It can be an overwhelming task to hire corporate entertainment for an upcoming conference, awards banquet, or company Christmas party. Today’s business climate necessitates that your entertainment is tastefully done and suited for all audiences. On the other hand, it is easy to get stuck in the corporate rut of doing “the same old thing” year after year.
I was contacted by a Fortune 500 company interested in something unique and different for their annual employee appreciation event. The anticipation for the event had diminished because the planners had fallen into a routine of booking the same old “casino nights” for sixteen years in a row!
So how do you break routine and hire corporate entertainment that is new and engaging for your group? Below are some guidelines to make the hiring process easier for you.
8 Steps to Hire Corporate Entertainment
1. Know Your Budget
Know how much you can spend on entertainment before approaching entertainers to find out about their acts. What you can spend on an entertainer will often dictate the level of entertainment you get.
To help put things in perspective for budgeting purposes, you may wish to determine your “per-person” cost budgeted for entertainment or activities. Planners often utilize the “per-person” cost when budgeting for food and beverages, but they don’t think to use the same budgeting tool to help plan the entertainment!
The finest food and beverages you can buy will soon be a fading memory to your guests, but the right entertainment creates an emotionally impactful, lasting impression.
2. Be Prepared to Discuss Your Event and Budget
Any professional corporate entertainer is going to ask you specific questions about your event, such as:
- What type of event is it?
- Is there a theme to the event?
- How many attendees are expected?
- What are the demographics of the attendees? (Male vs. Female, Executives vs. Staff, Older vs. Younger)
- What’s the general timeline of the event?
By doing this, they are determining if their act is a good match for your group and function.
By discussing your budget with them, you are also finding out if they are within your price range. If so, then you can move on with the process, if not, you are saving everyone time.
3. Request Promotional Material
If after your initial contact with the entertainer you feel comfortable with them and you both agree that there is a possibility that they will be a good match for your group, ask them to send you some promotional material.
The promotional material should contain several letters of recommendation from other corporate event planners, a promotional video showing highlights of the performance, and a sales sheet profiling the show benefits.
4. Review the Promotional Material
After reviewing the promotional material, you will most likely have questions for the entertainer. Give them a call and get your concerns addressed and questions answered.
Make sure that your entertainer is a specialist that knows the needs and expectations of the corporate environment. Some people that claim to be “corporate entertainers” are actually comedians that regularly perform “R” rated shows in comedy clubs. Because they are accustomed to using “blue” material, they are not aware of what is appropriate in the context of a corporate setting. Despite claims that they can do a clean show, they are a poor choice for corporate entertainment– hire at your own risk!
5. Request an Agreement
The entertainer should provide you with a very basic agreement outlining the who, what, where, and when of your event. These will be items you have already discussed with the entertainer. Unless you are booking Britney Spears, the agreement will probably be no more than a single page in length.
The agreement should clearly state what you will be required to provide for the event, such as a sound system or lighting requirements, and what the entertainer will be providing. The agreement should also cover travel fees, per diem charges, meals and transportation. All of this should have been discussed in the initial phone call, and there should not be any surprises for you on the agreement.
6. Keep Your Entertainment in the Loop
Your entertainer is there to enhance your event. Keeping him or her informed of any changes in your event plan helps them to bring you the show you would like, especially if they are doing any customized material for you. A true professional will also want to make sure they are there at the right time to setup and do sound checks well before your guests arrive.
7. Promote Your Entertainment!
Get your people excited by promoting the great entertainment you have booked for them! Your entertainer should be able to make this easy for you by providing you with articles, press releases, and photos that you can use in your event literature to build anticipation.
8. Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Show!
By using these simple steps, you should feel confident that you were able to hire corporate entertainment that is a great fit for your event, so sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!