There is no doubt that many expos, shows, conferences and more are feeling the pinch when it comes to attendance levels. Utilizing targeted celebrity entertainment is one of the most productive and also cost effective ways to boost attendance at your event. Many people think that booking entertainment should be part of any event or expo, but they often fail to realize the full marketing potential when using celebrity entertainment.
You are no doubt going to need to budget accordingly when looking to book a celebrity for your event, but not as much as you might think. You can save money a number of ways. First is to go through an entertainment booking company, not direct. This may seem odd because most people think you would save money by going direct, but the opposite is true. A good entertainment booking company knows how to negotiate complicated performance contracts as well as celebrity riders, which are additional expenses that are not included in the total fee for the celebrity. A rider consists of things like hotel, travel accommodations, dressing room, meals, perks and more. The entertainment company can save money by working with seasoned audio visual people as well as knowing what is necessary and what isn’t when it comes to a celebrity and their rider requirements. You also save time by relying on the relationship of the entertainment company to get you the full performance information from the celebrity, leaving you to do more important things such as marketing and promoting your event. Some other ways to save money when booking celebrity entertainment is to book as far in advance as possible, offer nice perks that do not cost you a ton of money but have a high perceived value, and most importantly work with your entertainment company to find an act that is not red hot at the moment you are looking to book them but still popular, this way you avoid enormous fees and rider requirements. An example of this might be comedian Ray Romano. If you were looking to book him during his TV sitcom days, his fee would be much more than if you book him today. The difference can really make a big impact and can be as large as $50,000 or more, so you save a tremendous amount of money and still benefit from his star power and name.
Once you have selected the appropriate celebrity for your event, the next step is to promote it correctly to boost attendance and really get the best return on investment. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to charge admission to the show, but include one ticket to the show in each registration, that way it does not seem like an added expense, but rather a great and entertaining part of the event. The way you determine the ticket price is by figuring out your total number of attendee’s for the event based on last years attendance level, the cost for the celebrity, and then divide those numbers to see what each ticket needs to be priced at in order to break even. The more attendees you have the less each ticket price has to be, plus you will likely gain new registrations because of the event. Remember, the tickets are part of the entire registration for each attendee. You want to promote the event as a fun and exciting way to network with other professionals in the room. Create as much excitement and anticipation about the event as possible to your attendees. Stress the fact that the celebrity was difficult to obtain and that they only do so many bookings each year. The more buzz you build for the event and the earlier you begin, the easier it is to sell the event as a whole. Make sure you put the celebrity’s face and name and the event on all marketing and promotional materials such as your website, flyers, blog, postcards, email blasts, social networking pages, and more. Utilize these strategies and you are sure to have a wonderful celebrity performance for your event or expo, but more importantly you will see a positive ROI as well.
P.S. Celebrity entertainment is just one targeted way to boost attendance. It must be part of an overall marketing and promotion strategy. Celebrities are rarely the only reason someone will attend an event or expo, but they sure can help to tip the scales in your favor.
Joshua Gair – Impact Entertainment