Tips for New Event Planners
I have been performing for over a decade at private events, corporate functions and colleges. And most of the time clients appear to be overwhelmed when they are putting together an event for the first time. I am currently planning my wedding, and it has been eye opening to see things from the other end of the table. I am always the entertainment, never the one booking entertainment. So I decided to come up with a few tips for anyone planning an event for the first time...or anyone looking for the performers perspective. Please leave any comments or questions below. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or here.
How Many Guests There Will Be?
This seems obvious, but it helps to have a solid head count. It is one of the biggest factors to see if you require a show or strolling entertainment.
What is the Date, Exact Location and Time Frame?
The date can often affect the price (i.e. New Years Eve is a high demand date and a Tuesday in May is probably not), and knowing the time frame needed allows the performer to figure out what form of entertainment will work best. Also, if the event is at a hotel for example, know where everyone should park and what room they should expect to be in. It simplifies everything for you the actual day of the event. And for the performer, note where the changing room or backstage area will be located.
Are You looking for a Show or Strolling Entertainment?
A show is usually only suitable when the event space has an appropriate performance area where everyone can see comfortably. There have been so many events where I have been booked to do a show, when I should have just done strolling entertainment and moved from group to group. Many times guests just want to socialize and a 45-60 min show can take away from that, and vise versa if the room set up is geared for that. Know your group, and what would fit best.
(Please) Never Have Entertainment as a Surprise
Anytime I hear from a client, “They do not know you will be here, it is going to be a surprise!” I want to run away as far as I can. Ultimately it just creates more work on the performers end. We have to constantly keep explaining why we are there, and most people feel like you are an uninvited guest. The goal of the performer, and the event itself, is to to create a memorable and enjoyable experience. If guests don’t find us welcoming, than it really isn’t worth it to have us in the first place.
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend A Little More
It’s pretty simple, you get what you pay for. I look at hiring entertainers like buying an Apple Computer; yes you are paying more upfront, but in the end you are getting a better product that works. Now, I am sure there are many PC users that would disagree, however with this example I don’t mean that you are paying for the “name recognition”, you are paying for a quality show. Apple has built a company selling products that work well (about 90% of the time...do not include the Apple Maps App in this example) . And an entertainer should do the same.
There are hundreds of performers and magicians out there, but only a handful have the experience and necessary skills to entertain a large crowd effortlessly. Now I am not saying pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a magician just because price is the only factor, but if someone is charging you $75 to do a corporate event...there is probably a reason for it.
One final example. I used to take the Megabus between Chicago and Detroit monthly when I was in college. This is a bus ticket that cost $1-$33 most of the time. And more often than not it would be late, or worse, break down. But ultimately I could never get mad at anyone other than myself. I really was getting what I paid for.