Tips for Booking Entertainment for a Corporate Event
Finding entertainment for a corporate convention, holiday party or conference can seem like a overwhelming task. There are literally thousands of excellent, good, and down right horrible corporate entertainers available. This list will give you some advice on how to narrow down your search and find entertainment that will help make your event a success!
#10 – PLAN EARLY. The most popular corporate entertainers book up very quickly for popular dates. During the corporate holiday party season (Nov-Jan), entertainers can begin to book up over a year in advance. Avoid disappointment and start looking for entertainment as soon as you know the date of your corporate event.
#9 – KNOW WHAT YOU WANT (AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE WANTS). You can make your search for an entertainer easier if you have an idea of the type of entertainment that would work well for your group. Popular corporate entertainment includes:
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 show. This variety helps insure that there is something for everyone in the performance.
No matter what type of comedy act your choose, be sure that the comedy is going to be appropriate for your group. Many comedians have different ideas on what “clean comedy” is, so be sure to ask for a demo video to preview the show (see #1 below!)
MUSIC – Many headline singers and bands are available for corporate events.
MAGIC – There are many different styles of corporate magicians and corporate magic shows. Some magicians offer strolling magic (going table to table at your event), some perform large illusion show with special effects and a cast of dancers, others specialize in comedy magic that gets your audience laughing in involved. Whatever styles of corporate entertainment you are looking for, be sure to find a magician who specializes in only that style. There are magicians you will tell you that they do everything – illusions, comedy, strolling, but that is because they are not proficient at any specific style, so all their shows are usually only mediocre. For the best possible show, hire a professional corporate magician who specializes in one style of magic. These performers will be the best in their field in illusion, comedy, or sleight-of-hand because that is all they do.
HYPNOSIS – Hypnotists can be great for the right group. Hypnotist shows are very interactive and require a very outgoing and uninhibited group to really be successful.
#8 – BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE ENTERTAINER TO SAVE MONEY AND HEADACHES. If you book your corporate entertainment directly through the entertainer, you will save money on entertainment. Most corporate entertainment agencies add an additional 15-35% to an entertainer’s fee. By booking a corporate entertainer direct, you also have the convenience of being able to talk with the entertainer (or their office staff) about any questions or concerns. Most corporate entertainment agencies will not let you talk with the entertainer until the day of the show. By booking direct, you can be guaranteed that there are no miscommunications about the performance. You can find direct contact information for entertainers by doing an internet search for “corporate entertainers”, “california comedian”, etc.
#7 – PLAN A REALISTIC BUDGET. The old adage, “you get what you pay for”, applies to entertainment as well. The entertainment is not a place to save a few dollars. You would never cut corners on the food you would feed your guests, and should never cut corners on the entertainment. Bad entertainment can ruin an event just as quickly as bad food. You are not going to be able to get a GOOD quality corporate entertainer to do a show for $400. Fees for a TOP QUALITY, professional corporate entertainer will range from $1500 – $100,000 + depending on the size of the show and the performer’s experience and reputation.
#6 – KNOW THE PERFORMER’S EXPERIENCE. You want a corporate entertainer who primarily entertainers for corporate audiences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions… Is the performer a full-time entertainer? Have they performed at events like yours in the past? Do they have letters of recommendation and reviews from past clients for you to read?
#5 – IF YOU HAVE A SPECIAL REQUEST….ASK! Many entertainers are happy to customize part of their performance for your event. If you have a special request in mind, be sure to discuss this with the performer at the time of booking.
#4 – DISCUSS SET-UP REQUIREMENTS BEFORE BOOKING. Set-up need for entertainers vary greatly. Some can perform in the corner of a room with just a microphone, some need a minimum stage area and special sound and lighting equipment. Be sure that your venue will be able to meet your entertainer’s set-up needs prior to booking.
#3 – LEAVE YOUR GUESTS WANTING MORE. 90 minutes of entertainment may sound like a great idea when you are planning your corporate event, but most audiences do not want to sit through a 90 minute show. A longer show does NOT equal better show. Even the TOP comedians and entertainers in the WORLD (Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, etc) only perform 60-75 minute shows. Professional entertainers and corporate event planners agree that a good length for most corporate live entertainment is 35-50 minutes. It is always better to leave your audience excited and wanting more…rather than having them get tired and start looking at the watch.
#2- KNOW WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE FEE. There are travel expenses associated with hiring national entertainers for your corporate party. Many entertainers include the travel expenses into their performance fee and for some travel will be an additional expense. Be sure to know what is included in the fee you are quoted to avoid any unexpected (and potentially expensive!) surprises.
#1 – MOST IMPORTANTLY – ALWAYS ASK TO SEE A DEMO VIDEO. A demo video is the only way you can truly judge whether a corporate entertainer will be right for your company party. The demo video should be short highlights of the segments of an entertainer’s show. The video should be filmed in front of a live audience so you can see how a real audience reacts to the show. If an entertainer’s video is nothing but split-second clips and flashy graphics set to music, then they are probably trying to cover for an inadequate performance – or worse, it could mean that they have NEVER even performed in front of a real audience.