The Party Host Role: What Is It? Do You Need One?

The Party Host Role: What Is It? Do You Need One?

a woman hosting a small gathering
The party host role is anything but simple.

Are you comfortable playing the party host role?

Most probably, you had the confidence in hosting a party because you did a couple of times and it went fairly great. You can consider it successful. 

As a result, when one of your friends is having a huge party, and you saw the panic in their eyes because they’re clueless what to do… you confidently offered your hosting prowess. They couldn’t appreciate you even more. 

However, after the party, you and your friends are now in a rift, your friendship is on the brink of getting destroyed. Why? Because the party was nowhere great as you promised it should be. It was boring, people walking out and ended up early. 

So, you might be wondering: where did you go wrong? What details did you miss? 

What is the party host role?

event coordinator
A party host is the captain of the ship (the party).

You missed the fact that you are not a professional party/event host. So, what exactly is a party host? 

The party host role involves the following responsibilities:

  • To create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere for event guests and attendees by greeting and providing direction and information. 
  • They work at a wide variety of social functions and venues like restaurants, conferences, art galleries, wedding receptions, and trade shows. 
  • They often work for the venue the event is being held at, but sometimes are employed by event organizing and planning businesses or are self-employed. 
  • The party host role usually involves long hours standing and walking for extended periods of time in crowded areas. 
  • Event hosts typically work irregular hours that include nights, weekends, and sometimes holidays.

Yes, that’s how amazing a party/event host works. 

In this article, we broke down the specifics of a party host role. By reading this post, you can gauge if you can play the party host role or if you need a professional. 

Party and Event Host 101 

An average salary of an event host, depending on experience, can start from $8.00/hr up to $18.00/hr. Yes, you’ve read that right. That’s how big their game is. 

What makes them qualified to earn as much? They have the right skills to slay the job.

1. Interpersonal and Communication skills 

This skill plays a crucial role because the host’s job the whole night is to welcome and introduce guests to one another. 

The host should be knowledgeable about the guests in general, so they can strike up a conversation with every guest, making them feel comfortable. They are also responsible for setting the mood of the guest the moment they walk inside the venue. 

The host will pace the whole room, checking if all guests are having the best time the event can offer. She will also point out and direct to the guest where they can find the bar, the buffet, the bathroom, even to the smallest detail of where to smoke. 

What if your event has activities that would require the participation of your guests but they’re too timid and shy to participate? Nothing to worry, with the host’s outstanding PR skills, she can definitely make them come up on stage! 

Her communication skills with the guests to the staff is impeccable. She knows how to deliver words and instructions with precision and clarity. Her memory should also be sharp to remember the requests from multiple guests all at the same time. 

RELATED: Do Both Parents Go to Birthday Parties?

2. Organization skills 

a woman preparing a dining table
You can’t be a good host if you don’t have this skill.

The moment the client makes contact, she will be present during pre-planning, planning, the actual event. She will be the last one to leave the room so that everything is done to perfection. 

However, an event host will never be overconfident; she will not treat each event the same as the last one. She knows every client and event has unique needs. 

Therefore, she will also dig further about the theme of the party or event. She does this because she wants to make sure that her clients get the utmost satisfaction.

Below is a classic example of a party without having research done:

“My old company hired a comedian for our holiday party. He proceeded to get completely trashed and crossed over into the world of sex, racism, religion, a**hole bosses, gay-bashing, women’s menstruation, et al. The guy kept yelling “F*** ***!” to the HR VP waving his hands / making cut-motions in the back of the room. We settled a lawsuit with three different employees in the months afterward.”

Via Reddit

That story is enough for us to appreciate the time and effort the host gives to produce a perfectly laid-out plan for an event. 

Her research also includes making sure the catering, sound and video system, additional staff and crew will fit right to the budget without sacrificing quality. She can also offer alternatives to work around the project. 

The host also has a strict schedule—from meetings with the client to when to send the invitation, when to contact suppliers et al. She will create a solid plan and a checklist with her to make sure everything is running on schedule. 

A great host is also humble enough to accept that she needs help from other people. 

RELATED: This is How Much Birthday Parties Cost

3. Problem-solving skills 

Not all systems are perfect; however, it pays to prepare for any dire situation that may arise during an event. 

Rest assured the event host also has a contingency plan when something goes off during an event. The event host will make a plan to deal with the following situation:

  • Venue’s security protocol during a criminal attack
  • Medical emergency procedure
  • Power outage
  • Technical problem 
  • Overly drunk guest
  • Food shortage

Those are just some of the scenarios that a host prepares during planning. A well thought out plan, including solutions to problems that may arise, will give the client the peace of mind he or she much needs. 

4. Poise 

Perhaps a sip of champagne will calm your nerves when hosting…

You know you’re fit for a party host role if you can keep your calm. If someone spills food or drinks, if kids scream endlessly… Will you be able to handle it?

If yes, then you might be more equipped to host a party.

