ESPA student members
    • Webinars are also recorded and are available for future viewing on the Members-only section of the ESPA web site
  • Student members receive priority consideration for Donald S. Freeman Jr. Conference Scholarship

  • Receive monthly ESPA newsletter that includes industry-related articles, association news, and tips from professionals as well as receiving "Member Only" information
    • Articles are also archived on the member web site

  • Provides you with an opportunity to be part of a group that collaborates and learns from each other to help gain practical and relevant experience
    • The opportunity to learn first-hand about working in the industry and what to expect in the workplace.
  • Students have access to an industry focused internship job bank to assist in career preparation

  • Students will gain Continuing Education Hours that can help qualify and earn the CMP designation (Certified Meeting Professional)

  • Opportunity to participate in ESPA's Social Network Groups (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to pose questions to industry professionals

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ESPA is dedicated to elevating the event and convention service profession and to preparing members, through education and networking, for their pivotal role in innovative and successful event execution.
Metropolitan State College of Denver student Amber Mitchell enjoys lunch with ESPA members at the 2012 Conference Awards Luncheon

How do meeting planners view the role of Convention Services Managers?

Vanessa Kane

Bethany Chirico


How to Join

There are two different categories of membership for students:

Individual Student membership - $25 - any student engaged in hospitality or convention management study at an accredited college or university. To join at this level, simply sign up in the online store through the My ESPA Portal link on the web site.

Educational Institution - $50 - any accredited post-secondary college, university or school. The membership shall comprise one (1) educator to serve as the primary member contact, to be specifically named and updated by the institution. The institution primary contact may extend membership benefits to up to five (5) enrolled students. Let your educators know about this opportunity! Have them contact info@espaonline.org for details.


San Diego State University student Brittanie Martinez, ESPA Scholarship award recipient, pictured with Freeman representative, Gary Stauffer

Student Jennifer Matthews is recognized by ESPA Board member Eric Blanc
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