Event Entertainment 101
Making sure the pieces fit together.
The emphasis on attendee experience has never been greater, so providing thoughtful, purposeful event entertainment is key to successful event execution. The good news is that there are a bevy of corporate entertainers ready to engage your guests. However, there are best practices you should follow to avoid getting stuck with lackluster event entertainment. The event experts at Omnience ™ have shared some of their best tips for securing talented entertainment options for your next event.
Start the Search Early
The more time you give yourself to comb through possible entertainment options, the better. Corporate entertainment is a big industry now, with everything you could possibly want for creating an engaging event for your attendees. Start narrowing down your possible entertainment early for the best fit for your event and budget. Knowing what questions to ask when searching for your entertainment is critical. Below are a few points that will guide you in the process:
- Do you offer a written contract?
- How long have you been a corporate entertainer and how many events have you done?
- What type of events have you done in the past and how successful were they?
- Do you perform for more than one event in a day?
- Are you insured?
- Do you belong to any professional associations or trade groups?
- How would you describe your style?
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- How far in advance do I need to secure your services?
- What do you typically wear?
- What’s your backup plan if there’s an equipment malfunction?
- If the event lasts longer than scheduled, what are the overtime charges?
Hiring the best event entertainment is one of the most important details in event planning, and it’s also one of the toughest to get right. A lot of event planners think that having any entertainment is enough, but it’s not that simple. The right entertainment can turn an event from a good one into a great one. On the other hand, the wrong entertainment can take a good event and make it underwhelming or, even worse, a disaster.
Know Your Budget
Designing events requires meticulous budget keeping. Know your price range before you start looking at possible entertainment so that you don’t waste time on acts that ultimately won’t work for you.
Have a Plan
Even if you are starting your search early on in the event planning process, you need to have a rough plan in place. You should at least have the date, time, and venue pinned down. If you have a theme, that is even better. Simply knowing your venue might inspire or disqualify certain entertainment. For example, if you know a venue has the hardware in place to anchor aerial acrobats, you could start your search there.
Know What You Want
Your event’s specific purpose and schedule will make a big difference in the type of entertainment you hire. Do you want a band or DJ to play in the background of a networking event? Or do you need a headlining act to entertain a thousand attendees at once? Once you know what your needs are, it will be easier to narrow down what kind of entertainment will be right for your event.
Know Your Time Limit
Although a 90-minute show might sound like a good idea during the planning phase, event planners know that can be a long time for your audience to stay engaged. In our experience, a show should last 30 to 50 minutes; more than that and your attendees will start to get restless. Think about the purpose of your event and make sure your entertainment has an act that will fit into the amount of time that you need to fill.
Know Your Crowd
The event experts at Omnience ™ know that one of the most important factors to consider is who your audience will be. A corporate meeting would be the wrong place for a racy magic show. Your event attendees might not appreciate R-rated comedy. Maybe your event is aimed at the techy crowd who would love a technology-based show. While designing your event, devise some keywords to narrow down your search (like “clean sales comedy” or “technology-based magic”); this will help you look more efficiently.
Request a Demo Reel
A demo video or highlight video is standard among professional entertainers. Professional event planning consultants know that while their act might sound perfect in their description, actually seeing them in action is the best way to make a decision. You can also search on YouTube to see if they have any other videos floating around to get an unbiased look at their act.
Know What the Performers Need
You would hate to get caught unprepared on the day of your event because your performer needs at least 200 feet of clearance or can’t perform on the available flooring. Ask what equipment they will be providing and what they need to have at the venue in order to perform.
Make Special Requests
Many entertainers love to work corporate events and meetings, so they are all about tailoring their acts to your audience! Some comedians can work sales topics into their acts, or magicians can incorporate your event’s theme into their performance. It can never hurt to ask, so bring them your ideas and see what they can create.
Plan to Measure Success
A difference between event experts and novices is having a plan to measure the success of your event design. Implement a plan for measuring the effectiveness of your entertainment so that you can quickly gather the data right after the event. This could be in the form of a post-event survey for attendees or sponsors. You could monitor social media or use your event app for feedback as well. Omnience ™ offers event analysis through detailed trend and predictive analysis.
Booking your entertainment is just one working part in the event execution machine. With everything you are doing to ensure smooth event execution, don’t forget these important steps to entertainment success:
Not Keeping Entertainment in the Loop
Whether you have to change venues or your attendance numbers are going to look very different, let your entertainment know. Keeping them on top of the latest event information will make sure they can offer you their best act.
Not Promoting Your Entertainment
Attendees get excited when they see entertainment will be at an event, so let them know who will be there! This is a great way of building buzz and excitement around your event.
Not Going with Your Gut
If they don’t seem engaged in meeting your needs, that is a red flag. If they don’t have an agreement for you to sign and suggest they don’t need one, listen to your gut and walk away. Choose an entertainment act that feels right to you and acts professionally.
After years in the event management industry, we have developed our own tools for flawless event entertainment and execution. Our event planning consultants understand how important event entertainment is and the steps necessary for proper planning and communication. If you need help designing your event, contact us and we will set you up with a consultation.