Maintaining a clear head is important, especially if the event is upscale. However, may it be a regular private event or with elite guests, you can count on your host that she will dress to kill.

Poise also includes charm, wit to entertain the guests. The host is basically the face of the event. 

5. Multitasking 

This is where you can count on the limbic system of the party host. Her ears can accommodate a multitude of voices telling her this and that. While assisting other guests and staff. 

Now that the skills are out of the way, let’s now proceed with the duties of an event host. Some clients may be specific to the type of duties they want the host to perform. What is listed below is the most basic of duties an event host fulfills.

6. Planning Events 

a busy, smiling event organizer
The host and the party planner can work hand in hand to ensure your party is a bang.

Now this shouldn’t be confused with a party/event planner. An event planner is another manpower that the host can acquire to further ensure the success of an event. The host will work closely with the event planner. Both of them will work on how to plan the event. 

They will list down everything that needs to be done prior to and after the event. The minute details are left with the party/event planner but she’s still under strict guidance from the host. 

RELATED: Can You Throw a Party in a Hotel Room or an Airbnb?

7. Set-Up and Disassembly 

First man in, last man out. The host will be the first person to arrive at the venue even before all the suppliers arrive. Why? Because everything must pass her quality standards. She will make sure that no details will be left behind while suppliers set-up their designated tasks. 

If it is a themed party, she makes sure that everything is in coordination; decors, table set-up; background designs, etc. When the party’s over, she makes sure everything is accounted for to avoid an unnecessary loss that will result in financial penalties.  

8. Interacting with the Guests 

party host role - hostess entertaining guests in a dinner party
The party host role primarily involves graceful entertainment.

This where interpersonal and communication skills should function properly. The host makes sure that every guest is welcomed properly, then guided properly with the functions and features of the event.

Showing the guest how they can utilize the whole venue to their comfort. After welcoming all the guests, the host will check every corner of the venue, making sure that all guests are attended to. She is also on the look-out for possible mishaps during the event. 

RELATED: Do You Tip Birthday Party Entertainers?

9. Closely Monitor the Program and Activities 

The host will work closely with the client and the event planner to make sure that everything on the program is followed by the dot. 

It is definitely a must, especially if the venue is paid. The host is aware that overtime will incur additional payments that are beyond what is agreed. Therefore, the host makes sure that the program starts and ends on time. This minimizes delays. 

10. Monitoring the Food Service and Quality 

hostess-taking-care-of-the-dining-set-and-food
The host can also ensure your guests are eating right.

People sometimes forget the event, who planned the event, or the activities happened at the event. However, if you serve them with sub-par quality food paired with bad service, it will be remembered forever by the guests. 

The host understands that food quality and handling is a crucial aspect of the success of an event. Therefore, the host makes sure that the food and drinks are enough for everyone and runs smoothly. She often communicates with the bar, the chef and the rest of the kitchen staff to assure that the event is flowing seamlessly. 

11. Secondary Support 

Definitely, the staff and crew are handled by the events coordinator and planner. However, sometimes it gets too overwhelming for them because of the pressure, especially if it is a VIP event. 

Therefore, the host will be proactive enough to provide help if there’s a space lacking in terms of management. This is to ensure that the event will be a success despite the fact that unwanted situations may arise. 

Those are the basic skills and tasks that your party/event host has on her arsenal. If the host you are hiring has all these skills, then you are in for luck. Overall, the party host is a one-man army, like Rambo. So what type of events does a party host cater to? 

party host role - two newly wed couples at a wedding reception

Private Events 

These events involve sharing intimate moments with your loved ones and close friends, away from the eyes of the public. There are the types of private events:

  1. Weddings
  2. Birthdays
  3. Themed Parties
  4. Wedding Anniversaries
  5. Family Events
  6. VIP Events
party host role - corporate event, public speaker talks to a crowd

Corporate Events 

Business owners use these to further promote their brand or create more professional bonds between employees, especially between different companies that work closely together benefiting future business expansion.

  1. Conferences
  2. Seminars
  3. Team Building Events
  4. Trade Shows / Expos
  5. Executive Retreats
  6. Business / Corporate Dinners
  7. Corporate Golf Days
  8. Product Launches
  9. Shareholder / Corporate Board Meetings
  10. Year-End Functions
fundraising event

Fundraising Events 

Nonprofit groups use these events to raise awareness.

  1. Fun run/walk
  2. Marathons events and the likes)
  3. Competition (non-sport)
  4. Auction
  5. Art Exhibit
  6. Gala
  7. ConcertSporting Event

Common Party Handling Mistakes

party host role - bored kids at a party
Sometimes the host can be a key factor to a bad party.

Now, you have a complete run-through of the skills and tasks involved in a party host role. We’re sure that the next question you have in mind is ‘should I hire one?’ 

If it is just a small group consisting of no more than ten people, I think no need to hire one, it is so easy to handle a small group. However, if it is an event or party with a huge crowd, it is better to get professional help. 

