The first step to booking entertainment like a pro is to consider your event needs. Why are you planning this event? What do you hope to achieve? By keeping your event goals in mind, you can make sure that every element, including the entertainment, fits into your needs. For example, if you’re planning a convention or expo featuring a variety of businesses & entrepreneurs, booking entertainment that can also provide a Meet/Greet or time to stroll the expo floors can have an invaluable effect on the attendee experience, as well as provide content for future digital marketing needs.
If you’re planning a theme party, you’ll want the atmosphere of your event to match. And pairing the right entertainment with an event or special occasion can totally transform the atmosphere of the party. While Las Vegas Showgirls might be ideal for a Vegas casino party, they also make a great addition for award nights and ribbon cutting ceremonies. The idea is to combine your event needs and party theme/occasion, while not being afraid to think outside of the box. Other things to consider when booking live entertainment for your party or event:
Number of Guests
If you’re hosting a large convention or expo, you’ll want to scale the entertainment to engage a large audience. On the other hand, you also may not want an entire, full size, big band to entertain you & your 3 dinner guests. The point is don’t be afraid to scale the entertainment to your event needs. Of course, if you want a full size, big band to entertain you and your 3 guests, hey - we’re here for it.
Type of Event
When booking party entertainment, you should also consider the type of event or occasion. We’ve performed for all types of clients from Corporate and Government, to Celebrities, Nightclubs and Churches. And fortunately, we’re able to customize our performances to different client & audience needs. But, you may be booking entertainment that doesn’t have that kind of flexibility. And that’s when it pays to keep your type of event or occasion in mind. No club hopper wants to see a children’s birthday party magician on their night out. And the church crowd may not be too happy with the pole dancer you just booked. Or, maybe they will. Who knows - no judgement. That’s for another blog. But when it comes time for booking, you want to make sure your entertainment is appropriate for your audience.
Advanced Bookings (When Possible)
Book your event entertainment in advance to secure your top choices. A great professional event entertainer can not only dazzle your guests, but they can also keep the booking process simple & easy. And many event entertainers can handle short term bookings as well. But, that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to book. The less time you have until your event date, the more limited your options for entertainment will be. Most professional event entertainment will book dates up to a year in advance. And if you’re lucky, you can get amazing entertainment on a short notice booking, but higher fees will likely apply. Save yourself the stress and possibility of higher rates by booking in advance when possible.
When its time to start researching event entertainment for your party or corporate event, decide if you want to book through an agency, or book the entertainment directly. A reputable entertainment agency can guide you through the booking process which can provide a level of security if you don’t have experience booking entertainment. But event entertainment booking agencies also add a percentage as a booking fee. The fee could be well worth it if you live in an area with limited entertainment. But if you live in, or near a larger city with a strong market for event entertainment, you can cut costs by hiring entertainment directly. These days, most entertainers are easy to find with websites, social media and online profiles. And by doing a little research, along with asking the right questions, you can decide which entertainment act will be best for your party or event needs. Here are some key questions to ask:
How many hours are included and what are their rates?
A two hour minimum is usually the standard for booking event entertainers. But many theme party entertainers are flexible and can accommodate various event hours, usually from 1 - 4 party hours. But of course this will vary per entertainer, and be affected by any other bookings they have lined up for your date.
Does the party entertainment have any overtime fees?
There are some corporate entertainers that will charge you for every single minute of overtime past their contracted hours. At Stella Entertainment, performers are flexible and can accommodate you if your event times get slightly off. Life happens. And beyond that, our overtime rates come at a discounted rate so that your event can go on to create lasting memories.
Can you see the performers live, or do they have video they can share?
You never want to book entertainment without seeing at least a video of a previous performance. Want to attend a live performance? Just ask. But keep in mind, if the entertainment only has corporate & private bookings lined up on their calendar, it might not be possible to see a live performance. And that’s okay. Would you be okay with seeing a few strangers at your wedding or private family occasion? Wedding crashers are only cute in a Hollywood movie.
What time will the entertainment arrive?
We’ve known some party entertainers to show up just as the party is starting, which is great when it works. But most days, there’s always some weekend event, or some unfortunate car accident that holds up traffic. You want to make sure you book performers that will arrive early and be set & ready to go at start time.
What type of wardrobe will the entertainment wear?
It’s time to think back to your event needs or theme. Consider what type of party you’re having and who your guests are. We’re not encouraging you to micromanage every detail of the entertainment. But you want to make sure the wardrobe will be in line with the type of event you’re planning. If it’s black tie, it’s okay to want the entertainment in something more formal. And if your guests are on the conservative end, you want to make sure the performers’ attire isn’t considered offensive to your event guests.
How many breaks will the entertainment take?
You don’t want to waste your entertainment budget on a musical act that takes a 45 minute break when they’re booked for just one hour. And if you book belly dancers for several hours, they’ll definitely need a break for water, bathrooms, vendor meals & etc. The most successful events have a steady ebb & flow to them, even when they’re strategically timed. So you don’t have to send a SWAT team to monitor the time, but you’ll definitely want an estimate of how many breaks the entertainment will take, and for how long, so there are no surprises.
Does the entertainment have any performance or gig requirements?
Find out if the event entertainment needs a particular type of space to perform in, sound equipment, vendor meals or etc. You don’t want to find out the day of your party or event that the performers can’t actually perform in your space. We’ve developed a flexible show with many of our acts at Stella Entertainment, so they can be performed in a variety of event spaces from large stages to intimate backyards. Plus, we also have the option of providing our own sound equipment for smaller events.
Does the entertainment provide anything other than the performance?
Booking live event entertainment to engage your guests is a great way to enhance any party atmosphere. For social events like weddings, family gatherings and birthday parties, this can help create life-long guest memories. And for the party & event planners, or those hosting corporate events and charity galas - photo opportunities with the event entertainment can be great for digital marketing content, while creating brand awareness and company visibility. Ask the performers if they provide any photo opportunities with the guests, or any additional services.
Remember researching event entertainment options in Step #2? To create an estimate on how much to spend for entertainment, consider the rates of your top choices. You can take the average of your top entertainment choices, and compare it to your overall event budget to decide on a budget for the entertainment. And remember, the cheapest entertainers aren't necessarily the best.
Once you have the logistics squared away you can request a contract with the entertainment. Always be sure to have an agreement in writing to guarantee the entertainment for your party or event. This process usually consists of a written contract or agreement with the talent, along with an invoice for your records. And most professional performers will require a deposit (usually 50%) to commit to your date. If you decide to book the talent directly (YAY to you for supporting small business) they’ll provide you with booking forms (the contract and invoice.) And if you book through an agency, they’ll provide you the booking forms on behalf of the entertainment. The contract should outline everything the performers will provide along with your agreement to pay your remaining balance on the day of the event.