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Exhibition management & planning: What’s the difference?

Exhibition management & planning: What’s the difference?
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Exhibition and event planning encompass numerous job descriptions and titles; each different in their own way. Exhibition planner, coordinator, manager and so much more; the list seems endless. Throughout the years, exhibition management in Dubai particularly has grown tremendously and so does the list of job functions.

This imminent employment growth is a good thing however; range of planning job functions and titles of event management may be overwhelming for those new to the industry. Likewise, for seasoned professionals, it’s quite frustrating when clients misunderstand the services being offered.

Exhibition management and planning are often used interchangeably but they’re two opposite things. Skill sets of the two may correspond but the real-time functions are distinct which frequently create problems for clients who actually need a planner and instead they approach a manager.

Check the details below to lift this shroud of confusion.

Exhibition planning

The word to focus here is “planning”. All events and exhibitions from corporate gatherings to bridal showers and birthday bashes, starts with a strategic plan based on achievable goals. It involves sharing ideas, themes, budget and dates with clients and customers.

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Event/exhibition planning begins with envisioning the concept and goes all the way till it actually takes place. Some expos are lined up one after another that continues the planning process even after winding up initial details.

Responsibilities that fall under planning process include;

  • Deciding over the theme

  • Budget development

  • Venue selection

  • Negotiating contracts and hiring external vendors

  • Planning the menu and arrange catering

  • Equipment for guest speakers and possible entertainers

  • Transport facility

  • Design and develop invites

In-short, planning is all that’s placed under the larger umbrella of management.

Exhibition management

Almost every event is a composite of numerous pieces just like a jigsaw puzzle. All these pieces eventually merge to form an actual event or exhibition. Absolute success is garnered when different segments come together at the right time and at the right place just according to the plan. In simple terms, the entire process is known as exhibition or project management.

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Coordination and supervision of teams as well as every single individual involved in the process is critical for success. A few major factors of typical exhibition management in Dubai are outlined below but not restricted entirely;

  • Reserving the location

  • Liaise with vendors

  • Develop a parking strategy

  • Design contingency plans

  • Compliance with health and safety standards

  • Monitor event execution

  • Resolve possible onsite issues

Managers & planners working together

Years of industrial expertise in planning may allow individuals to offer management services as well but it all depends on the venue, market you’re operating in and the event itself. When associated to exhibition management in Dubai or anyplace else, understanding the differences between the two concepts is crucial to proceed on track. It’s also to remove confusion allowing clients and customers to get the service they actually want.


Clearly define your role and services to streamline the entire event planning and management process.

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