You want the event to be memorable and not detestable. The party host role this time might even involve more tasks and specialized skills. 

If you insist on handling the big event on your own, check out these common mistakes people make when handling the party on their own. 

1. Angry Neighbors 

If you browse through Reddit, the stories shared about neighborhood parties will amaze you. One of them is a very irate and angry neighbor. Why? Sounds a blaring, noisy drunk crowd. The result? Police knock on your doors answering complaints. Hosts often forget to give a heads up to their neighbors they will be hosting a party. 

2. Strangers Inside Your Home 

Since you are busy handling other things like food and beverages, you forgot that you invited a lot of people—and they don’t know who’s who. The host’s job is to introduce guests to one another to break the ice. It also gives a warm feeling of welcomeness. 

If you miss this part, half of the people in the event are not talking to each other. If your guest doesn’t know anyone in the event, they might feel alienated and end up going home early. Not all people have amazing social skills—they need to be introduced.

3. No Wine or Beers on The Cooler. 

This is another party killer in the making. Always remember that whenever there’s an adult party, everyone expects that the host will have a bar or a giant cooler stocked with alcohol or beer.

Unless you clearly specified on your invitation that you are not serving alcohol and beer, your guest wouldn’t be expecting much.

4. Food Good For One Serving Only 

Next to the absence of alcohol is the lack of food. This will immediately end your event… in a bad way. Failing to measure the ratio of food with the number of guests is outright irresponsible. 

Worse, the newly arrived guests have no food to eat because it has run out. The absence of food creates an atmosphere that an abundant feast has come to its end and everybody needs to go home. You will be remembered forever as the host that made his guests starve. 

5. Spotify or Youtube as Background Music 

We all know that music dictates the mood of the event. Music adds that positive festive vibe to the event. It brings all the senses alive. Then you end up using your smartphone as your sound system, connected to small speakers. Random music playing with product ads on the side just because you thought having a DJ is overkill and your phone will suffice. 

6. Being the “my-parents-are-strict” Host. 

What do you mean by that? You give a lot of rules during the event, don’t do this, don’t do that. Don’t go there. You’re like telling everyone what not to do during your party. You’re putting a leash in each and every one of your guests. That’s very off-putting and would definitely make them bail out early from your party.

The Pros of Hiring a Party Host

party host role - two confident hosts, woman and man at the backstage
If you’re not confident with your hosting skills, let the confident people take over.

Now, you are already familiar with the situations when people try to hold a large event or party without professional help.

To further reinforce our points, let’s discuss more why you should let a pro play the party host role. 

1. Great entertainment value

Event companies are highly competitive against one another. Therefore, you are assured that their staff and employees are meticulously selected, including the person who will play the party host role. 

As part of giving value to their potential clients, they would only provide high-quality hosting service. Therefore, more often than not, the host they hire is highly experienced already. Even if it is a newbie, it is well trained to handle different types of events. 

2. Professionalism 

If you’re holding an event that is related to your business, a professional event/party host will be a great tool to educate your audience. Your potential clients and business investors about the features and benefits of your business. 

Even better, professional hosts value your business at the same level as yours. That is why you can be confident that they would give the best first impression of your business.  

3. DJ booth control 

This is a must, sometimes hired DJs tend to get ahead of themselves and think that since they are the music, they command the tempo of the event. They forget that they are only a part of the event. 

Professional event hosts are very good at disciplining DJs because they know the program flow. Through that, they can direct the DJ what type of music to play, how loud it should be and everything that revolves around it. 

4. Wider Connection 

If you’re a start-up and want to have wider connections so that your business can start making a name and generate potential leads for potential sales growth. Why not leave it to the professionals?

When everything is all about digital marketing, your host can make a buzz on your social media platforms. Your host can ask for feedback during the event by sending a DM or Tweet to your business accounts. Your host can also promote posting the event on their social media using specific hashtags. Now that’s widening your connection. 

Bottom line

By the end of the day, your host is a human being too. So, don’t expect him or her to be the perfect working machine because you shelled out some money.

There is no college degree regarding the event and party hosting; however, appreciate the fact that they are so good at what they do despite shortcomings. 

Your host is in the front-line, sideline, and back-line of the event before it starts and even after everyone has gone home sleeping.

Having a professional play the party host role will give you the peace of mind. Trust us, you will badly need this when producing big events, whether it is for a private function or in a corporate set-up. 

Related questions:

What do you think is the most important aspect of being a party/event host? 

As an event host, you must have proper knowledge of what your audience or guests like. You should know their interests and tastes. Aside from that, it is also important that you have something new to bring to the table—something that you are confident that would be liked by the majority of guests. 

Which is better: hosting your big event or getting a professional hosting service?

Sometimes, it’s better if you play the party host role yourself. That is because you will know a majority of the guests. And by that, it means that you know their interests and what would make them enjoy the party. 

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