Four Tips for Hiring a Celebrity for an Event

Celebrity appeal can add gravity and excitement to an event. From athletes, musicians and actors to politicians, business moguls and industry leaders, well-known names and successful people draw the attention of meeting attendees and the media. Here are four helpful tips for making the most of a celebrity booking from some of the industry's most successful talent booking agents.

Authentic Connections

Meeting planners must have a thorough understanding of their attendees in order to select the right talent for a celebrity booking. Not every celebrity is right for every event, and not every event is appropriate for just any guest. "Pick someone who is the right fit for your audience and connects directly with them," says Jarron Jordan, executive vice president of of Thuzio, a talent procurement team that connects brands with celebrities. "To ensure event success, choose talent that speak authentically and passionately to the interests of your guests."

Budget Right

"A lot of clients want someone that they can't afford," says Mike Esterman, agent to the stars. In fact, in most cases, the celebrities themselves dictate their own rates. "A lot of people think that we make up the rate, but our clients tell us how much they want to get to leave the house," Esterman adds.

In addition to talent fees, be sure to plan for the extra expenses that come along with a celebrity booking. Says Jordan, "the biggest celebrities expect first-class (or private) airfare and accommodations, hair and makeup, as well as expenses for an assistant or two." These costs can add up quickly and undermine a planner's budget if not anticipated.

Venue Compatibility

Whether stemming from logistics or personality, celebrities often have requirements about the type and size of venue at which they'll appear. Don't limit your selection of potential celebrity speakers due to a lack of space, rehearsal time, stage setups and other such considerations. "Experienced planners consult with us prior to contracting the venue so that entertainment and production options can be addressed simultaneously," explains Michael Taylor of Celebrity Direct, Inc., a talent booking agency based in Manhattan.

Set Mutual Expectations

For both meeting organizers and performers, it is essential to specify contractual obligations and expectations in advance of the event. "Please don’t demand the day of show that Sheryl Crow agree to be filmed during her performance holding your product and to say a 'few nice words'," says Taylor.

Planners and agents should work out all such details upfront. "When you approach a potential speaker, clearly identify what you expect of them," says Kelley Whetsell, owner of Meeting Demands, a meeting and event management company. "Are they just presenting? What is the format for the presentation? Do they need to do a meet and greet with your audience? Are they expected to do press interviews?"

Including a famous guest in your event requires research, legwork and thoughtful consideration, but, when executed properly, all of these efforts can yield big benefits.

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. VP Marketing, Doodle owner and cocreator of my daughter.