Top 10 Tips for Booking Corporate Entertainment
Hiring entertainment for a corporate event is an important responsibility. Having performed nearly 10,000 shows in every circumstance imaginable I feel both obligated and qualified to share these corporate entertainment booking tips with you.
Since David Letterman is retiring this year, I thought it fitting to provide these tips in a format he's made famous. So, without further adieu, drum roll please Paul Shaffer.
Booking Corporate Entertainment: Tip #10
Popular corporate entertainers book up quickly. You can avoid disappointment by looking for the perfect entertainment (see tip #3 below) as soon as you know the date of your corporate event.
Once you know the exact type of entertainment you are having, you can plan around that entertainment. Keep in mind, the setup of the room can vary depending on the performer (see tip #6 below).
Booking Corporate Entertainment: Tip #9
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Know your entertainment budget before contacting performers. The old adage, "you get what you pay for" applies to entertainment as well. What you can afford for an entertainer will dictate the quality. Fees for a top quality, professional corporate entertainer will depend on the performer's experience and reputation as well as the date, location, and size of the show.
Put it in perspective, just as you do for food budgeting. Determine your "per-person" cost for entertainment. The finest food and beverages will soon be a fading memory to your guests. Quality entertainment creates an emotional impact and lasting impression. How much fun they had at your event is what creates memories; not how many chicken skewers they were able to scarf down!
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #8
Your entertainer is there to enhance your event. Keeping him or her informed of any changes in your event helps them bring you the best possible performance.
Many entertainers can customize their performance for your event. If you have a special request in mind, be sure to bring it up. If they're doing a customized show it's essential to get the required information to them as early as possible.
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #7
KNOW THE PERFORMER'S EXPERIENCE
You want a corporate entertainer who primarily entertainers for corporate audiences and has a lot of experience doing so.
Don't be afraid to ask questions...
Is the performer an experienced full-time entertainer who makes showing up early and doing a great job for the client their top priority?
Have they performed at many events like yours so they'll be prepared properly to provide an outstanding performance?
Are they easy to reach and communicate with and show professionalism in their approach to providing you with a stress-free booking experience.
Do they have legitimate and glowing reviews from past clients for you to read?
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #6
DISCUSS SET-UP REQUIREMENTS BEFORE BOOKING
Set-up needs for entertainers vary greatly. Some can perform in the corner of a room with just a microphone. Some acts need a minimum stage area and special sound and lighting equipment. Be sure your venue will be able to meet your entertainer's set-up needs prior to booking.
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #5
IF YOU HAVE A SPECIAL REQUEST...ASK!
Your questions may even lead to new ideas to enhance your event that you hadn't thought of!
Ask the entertainer if they offer any special packages. Your entertainer may have a package that will make your event extra specials.
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #4
KNOW WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE FEE
There are travel expenses associated with hiring International entertainers for your corporate party. Some entertainers include the travel expenses in their performance fee and for some travel will be an additional expense item.
Be sure to know what is included in the fee you are quoted to avoid any surprises.
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #3
HIRE THE RIGHT TYPE OF ENTERTAINER
Make sure your entertainer is a corporate entertainment specialist who knows the needs and expectations of the corporate environment.
A comedian that regularly performs "R" rated shows in comedy clubs or a magician that typically works at child birthday parties would probably not make suitable choices for a typical for a typical corporate conference!
The most popular types of corporate entertainment shows are:
COMEDY – Comedy acts can be a great way to get your group laughing together. Comedy acts don't have to be just stand-up comedians. Many corporate comedy acts blend magic, juggling or other variety performances into their comedy magic show. This variety helps make sure there's something for everyone in the performance.
MAGIC – There are many different styles of corporate magicians and corporate magic shows. Some magicians offer strolling magic (entertaining small groups at a time), some are most suitable for tradeshows, others specialize in comedy magic that gets your audience involved and laughing.
MENTALISM – Mentalists (my primary category), also know as Mind-Readers and Psychic Entertainers have become very popular during the past few years. Be careful though. For every entertaining Mentalist there at least 10 boring ones. A great Mentalism show will be amazing, funny, and fast-paced. Of course, appropriate audience participation, as with all shows, is key to the success of the performance.
HYPNOSIS – Hypnotists can be great for the right group. Hypnotist shows are very interactive and require an outgoing and uninhibited group to really be successful. Like stand-up comedians, many of these performers do not do a squeaky clean show so be very clear on your needs and expectations.
ENTERTAINMENT WITH A MESSAGE – Some entertainers (typically Magicians) can do a solidly entertaining presentation involving a business or motivational message f?r you event. This is can also be a powerful way to attract and keep people at a tradeshow booth.
No matter what type of act you choose, be sure the content is appropriate for your group. Performers have difference ideas on what "clean material" is. be sure to discuss this clearly and see a demo video to preview the show if this is a concern (See tip #1 below).
Booking Corporate Entertainment Tip: #2
REQUEST A CONTRACT
The entertainer should provide you with a simple contract outlining your agreement along with the date, fee, location of your event as well as any other arrangements agreed upon.
The contract should clearly state what you will be required to provide for the event, such as a sound system or lighting requirements, and exactly what the entertainer will be providing.
AND THE... #1 Tip for Booking Corporate Entertainment...
NEVER BOOK AN ACT WITHOUT SEEING THEM LIVE OR ON A DEMO VIDEO
Seeing an act in person, or a demo video is the only way you can truly judge whether a corporate entertainer will be right for your company event.
The demo video should be short highlights of the segments of an entertainer's show. The video should be filmed in a front of a live audience so you can see how a real audience reacts to the show. If an entertainer cannot provide you with a video or you have not personally seen and loved their act... DO NOT hire this performer!