Austin Mahone performs for a crowd (Photo: Michael Jurick)
Adding a celebrity entertainer to the event agenda can turn a standard meeting into a memorable affair. But booking talent doesn't have to break the bank. Following, celebrity producer Rachel Dalton shares four tips for securing stars on any budget.
"The value is immeasurable," says Dalton. "Whether it's for a client event or a company's own employees, celebrities generate a lot of excitement. It makes the company look interesting and willing to go the extra mile to host something special."
1. Consider Unique Experiences
Booking a big-name artist like Bon Jovi or Beyoncé for a musical performance can run into the seven figures. But there are other entertainment alternatives that might be easier to fit into the budget. Consider booking a YouTube star, organizing a cooking demo or luxury meal with a celebrity chef, or bringing in a professional athlete or coach to give a motivational talk.
"I think planners don't always think of celebrities. If they do, they often think they are too expensive, or don't understand how to manage the celebrity portion of the event, as it is a job unto itself," says Dalton. "But there are celebrities at a variety of price points."
2. Rearrange the Funds
Event coordinators should always include entertainment funds in the budget but if that's not possible or the celebrity you're eyeing is just out of reach, then it's best to reallocate funds from another category. For example, paperless invites and agendas can save printing costs, and meeting menus can be modified to cut down on the number of courses served or to substitute more economical entrees.
"Remember, people won't remember the décor or filet mignon, but they will remember Jim Gaffigan or Tina Fey doing a hysterical comedy set as an icebreaker or dinner entertainment," Dalton points out.
3. Look Local
In addition to booking costs, planners must also account for the travel fees of the entertainer. One way to get around this and cut expenses is to focus on local talent. Take time to research which artists are based in the area. Then, check with the nearby venues and arenas to see who's on the bill.
"Consider finding a celebrity that is already performing in town during the few days of your event," suggests Dalton. "That way, you only have to pay for their talent fee and some minor expenses such as ground transportation."
4. Get Creative
For planners working on a tight budget, Dalton recommends a little out-of-the-box thinking. Look for up-and-coming artists or lesser-known entertainers linked to big names.
"Though it would be fabulous to have Billy Joel sing his favorite classics," says Dalton, "his daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, is very talented too."