The Evolving Role of “Temporary Event Staffing”

Group of Onsite Professionals

Written by Cara O'Neill

Cara O’Neill is a Project Manager at GCG Event Partners where she has happily set up shop for over 15 years. Her professional background may be in the meeting & event industry; however, she enjoys the multi-tasking involved in her day-to-day operations contributing to marketing GCG and the many services it provides.

May 23, 2019

What do you think of when you hear the term “Temporary Event Staffing”? If you’re like many, you probably envision services that are provided on an as-needed basis for a pre-determined length of time. Staffing agencies provide personnel to provide services in corporate, administrative, technical, trade and other adhoc industries. The use of hiring event staff has increased exponentially over the last decade. The ease in which a company can outsource its workload demands using staffing services has proven to be cost effective as it eliminates the need to onboard permanent employees.

What Temporary Event Staffing means in the meeting and event industry is similar to the general term, however, it differs in that it caters to a sect who require a specific skill set, experience and expertise. Comprised of a network of over 4,000 members possessing varying credentials and certifications, GCG Event Partners  can provide the perfect solution to all facets of event management. Dating back to 2003, the very early days of operations, our membership was largely comprised of professionals identified as Travel Directors located across the country. Also referred to as Trip Directors (TDs) or On-Site Meeting Managers (OSMs), most were employed by corporate travel agencies, whose main responsibility was to manage and direct groups of people at an event or serve as tour guides and direct groups traveling inside and outside of the country. The profession and its role have evolved exponentially over the past few decades.

Professional Temporary StaffIn our industry, there are quite a few titles associated with temporary event staff. Whether a person identifies themselves as a meeting planner, event professional or on-site assistant, it only means one thing: they possess the proper credentials and/or experience and know-how to perform at the high level that is expected in the field of event management. When we think about direct on-site experience, consider the professional’s longevity in the industry as indicative of their expertise. There is a wide variety in the experience level of personnel available depending on the staffing company you are working with. If you are hiring temporary event staff, make sure you know the caliber of staff you are getting.  For example, GCG’s members have 11 years of onsite experience on average and acceptance into our network requires at least 3 years of direct onsite management experience with confirmed corroborating references.

Meeting and event planners recognize that the success of an event is paramount. Hiring temporary event staff in our industry can make even the most seasoned meeting planner a little bit nervous.  It’s not easy to relinquish the commanding reins of control for your event and entrusting hired staff to see your event through to fruition can seem daunting. At GCG, we’ve built our reputation by clearly defining the services we can provide and how those services differentiate us from what one thinks of as a typical temporary staffing company. Our clients provide us with the responsibilities of an assignment and their expectations of the onsite professional. We then search our network and hand-select an onsite professional that is best suited to fulfill those onsite needs based on their professional background. Be wary of companies that quickly provide you with the first available person or people, they may not suit your onsite needs.

On-site management staffing offers many different types of services. Whether its registration assistance, door greeters, room monitors or a designated assistant to provide the extra help needed, temp staff can provide a solution. Temporary event professionals are also capable of managing an event’s logistics from beginning to end. When GCG receives a request to supply a temporary event planner, we search through our extensive database of viable candidates who can fulfill the on-site needs requirements.

Here’s a small sample of some of the roles that GCG uses to define its temporary event staffing services:

On-Site Meeting Professionals: Often times, this group of seasoned pros are independent contractors in search of new opportunities to demonstrate their onsite management prowess. This level of experienced professionals can manage an event’s “run of show”. The end-client is responsible for the logistical pre-planning, managing tasks which can include securing the venue, coordinating facilitator/speaker arrangements, creating invites, selecting food and beverage and ordering audio-visual equipment. The onsite meeting professionals then step in to facilitate and oversee the event. To support a smooth hand-off, there’s an opportunity for pre-event correspondence and conference calls that are helpful for reviewing the itinerary and discussing what the client’s overall expectations are. This exchange of information is a key component in the partnership as it sets the temporary event professional up for success once onsite and making sure the client’s objectives have been fulfilled.

Trade Show Personnel: Over the years, our industry has seen a measurable increase across all industries of the number of trade shows taking place in the US. When considering what the goals are of participating in a one however, it’s important to be aware of and understand what the most important things are to consider while onsite. While clients are busy meeting potential new customers, temporary trade show professionals can be stationed in the booth greeting and answering guest questions, demonstrating the product and/or service, collecting lead contact information and distributing marketing materials.

Onsite Professional working registrationRegistration Assistance: Conventions, conferences and other types of large events often require a process where the invited attendees’ check-in upon their arrival at the event. Registration personnel are experienced in using different types of registration software. They are also skilled greeters who welcome the attendees and serve as the first impression of the event. At these large events, the registrars’ main objective is to provide a seamless flow of admission that maneuvers effectively and efficiently.

Small meetings and events often require registration as well, especially when considering CME meetings where a stringent set of compliance regulations must be adhered to. Registrars can make sure that attendee registration forms are filled out legibly and completely which is important because the forms are used for reconciliation purposes. Open Payments  mandates by law that the relationship between the event attendee and the event’s sponsor be transparent.

Venue Site Inspectors: When considering where to host an event, experienced meeting professionals who are located close to the proposed venues can serve as a valuable resource. Selecting the right venue is an important first step in the meeting planning process and these temporary event professionals are proficient in understanding what will be important to consider based on the nature of the event. They can visit the venues and relay to the venue representative what the client’s overall vision and expectations are and then report back their findings to the client.

For more information about GCG’s temporary event staff services, please visit our website.

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  1. Sandeep Sharma

    Hey Blogger! I read your blog. It is quite interesting & impressive. The way you explain things is appreciable. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Cara O'Neill

      We are happy to hear you found this blog interesting and informative, thank you. Please be sure to check back for more industry related blogs to come.


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